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About GregoryDodds

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  1. GregoryDodds

    Episode 11 — The Battle Continues

    "Going Farmers' Market on them" Thank you, Nerd Poker.
  2. GregoryDodds

    Episode 88 — American History Pt. II

    When does Dave's girlfriend get to be a guest?
  3. GregoryDodds

    Episode 9 — Going In Recons Blazing

    This is for a million years later, but could we have a listener character? I'd love to use the forum to decide what they would do next. Like kill Blackee.
  4. GregoryDodds

    Episode 51 — Too Soon

    Now THAT'S funny. I part my hair on the side, though.
  5. GregoryDodds

    Episode 51 — Too Soon

    I'll ignore the personal stuff, because that's just silly, but I will try to present what I see as a difference between stand up and improv. Improvisation is political. And by that, I mean the audience's approval is secondary, unlike stand-up, which exists solely to please an audience. Stand-up, like other forms of theatre, are meant to be recreated over and over again, and thereby turned into a commodity to be consumed by an audience. When a stand-up is purposefully racist, sexist or generally offensive, it's almost hard to blame him. He's the producer of a service, the joke is that service, and the audience is the demand. The audience affects demand. If the audience wants dick jokes, dick jokes it gets. Improv is political also as there's no text at the beginning and no product at the end, which means there's no pantheon of elite improv performers or albums or YouTube clips to watch again and again. Watching improv on TV sucks. The only way to do it is in the enormously hackneyed "Whose Line" format - three minutes scenes filled with dick jokes, impressions and hoop games. So when the point is raised that there are hack improvisers, I wouldn't disagree. They just do this kind of work. There are plenty of successful comedian who have turned dick jokes into a career. Conversely, the number of improvisers who have made a living out of their work is practically ZERO. There is absolutely no reason to be intentionally offensive. There is no reason to tell jokes, only to recreate human relationships. Every improv teacher I had, both at Second City and iO, has insisted "don't go for the joke." The primary concern is the connection between yourself and your partner. And because improv has this political nature, a nature that looks to equalize performers, to knowingly use a word which pokes fun at a weaker group can be far more devastating. I can certainly understand how someone could think that when I say "let the stand-up comics make dick jokes", it's dismissive of stand-up as a form. It's just different. I'm long-winded, sorry.
  6. GregoryDodds

    Episode 64 — Tig's Cancer Diagnosis/Autism

    I've been listening to these podcasts in reverse order. Congrats, Tig!
  7. GregoryDodds

    Episode 51 — Too Soon

    This has been a completely civilized convo. Big ups for that. As for improvisors playing minorities, I've seen Susan Messing play a developmentally disabled girl in a scene at the Annoyance this summer, and her affectations were those typical to someone with Down's Syndrome, and they were hilarious, but she also took pains to imbue the character with a humanity. Messing wasn't satisfied with the caricature. If I implied that improvisers should never play minorities, mea culpa. But using the word "retard" as an insult is across the board offensive, and I flatly refuse to accept the idea that not using the word is somehow stifling the ability of an improviser to employ his full creative power. It implies we have no agency as improvisers; we are mere conduits for the subconscious. These are subjects near and dear to my heart. I am in a PhD program studying the therapeutic and political roots of improvisation from its inception with Spolin and Neva Boyd at Hull House in Chicago. (My wife is also in a PhD program studying early childhood Special Education.) Improv was born from Spolin and Boyd's work with the poor children of immigrants, some of whom spoke no English or had been completely isolated from their peers. Playground games, Boyd noted, proved enormously effective methods of re-socializing young children into a society which had rejected them because of race, language or class. These games were a method of bringing children from "self-gratification to self-determination". As Spolin helped conduct these scenes, she realized the minute difference between ourselves as people and ourselves as improvisers. All of my strengths and weaknesses as a person are the exact same ones I bear as an improviser - a fact that gives us a responsibility beyond that of artists and actors and writers and musicians who can filter out the rough edges of their personality through paint, written words, fictional characters and musical notes. Not recognizing the power we bear in this most naked of all media makes it that much easier for the world to consider improvisation as the less profitable cousin of stand-up comedy. Let the hack stand-up comics use the word "retard" for laughs. Let them tell dick jokes, mock minorities, complain about their nagging wives, and shitty airplanes food. We can do better than that. Our best improvised work never goes there, and it didn't start there.
  8. GregoryDodds

    Episode 51 — Too Soon

    Hey Guys... This is the first one of your podcasts I've heard, and I really enjoyed it, but you hit a nerve in the first five minutes.... I actually talked about this subject with Rachael Mason this summer (one of my favorite improvisers) and she wanted no piece of this, which I understand, but since the subject is broached, here we go. For some reason, improvisers in NY, LA and Chicago frequently use the words RETARD and RETARDED, or play developmentally disabled characters - almost always for laughs. When I bring it up as something that might be offensive, improvisers like to invoke the "everything's on the table" clause. Which is crap, of course. Nobody says N*GGER or F*GGOT. Somehow, the improvisers know these words are off the table. Feel free to tell another improviser onstage that they're "acting like a n*gger, and let me how it goes. There's a line between the personal taste of an audience member who may get offended at edgy material, and targeting a disenfranchised minority group and doing it because you know there will be no repercussions, and it'll get a laugh. And if anyone questions your choices, you can use the buzz words like slippery slope, and politically correct, and bemoan how difficult it is to try to entertain people and not insult entire portions of the population. Rush Limbaugh uses that tortured reasoning. We don't say those words anymore because we're artists, and we know those words are hurtful. We're being intolerant only of intolerance. We keep using the word RETARD because the developmentally disabled have no political power, and it's a shortcut to appear edgy. It's easier to say an edgy word than have an edgy idea. The power of these words, like Holocaust or 9-11 jokes, steal their potency from the event. Thank you for talking about it, and letting me talk about it. G.