I’ve found a new addiction, Master Chef. There’s a blind chef, Christine, and I swear, I cry every time she presents her food. It’s amazing and inspiring that she continually cranks out beautiful and delicious dishes.
When I started improv at Theater Sports here in Denver, I played with a guy in a wheelchair, Christopher. He had limited upper body movement. He was an amazing improviser. I loved being in scenes with him. He was able to use the little amount of physicality he was able to do and make you believe he was any character he was playing. He always had positive energy, was at every show and always had words of encouragement for his team.
Christopher died a few years ago due to complications of his condition. I like to think that he had a full life, as he threw himself into something he loved, improv. Watching Christine in Master Chef makes me think about Christopher and the type of character it takes for someone to have a disability and not give up, but instead thrive at what they want to do. Listening to the chefs on the show give excuses for why something they did didn’t work out, and then seeing Christine just plugging away and coming up with perfection each time, and thinking about Christopher wheeling around on the stage, continually bringing it, I have to take inventory of myself and reflect on the BS I bring to improv sometimes. I’m tired, I’m cranky, I have something stressful going on in my life, so and so was late, so and so didn’t support me on stage, so and so gave me a weird look, so and so blah blah blah. It’s crap.
I have to always remember the words of wisdom from my favorite improv mentor, Susan Messing, “If you’re not having fun, you’re the asshole.”