When Little Miss No Filter Brings You Out of the Closet
Improv Chicks: A Cautionary Tale
I’d only been in LA a few months in the late ’90s when I encountered my first improv chick in her natural habitat. I learned to fear and loathe the species. Those of you living normal lives may be scratching your head and saying, um, what’s an improv chick?
Think of that table in the school cafeteria where the odd theater kids lurked. Those loud, seemingly-full-of-confidence kids who are actually a dumpster fire of insecurity, talking endlessly about show tunes, rehearsal, rehearsal, the show! So improv chicks make those theater kids look like shy, non-verbal wallflowers full of Ritalin. They’re legitimately funny, they’re loud, they have a quick wit for put-downs and belly laughs, but most importantly, they overcompensate the moment someone else tries to steal the spotlight.
Back to my improv chick.
I’d made the trek out to Santa Monica to support my friend Annie (an improv woman, an important distinction) in her latest show at Improv Underground, a basement stage where she honed her craft before later clawing to the top of the ranks at The Groundlings, LA’s famed training ground for SNL and sitcom stars. But on this night in 1999, she was still a lowly, hard-working, unknown performer in LA. I admired Annie. I did not, however, admire or appreciate the Improv Chick Par Excellence that she introduced me to that night — Ms. Kiki. A short, caffeine-fueled blonde spitfire, Kiki was what you get if the young versions of Amy Sedaris, Amy Poehler, and Molly Shannon spliced their genes together — you know, just for fun.
“Nice to meet you,” she said, shaking my hand, followed by a multi-decibel shout of, “Whoa, that is the softest and girliest hand I’ve ever touched!!! Are you sure you’re a guy?!? Look at those cute little hands!!”
Ahh, Ms. No Filter.
While Annie prepped for the show, I suggested an ATM visit to get cash. The usual getting-to-know-you banter ensued.
“How long you been in LA?”
“About four months,” I answered. “My girlfriend is going to UC Irvine, so we moved out here” –