One day after improv class one of my students told me that what we learned in the class was more valuable than all of the professional development combined that she had done as a teacher. It taught her how to be present in the moment, support her students as though they were partners in shared success, and accept little failures as opportunities for humility, growth, and laughter.
Student after student would stay after class to tell me this, except they were from all fields of practice and walks of life: computer scientists, chemists, receptionists, entrepreneurs. Their quality of life had improved since they implemented the methods of improv comedy and these improvements translated to their work life because our work life is our day to day life. In short they stopped taking everything so seriously, so everything got easier.
Anything that is worth doing is ultimately in the service of other people. What I love about improv is that it shows us the underlying rules of societal interaction and that sometimes if we examine these rules (or break them) the results are often funny because it reveals our shared reality. We can engage with this play — and divergence from the serious rule-based norms — only once we agree that we are equals with others and try to support and serve them.
My mission is to use the tools of improv and my research in conversation analysis to help others live more fruitful, creative, and compassionate lives. My approach is social-constructivist, interdisciplinary, and community-centric. The applications for my approach are present wherever people engage in group collaboration, clear communication, or have to think outside the box to get results
I have been organizing comedy since 2015 when I co-founded an underground, backyard comedy show. That show was called Krakin Jokes and was the inspiration for and one of the subjects of the documentary Athens Rising: the Sicyon Project, celebrating the creative class of Athens, GA.
My personal standup comedy career started in that backyard comedy show as a comic. Since then I have featured in countless standup shows and opened for the likes of Joe Zimmerman. While standup was my introduction to comedy, I had always been fascinated by the alchemy of improv comedy, and in 2019 I wrote my masters thesis on the linguistics (conversation analysis) of improv comedy.
After writing my thesis and driving to Atlanta every week to take an intro to improv class, I began teaching my friends improv so I had someone to play with. This group eventually grew into Gorgeous George's Improv League, a weekly improv troupe of ~20 performers that performs 100+ shows a year featuring both longform and shortform improv. Now I teach four levels of improv classes through Flying Squid Comedy (the spiritual successor of Krakin Jokes), for which I act as creative director.
Before my comedy teaching career I had been teaching in some capacity for about 10 years, as a tutor, writing coach, substitute kindergarten teacher, and college composition instructor. My creative outlets have included 6+ podcast series (of which Coffee for Communists is probably my favorite), independent filmmaking, and founding a poetry journal. I have also worked for a bar, a brewery, a bottle shop, and for two different video production companies as editor, producer, and creative director.
I live in Athens, GA, with my lovely partner, a whiny dog, and a cat (who is of course also whiny) where I actively teach and perform comedy.