Outreach Spotlight: 321 Improv by Brian Narciza
I have a secret that I seldom tell people. My wife is aware of it and she loves me anyways but for the purposes of this post I have to come clean to the world.
I…love improv comedy, there I said it. Something about unscripted jokes brings a smile to my face that other forms of humor can’t emulate. It’s interactive so you become a part of the show, it’s silly, carefree, and always a unique experience. However, as a Christian there is another side to improv that makes me nervous about going to every single show near me.
The humor can become awkward real fast. I understand we live in a world where cursing and sexual innuendo have become a normal part of most comedy groups. They like to test the waters, push against the boundaries of what is acceptable and for many they enjoy that. But for me and my family, who is trying to live in the will of God, it limits us on where we can go. Don’t misunderstand, that isn’t every comedy group so I don’t want you to think all shows are like that but it occurs more often than not in my experience.
So when my wife called me at work telling me about an improv group that would be performing at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Placid I got excited. We bought our tickets immediately and made the half hour drive to see them on August 19, 2017. FPCLP were wonderful hosts and after getting some coffee and a treat from their concession stand we went to our seats.
Carl Crispin , Mike Domeny, and Jeremy Schofield (Featured Image: Center, Right, and Left respectfully) came up on stage and started their show. If you have never been to an improv show I will tell you (in my experience) what normally happens. They often start with a premise (One such being asking “Mr. Know it all” a question) and they ask the audience to participate in creating the story. I raised my hand and they called on me asking my name and where I was from.
I was excited, I said my name was Brian and to my surprise they replied with “Ryan?” So I shouted back “Brian, with a B!” To which they replied “Ryan with a B where are you from?” I was about to say Lake Placid but that wasn’t WHERE I was from but where I WAS. I froze, and they quickly caught me saying “Ryan doesn’t know where he is from!” the crowd laughed and they had me laughing at my own forgetfulness. My wife saved me by shouting our home city and I became a part of the jokes the entire show.
At that moment the fear I get with most comedy shows completely faded. Their humor was quick and sharp but clean and family friendly all in one. I hate that I even have to say that, that family friendly is an exception and not the norm. They managed to make an environment where we could feel safe but also be ourselves. Even teasing me I felt comfortable, like I was joking with close friends of mine. My wife and I couldn’t stop laughing and the crowd reflected our enjoyment. Then they did something that was more inspiring than the friendly atmosphere they created.
They stopped to do an invitational with the audience. They talked about how happiness is fleeting but true joy only comes from being His. They offered to talk with us after the show if we had any questions. They found a way to use humor to create an outreach for something I didn’t realize we needed. They can reach people in ways that many other events can’t. Their humor wouldn’t push away someone who wasn’t a Christian and their kindness invites everyone to come and enjoy the show.
Humor is something that often times isn’t considered as a need for society. The world is full of sin and so stressful that we need outlets for that stress. We need places where we can go and feel safe. 321 Improv fills that need perfectly and have managed to turn comedy into ministry.
They travel around the US spreading God’s joy with the world, if they have a show near you buy a ticket. You won’t regret it I promise or my name isn’t
Find out more about them below.