I've met someone. Her name is Patty and tonight when I received a message from her on Facebook saying she wanted to be my best friend, I actually found myself getting giggly and nervous. Some back story might help here. I first met Patty when she was my teacher for a Level 1 improv class I was taking in Boston. She was everything. I had been doing stand-up comedy for a while and had met a few girls I liked and sought advice from, but I had yet to deeply admire someone in this world in such a way. She was natural and outgoing, obviously funny but also just comfortable in her own skin. Each week I was excited to see what adorable dress and shoe combo she would have on and more importantly I wanted to hear everything she had to teach about improv comedy. One day in class she was giving out suggestions for a scene and each word was a Harry Potter reference. After a few, she admitted to the class that she had been doodling broomsticks and thick rim glasses in her notes and that she was deeply involved with the books at the time. I couldn't believe it, she loved one of the nerdy things I love. Admittedly there are millions of people who love those books, but something about how she spoke told me that we had more in common than just Wizard Literature.
After eight weeks, the class was coming to an end and I already knew I wanted to continue on with more levels. This was not because I felt particularly good or natural at improvising, but rather because it was the first time comedy had felt challenging to me. I also saw things in Patty that I wanted to emulate. Her ability to think on her toes, her ease in collaborating and her positivity while showing others.
The world of stand-up comedy is singular, jealous and competitive; improv comedy is a group who encourages, contributes and celebrates the successes of others.
In that final week of level 1 I felt frantic to be noticed or impress her, not because I wanted any furthering in the training program, but rather for myself, I wanted to make her laugh. When class ended I slowly put on my coat and searched my brain for any reason to approach her. She was still a character in my mind, someone who had become a celebrity and an icon of funny women for me. I wanted to thank her for the great class and finally worked up the guts to say something but when I got to her something amazing happened. She spoke first and quietly said, "Are you moving on to level 2? I really think you should."
She thought I was funny…
I know self deprecation isn't cute and I've said before that I am probably funnier than I give myself credit for but this was a moment for me. For her to say that I should continue on, when I knew it wasn't just words she was tossing around, meant that she had seen me. I think my problem is not that I doubt my ability to be funny, rather I doubt that I know the right way to get it out so people see and pay attention. When I see someone like Patty performing, I like her the instant she steps on stage and trust that any scene she is in will be hilarious.
It is now a year and a half later and I'm finishing up the final level of the improv training program. Spending time with people in my class who work alongside Patty I have often made jokes about how we are best friends and she just doesn't know it yet. I had her as a teacher in a second level along the way and although each of my teachers has given me different skills to take away, she was my favorite.
Word got back to her that I had said something about being friends outside of class and as it turns out, she noticed me in level 1 and thought something of it. We had a back and forth on Facebook chat where we joked about loving each other and admitted we both wanted to hang out (we even made a tentative plan to watch a Muppet Movie marathon together). Maybe it's not so outrageous to think that two girls of similar age, job and interests would be friends but I am admitting that for me I felt six years old again when I met my first friend, realized we were more than acquaintances and wanted to spend every moment playing "don't step on the lava" or "you're going to marry…".
I love when the world brings people into your life who you can admire and connect with all at once; because idolizing her was fine, but feeling respected by her is amazing.