Semi-obligatory blog update

Hello again! Yes, I’m going to type something I do at the start of every blog this summer – “it’s been a while”.

Two reasons for that – a lot of what would be short-form blogging goes on my Facebook page in real time instead, and I’ve been busy enough that I haven’t stopped to actually open up Windows Live Writer and type.

I do have a window of time today, so here I am.

Let’s update the last couple of blogs first:

  • I am back, officially, as one of the Voices at CSzRVA. I’ve done two shows in my second-chance run – a last-minute fill-in for the Major League show last weekend, and a scheduled appearance for the Middle School League show yesterday.How am I doing? Well, as with anything subjective, it depends on who you ask. I’ll tell you that my first performance was terrible and the second was mediocre… but everyone who played in or watched the shows says they were both really good. I guess that means I’m being too hard on myself. And that the CSzRVA family are awesome (and awesomely supportive).
  • I’ve been watching Whose Line? since it came back – the shows are good, if a bit rushed due to the heavy commercial and promo load on the CW, and Aisha Tyler’s been solid as the host. The CW has announced a renewal, but I don’t think they’ve said when… my hope is that they just do an 8-to-10-week summer series each year. I think that would keep the show fresher and allow a longer run. But it is the CW, so… yeah, anything might still happen.
  • And The Chase is doing rather well in its USA incarnation – with one of GSN’s highest-ever prizes ($180,000) going out in the second show. The show was renewed for a longer second series (24 episodes, as opposed to the 6-episode current season) which has already finished taping in LA. Expect that series to arrive this fall.

On to other stuff…

This past week marked one year at McGuireWoods. One year isn’t a milestone anniversary at MW – the fifth year is the first one. Assuming I get to that anniversary, it’ll be in a new building which is currently a parking lot with a lot of construction equipment on it. Preparations are underway to start building Gateway Plaza soon on the lot between 8th, 9th, Cary, and Canal; with MW expecting to move across the street in early 2015.

Then, there was last night.

Oh, my, was there last night.

The original plan, I’m told, was for CSzRVA to renew our friendly I-95 war with CSzDC. Well, one thing led to another, and another, and all of a sudden, it was a 5-city improv shootout. Since all four visiting cities are north of us (while only three are north of the Mason-Dixon Line, as we were reminded at one point), it became The Tournament of Northern Aggression.

Teams from not only DC, but Philadelphia, Buffalo, and NYC came down to play on the CSz Improv Theater stage. And it… was… freakin’… AWESOME. Two sold-out shows featuring more than 20 improvisers. And everyone was on their A-game. I could drone on about highlights… but I won’t, because you really had to be there for any of the context to make sense in less than a couple dozen paragraphs.

I’ve never been to a CSz World Championship Tournament – but after last night, I really want to go. Because if one night of tournament-style ComedySportz improv was awesome – three nights… geez… improv overload, maybe? In a good way?

Not only that, but two of my favorite people (both in the Non-Richmond and Overall categories) came down – Lee and Jeremy were two of the regular traveling party when we were going to ECW (wrestling) shows in Philly, MEWF and MCW shows in Maryland, and who-remembers-what shows in North Carolina during ECW’s glory days. I’d go up to NoVA to meet up with them, we’d then make a stop or two in Maryland (if it was a Philly show) to pick up more passengers, then head up to the “legendary ECW Arena” (a crappy former warehouse, really, but still…). Anyway, wrestling isn’t what it was, so those opportunities really don’t exist.

Jeremy discovered improv a few years ago, and recently started classes at the Comedy Spot in Arlington (home venue for CSzDC). It wasn’t a surprise that he turned up last night. However, Lee showing up was a very pleasant surprise on top of what was a great evening – she’s not nearly as much into improv, so for her to make the trip down was special.

I guess this will sum up the day it was for me – I got to the theatre at the 3pm call time for the 4pm Middle School show. Other than a quick trip to Arby’s for dinner, I didn’t leave until close to 2am. And I wasn’t even all that tired when I got home. I was more tired from hauling in the CSz Improv Theater sign from the driveway at the edge of the parking lot at around 1:30am than anything else… [cue any number of people saying “Rob did manual labor???” It was that kind of night.]

So why was I there until 1:30am? Because any good improv tournament has an equally-good after-party, you know…

The next Big Event (OK, the next one I’ve heard about) at the theater is going to be the second annual Improv Festivus in December, and I’ll be really surprised if I don’t see most (or all) of the participants in last night’s event making the return trip.

In the end, the last couple of weeks have done a lot to confirm my decision to put away the past and go back to CSz. It’s just nice to be part of something again. For me, once I get back to a level of performance that I find acceptable, it’ll also be the creative outlet I haven’t had since I left the air at WBBT in 2010. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll even turn up on a stage. Well, technically, that did happen last night, but I was carrying a ladder as part of the banner-hanging team…

Once I’m back to doing CSz Major League shows (probably a few weeks away yet), I’ll post the show dates on my Facebook page.

Hmm… closing in on 1100 words. That’s usually my cue to exit so… thanks for reading, I guess, and if you got this far, you’re a wonderful human being and should remind me of that fact at some point.

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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