Interview with Jason Kwan '20
JustArts: Tell me a little bit about your experience with improv performance or performance in general.
Jason Kwan: I joined Bad Grammer during my sophomore year at Brandeis. I was nervous to audition at first, but I was persuaded by some of my upperclassmen friends who already were in improv groups. It’s been an absolute joy ever since; it’s such an honor to perform with such caring, funny, and supportive people.
JA: What do consider the most important quality for an improv performer?
JK: I think a good improviser should be open-minded and willing to be goofy on stage. No right-minded college student who does comedy in their spare time should think too highly of themselves. If you trust the people who you perform with and have fun doing so, then you can easily become comfortable performing on stage.
JA: Unlike many other forms of performances, improv is very much unscripted. How do you prepare for a show?
JK: I prepare for shows by getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, and eating my fruits and vegetables. In the minutes before shows begin, every member of Bad Grammer goes over their goals for the evening and what they hope to accomplish. Then everyone gets a hug because improv is all about support.
JA: It takes more than one person to put on a great show. How do improv performers help each other during a performance when nothing is planned out?
JK: Improvisers always have each other’s backs, and that means we don’t let ourselves get too caught up in trying to tell a joke. We can count on each other to continue the scene with whatever comes to mind. Trying to force a joke is counterintuitive to the improv process. It’s all about making a scene with the partners you have on stage.
JA: Many people are hesitant to try improv because of the fear of drawing a blank in front of a crowd of strangers. Do you have any suggestions for them?
JK: Everyone is funny. Yes, you too. The great thing about improv is that even if you blank on stage, you have another improviser right next to you to continue the scene until you can get back on your feet. Even better, your partner can help you bring out your inherent comedic talent even if you do not initially plan on the scene. Make each other laugh!
JA: What’s the best reaction you expect from the audience?
JK: The best reactions from the audience is when everyone is having a good time. You don’t need to make everyone in the audience double over in a belly laugh. If they smile, engage with the improvisers, give suggestions, and laugh when a good zinger is told, then that’s all I can ask for.
JA: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
JK: Bad Grammer are the spiciest bois on campus.