“Okay, everybody, we’re happy to be here tonight, hope you’re feeling great. We’re going to get right to the Great Job, Internet in a moment, but first, can I get a suggestion of the most annoying part of an improv show? (From the audience: “Sex!”) Anyone? Come on, someone must have one. The most awkward, irritating part? (“Sex with your mom!”) Did I hear ‘Asking for a suggestion?’ I’m almost certain that I heard ‘Asking for a suggestion.’ I’m gonna go with ‘Asking for a suggestion.’”
Thanks to creators Gil Browdy and Vinny Francois of Montreal Improv, there’s now a way to avoid the preceding embarrassment. Their new site, Can I Get A…, allows improvisers to bring up a new suggestion with a simple push of a button, saving the hundreds of potential steps it would take to get to Wikipedia and hit the random entry button. With a simple click, the site can give the user a scene-inspiring word, location, or relationship. (“Prince and stable tender,” for example, or “future self and you.”) Francois notes that the relationship button is also a good way to generate occupations, a sobering reminder that for so many of us in this modern hell of a world, our jobs are our relationships.
While the creators intend the site primarily for improv rehearsals and practices, where multiple suggestions are often required of a relatively small group, there’s no reason it can’t be used to free performers completely from the chains of supplicating themselves before the audience in search of a simple word. No longer will desperate improv hosts have to mug for a crowd of dead-eyed audience members, frantically imploring one of them, any of them, to say anything louder than a dismissive mumble, until finally accepting “Michael Jackson dildo butt” with a feeling of bitter resignation in their heart. Now, they can just look down at their phone and push a button, finally, blessedly, taking the hateful specter of human interaction away from one of the last artforms still haunted by its malingering touch.