Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guest Blogger Jill Bernard: Being a Woman in Comedy

Jill Bernard is a world-renowned improvisor and teacher based in Minneapolis. She is the coach of my Six Ring Circus improv team, Tightrope, and my friend.
More info on her can be found at

I've been asked to write on Being A Woman in Comedy.

Unfortunately I cannot. Here's the thing. One thing a lot of people don't know about
me is I'm actually just a jar of olives. I'm a 5.75 oz jar of Manzanilla olives stuffed with pimentos. I try to keep this information on the D.L. because I'm not sure students would feel confident taking classes from someone who is a large percentage brine and glass.

The most challenging part of it, I guess, is I don't have any arms or hands, so when I'm trying to make really impressive gestures to my students they just don't understand. Also another hard thing is I'm really scared I'll break. Sometimes I coach from a tabletop or a chair and I feel a little close to the edge. I worry if I get too worked up giving notes on a scene I will fall to my death! It's

There's a little bit of loneliness too. I don't go out to the bar after rehearsals and stuff because of the martinis. I don't need to see that.

I feel pride in what I've been able to accomplish despite being a jar of olives. I'm the first from my shelf to get a college degree. I've also been super-lucky to work with a lot of really amazing people. A shout out to Comedy Sportz and the Brave New Institute - a lot of theater schools would not have the courage to hire a jar of olives, but they had the courage to look at my abilities and not my ingredients list.

I don't know what the future holds. My 'best if used by' date seems far away now but I know I won't last forever. I try to live for the moment, and stuff each day with joy, friendship, love, and laughter.

1 comment:

  1. I should say this also. As for the performance side, it's not really a big deal. I mean, if the audience can believe when an industrial air filter saleswoman or an Apple Store Genius is pretending to be a robot cowboy, surely believing a jar of olives is a robot cowboy is not so far away.