Lisa Rimmert may not realize it, but she’s one popular girl. Not like a bitchy, Mean Girls popular girl, but everyone knows her, loves her, and wants to be loved by her. I am in the latter-most category.
When I think people are cool or popular, I (stupidly) wait for them to approach me rather than the other way around, and since Lisa never approached me, I assumed she didn’t like me. I think Lisa also felt the same way about me, slyly confessing on her blog that she thought I was a cocky douchenozzle.
But seeing as I ripped Lisa off big-time in creating my blog, I wanted to ask for her advice when starting mine. Through the process, I think we’ve both come to realize that neither of us are as cocky as we seemed, and she has been incredibly helpful and supportive throughout!
Lisa is a skilled improviser, one who I haven’t had the chance to see enough since her move to Denver. She’s an energetic performer. She’s passionate, outspoken, and unafraid to take risks – both on stage and with her activism activities.
And while I wish I had had more time to get to know her in person, we can all take advantage of the Internet to get to know her a little better here.
Meet Lisa Rimmert:
Why did you get into improv? How long have you been doing it?
I got into improv because it looked fun. That’s really all it takes for me to want to do something.
I used to watch “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” when I was little, but I never really considered that the activities they did might be open to regular, not-on-tv people. One day in 2010, I decided to do some Googling to find out if St. Louis had any improv shows or classes, and, lo and behold, it did.
I found The Improv Trick that way, and I started taking classes. I remember thinking in my very first class, “Where has this been?” I felt like I was home. I took classes there for about a year or so, and then I graduated from short-form (yeah, I said it) to long-form at The Improv Shop. That’s when I truly fell in love – in that deep, I-just-want-to-stay-in-Lauren-and-Marshall-and-Dan-Peterson’s-arms-forever kinda’ way.
How would you describe your style of play? In other words, what sort of scenes/shows do you have the most fun doing?
My style, whether I’ve chosen it or not, is mostly true-to-life and close to who I am. I’m not usually a “wacky character” kind of improviser. However, my absolute most favorite improv moments are when there is great trust between scene partners that allows for quick talking without thinking. When your mouth opens and sound starts coming out, and your brain is like, “Uh oh, what’s about to happen?”
Also, I’ve been known to enjoy bringing social justice issues onto the stage. Dan and I did that quite a bit in Separate Checks shows. Sigh.
Can you regale us with a tale about the best or worst scene/show you have ever done?
There are so many!
Here’s a weird one. I was on Galaxander, and our coach Katie Nunn was brilliantly teaching us some kung-fu concepts that she had applied to improv. Concurrently, I was about to take on the Cage Match with the independent team Cyber Tooth Tigers, of which my Galaxander teammate Marshall Cox was the coach. During a CTT practice, I was doing a scene with David Mar, and I really wanted to be “snakey” (one of the Katie Nunn’s kung-fu-turned-improv-style concepts). In the scene, David was my son, whom I (his father) wanted to be more tough-guy-esque. He was eating a banana, and I told him to put it down. He did so and then grabbed what he thought was a gun, and I said something like, “Oh, very funny. A bigger banana.”
I was stupidly proud of that, because I totally snaked him. Whatever. Marshall gets it.
What do you do to find inspiration for improv? In other words, do you have a life? If so, how do you spend it (besides pretending you are someone else on stage in front of large groups of people)?
I work in marketing for a museum in Denver with some of the world’s most supportive people (for non-improvisers). I share a home with two amazing beasts (not even counting Brad). I make funnies in writing at www.whyarentyouvegan.com and sometimes in real life behind microphones.
Oh, and I really like eating. I mean exercising. Just kidding.
In terms of inspiration, I find it easily and often from the people around me – including so many St. Louis improvisers and others.
Can you share some words of wisdom with those just starting out?
Forget everything you’re learning. It will stick with you, on its own, without you having to try too hard. When you’re starting out, focus your thoughts on having fun, the joy of saying literally whatever you want and just jumping into projects and scenes and shows that you feel you have no business being a part of.
What is the best improv advice or note you have ever received?
Oh jeez. This is so hard because everything I have learned has come from someone else’s brain! The first thing that came to mind is Pat Niday, who coached Separate Checks. He told and showed us that our mistakes are what make game scenes come alive. So, if (er, when) someone makes a mistake or does something out of the ordinary, that’s the game. And it’s all you need.
Discovery makes improv, while invention kills it. The magic is all already there; you just have to see it.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned from improv that translates to your real life?
I may just be copying Melanie Penn’s answer to this question, but here goes. I’ll try to make it sound different to avoid plagiarism charges.
The number one rule of improv – saying yes – is such an amazing thing to apply to your life. I don’t necessarily mean like Jim Carrey in “Yes Man.” What I mean is don’t hold yourself back.
All of us have insecurities – even your friends who you think have it all together and have zero problems. We all get invited to parties and think, “Are they just inviting me because they feel like they should?” We all get asked to be on teams or in shows and think, “I’m not good enough to play there or with them.” ALL OF US.
So, improv has forced me, and those around me, to open up, and it has encouraged me to recognize my insecurities – and then ignore them. I still think stupid things like, “Did they ask me to do this stand-up show because they just needed a female?” but after that thought, I try to think, “Who cares.”
And then I do the thing. I do the damn thang.
Do you have anything going on that you’d like to plug?
I do dumb interviews on my website called “Weird! Why Aren’t You Vegan?” I ask people – mostly comedians and improvisers – about what made them choose to be non-vegan, where they get their protein, and more. I also provide snarky tips on how to be vegan, for those of you who aren’t vegan yet (weirdos).
Also, I’m on a fun improv team in Denver called Free Gluten! with some talented, good-hearted and gluten-loving dudes. If you live in St. Louis, please know that Denver is just a straight shot down 70W, and I have a couch and two air mattresses. Also, tons of animal hair. If you’re into that.
What St. Louis improviser(s) would you like to see answer these questions?
(Optional…well, more optional than the others). Is there a video, podcast episode, blog post etc about improv that you find particularly inspirational or inspiring?
I find every little thing inspiring. Of those, I choose this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7N_L_pu74k