The Long Hot Scenic Way Round.


Wed/Thur. For the opening of tournament there's a big parade down the streets, where all the teams march to the venue. Manchester are the first team to play against L.A. and although we concede the win, is it's a great show with about 600 people in the enormous Atheneum Theatre.

Chicago put on parties every night and for the first night it's dancing and pizza. This being Chicago the pizzas are immense and I think it's the first time I've seen a real 'pizza pie' which is basically a giant wedge of cheese so big you can loose meatballs inside it. It's so tasty I can almost feel chest pains eating it, but it's so good I don't want to stop. We've also found 'Forever Yogurt', a serve yourself frozen yoghurt shop that does flavours like 'cake batter'.

The team are all here and the next few days are a flurry of shows and workshops. I take a Meisner workshop, which is quite hardcore and somthing I've done breifly before. It's all about learning how to understand and read the emotion within performance, and the theory goes pretty deep and you could spend years studying it here if you wanted to.

Chicago is recognised as the home of improvisation, and evidence of how improv is still in it's infancy in the UK is evident in the wealth of venues here, at least a handful large and small across the city. All dedicated improv theatre venues show 2 or 3 improv shows every night of the week. Some Longform, shortform, drama, comedy, musical and even shakespearean, all unique shows in their own right. Some are ok, some really show high end at it's best.

Saturday. As a group we all head into the city planning to meet up at the beach on Lake Michigan, but we don't find it. Instead we find Navy pier so sit down for a bit. Then we go for food at the Chicago Cheesecake factory and it takes us one hour and forty minutes to get a table, so I sit there for a bit. Once we get served I decide I don't want cheesecake after all.

The Tournament final is L.A versus Chicago and Chicago win. My money was on LA. At the final wrap party the bar, at my request, has ordered in some cider. There is cause for rejoicing.

Monday. The final day of our honeymoon, and I'm ready to go home. I feel like I've been ready to go home for the last week it's been so hot. We make good on our gift from Bron's mate Liz and have a grilled cheese sandwich at 'Cheesie's!' which is awesome and I promise it will be the last fattening thing I eat...apart from the frozen yogurt and the pulled chicken sandwich. Myself Bron and Lynn and see the Bean, a giant shiney metal baked bean shaped object in the middle of a park. Temperatures have soared again the walking close to it is like being in an oven.

For the last day we stay with Nate and Nick, two comedysportz guys from Chicago, Nate is big on borad games and has a really impressive collection, and Nick is gearing up for the Edinburgh festival with Baby Wants Candy, his musical improv group.

The rest is a blur of taxi's and aeroplanes and awkward goodbyes as I wave bye to Lynn as she disappears up an escalator only to see her minutes later. The British airways flight to London is probably the worst flight I've ever had with it's broken in-flight entertainment, seats designed for people with one leg and and stale buns. I am however quite excited about getting home. Bron's mum takes us from the airport and everything I've seen on the route home that I've seen a million times before has a weird 'otherness' to it because I've been away so long.

Open Door. Stroke Cat. Kiss Wife. Well done. It's over. Oh yeah, I can now say I've been around the world in 44 days.


John Cooper
Comedian & Improv coach
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