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After 365, it’s time for the next installment of Drew’s Best Of, this time for 2011. For past years, check out 20082009 and 2010. But let’s stop all this preamble and get on with it.

Best Achievement – Publish a Book

I think by now we all know that I give myself 10 goals every year. This year I had some great goals and accomplished many of them, but the biggest accomplishment was finally getting published. I now have a book written by me sitting on my bookshelf!  Hopefully it’s just the first of many books.

Personal Development – Quality Days

Part-way through 2010, I created something called the Daily 3 Challenge. In 2011, I formalized this into the concept of Quality and Perfect Days and it’s done a wonder to my daily productivity and long-term goals. By converting my long-term goals into daily ones, I was better able to track them and make adjustments as needed.

Best Business Decision – Mention My Passion of HTW

I’m not that forthcomingly vocal about my work with Humor That Works. It’s not that I’m not proud of it (I definitely am), I just don’t like to force it onto other people. But, in 2011 I’ve talked about my passion with a few different people and it’s lead to some opportunities for training and discussion.

One great example of that technically happened in late 2010 but had a huge impact on HTW: talking with the former adviser of The 8th Floor about what I was doing. As a result, she helped me secure a spot to train incoming RAs at Ohio State, a training that went incredibly well and has helped spur a number of other potential opportunities.

Best Personal Decision – Get on OK Cupid

In recent years, I haven’t spent a lot of time dating, mostly do to other priorities. In 2011 I decided I wanted to get back out there more seriously. I didn’t want to date anyone I knew from either career (work or improv) so I decided to go online. At first I was on PlentyOfFish, but moved over to OK Cupid due to it’s better interface.

I had a few bad dates at first, but then met someone I liked a lot and have been with for 6 months now. It was a great decision to join the site and it’s been a fun ride with the GF since July.

Best Travel – Cincinnati / Baton Rouge

I didn’t travel anywhere brand new in 2011, but I still got around to some old great places. I went to Connecticut to visit Glenn’s cabin, DC for a CBD Sales Meeting, LA for CSz Manager’s Meeting, Las Vegas for Prestige Sales Meeting, the Caribbean for a cruise with some friends, Baton Rouge / Gulf Shores for a family vacation, Columbus for 8th Floor Prom, Philadelphia for a CSz exchange show, Cincinnati for Mom’s birthday, Indianapolis for CSz Tournament, Columbus for Moran’s Wedding, Columbus for Ohio State Training, Cincinnati for HTW Training, Baton Rouge for training at LSU, Boston for the NA BI Summit, Chicago for Nate’s show, Cincinnati for P&G training, and Cincinnati for Christmas.

While all of the travel has been enjoyable, the best of it was going to Cincinnati and Baton Rouge in one trip. Over the course of 5 days, I was in 3 different states doing 3 different HTW trainings. I enjoyed the process and gives me reason to believe that I would enjoy doing that more often throughout the year.

Best NYC Visit – Keenan & Rob

I didn’t have as many visitors this year in NYC, but I still had some great times. My favorite was when Keenan and Rob visited as it was great to catch up with them and also see TV on the Radio in Williamsburg Park.

Best New Restaurant – Pio Pio

I ate at a lot of new restaurants this year as part of my challenge to experience new places in NYC. My favorite of the year would have to be Pio Pio. The chicken is incredibly delicious and, for the amount of food you get, is at a good price.

Best Improv Show – 2-Person Show

I actually think I saw a decrease in the number of shows I saw this year (mostly due to the increase in the number of shows I performed in). I saw the standard greats like TJ & Dave, some of the weekend teams at OSU and some heavy hitters at DCM. I also really enjoyed the secret gay show at CSz Tournament.

But my favorite of the year would have to be the two-person show Nate was in in Chicago. It was slow paced, very patient and not much happened… and yet it was engaging the whole way through and hilarious.

Best Improv Performance – 2-Person Show

With 100+ performances in 2011, it’s hard to pick just one that I enjoyed. I’ve had some phenomenal shows with Mint Condition and Grappler, as well as some of my class teams. CSz has also had some great shows, including some at home, on the road and at tournament.

My favorite show of the year though would have to go to the 2-person show I did at P&G. Not only was it more challenging because there were only 2 of us, but it was also in front of people I work with, so the stakes were high. We had a great show and I impressed a lot of people.

Best Movie I Saw – Scott Pilgrim vs the World

I’m still not a big movie goer, but I did see all of the 2010 Best Picture Nominees (Toy Story 3, True Grit, The Fighter, The 127 Hours, Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone, Black Swan, Inception, The Social Network, King’s Speech) as part of a 24-hour marathon earlier in the year, as well as a few other movies (Mission Impossible 3, Hugo, Apocalypse Now, Scott Pilgrim vs the World).

My favorite new movie from the year was Scott Pilgrim vs the World. It wasn’t incredible, but it was a lot of fun and very entertaining.

Best Book I Read – Last Words

I read a few good books this year (4-Hour Body, Laffirmations, Habibi) but my favorite of the year was Last Words by George Carlin. It was a great look back at his life and how he came to be famous as a stand-up comedian.

Best Tweet – Mirror Mirror

My favorite tweet of the year is a bit silly, but I like it. Here are the other picks:

Mirror mirror, on the wall. Dresser dresser, on the floor. Light light, on the ceiling. Room room, checklist complete.

One of my goals for 2011 was to perform at least 100 times. I was able to meet and surpass that goal, finishing with 119 total performances.

Here are some stats regarding the performances:

  • 57% of shows were long-form improv, 42% were short-form improv and 1% were stand-up.
  • 39% of the total shows were at the Magnet, representing 75% of my long-form shows.
  • May was my least productive month (5 shows); June and August were tied for the most (14 shows each). The average was 9.9 per month and 2.2 per week.

And finally, a show breakdown by team:

  • ComedySportz – 56
  • Mint Condition – 14
  • Front Page – 9
  • Class Shows (Magnet / UCB) – 8
  • Grappler – 7
  • The Danboys – 7
  • Easy, Tiger – 7
  • Other – 11

One of my goals for 2011 was to have at least 50 new experiences here in NYC. They could be restaurants, bars, performances or an activity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, so I didn’t just stop at 50, but made it all the way to 101. The full list of experiences, complete with ratings and one-line reviews, can be found here.

  1. Park Here. Indoor Park. Really cool idea, sadly only temporary.
  2. Pio Pio. Peruvian Restaurant. Incredible Chicken.
  3. Night Court. Judicial System. Very unique, interesting reflection on society.
  4. Book of Mormon. Broadway Musical. Incredible show, hilarious, even standing room only seats are great (and cheap).
  5. Sleep No More. Interactive Theater. Incredible experience and very unique. I want to go back.
  6. Down & Derby Disco. Roller Skating. Awesomely good time. $5 entry, $5 skates. Only happens once every few months in the basement of a hotel.
  7. HanGawi. Vegetarian Restaurant. Very cool ambiance, delicious korean vegetarian, more expensive.
  8. TV on the Radio. Concert. The venue (Williamsburg Park) was pretty cool and the band solid, but pretty expensive.
  9. Meatball Shop. Meatball Restaurant. Quite delicious, a new favorite. Tried all of the sliders.
  10. Cafe Lalo. Restaurant / Desserts. Amazing dessert place, a little expensive but quiet delicious.

I finished the year with 1,549 tweets all time, with around 300 tweets coming this year. Of those 300-ish tweets, here are my favorites from 2011.

Best One-Liners

  1. Cereal for dinner? Life is good.
  2. A guy asked me if I wanted some free fish. I asked, “What’s the catch?”
  3. If you’re having router problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a switch ain’t one.
  4. I want to open a pizza place called “Evil.” On the pizza box it would say “Delivered us from Evil.”
  5. Mirror mirror, on the wall. Dresser dresser, on the floor. Light light, on the ceiling. Room room, checklist complete.

Best Observations

  1. How do you congratulate the guy who operates the ball on New Year’s Eve? “Way to drop the ball there, Gary.”
  2. I think I would drink more smoothies if they were called fruitshakes.
  3. The biggest failure of the English language is that the word “palindrome” isn’t one. I propose changing it to “palinilap.”
  4. Don’t get me wrong, I love football, but it’d be more exciting if the team names were literal. I’d watch giants play against cowboys.
  5. When something is due by COB (“Close of Business”), I think we all agree it really means SONWD (“Start of Next Work Day”).

Best Stories

  1. Got a massage at work today. Masseuse said it’s appropriate my name is Drew because I’m more than tense, I’m past tense.
  2. The Reds won today! Non-sports fans: do not panic, this has nothing to do with Communism in America.
  3. Today is Saturday, so I went for a jog, Da Drew Run Run Run, Da Drew Run Run.
  4. Taught improv to a college class today. I think that moves me from amateur fessor to professor.
  5. Thanks to being sore from rock climbing, 2 of my co-workers now think I’m weird because they found me stretching in a huddle room.

Instructor: Armando Diaz
Date Taken: July 2011

The final class of the Magnet Improv Conservatory is a Team Performance Workshop. You get 6-weeks of classes and then 8-weeks of shows with the same team. The team-specific nature of the class didn’t lend itself to taking too many general improv notes, but there were a few gems that stood out.

To learn more about the Magnet Training program, go here

Class Notes

  • you dont want your pieces to be monotonous. if youre noticing a lot of verbal initiations, mix it up with physicality.
  • there is no retreat. victory is all we have. once you commit keep going until you are edited. you dont go into an opening or a scene thinking its going to last for X seconds or minute.
  • heightening leads to discovery. its what earns the edit.
  • dont reduce your vocabulary to just words.
  • explore the consequences of your characters’ behavior.
  • We don’t want more object work, we want specific object work.
  • Look to expand on things, instead of just repeating something from the opening. It keeps you from feeling locked into what was said/done initially.