Back in New York, people had been encouraging me to do comedy for years. But as far as I knew "doing comedy" meant either a) moving out to LA, pitching agents and studios on ideas, only to have your heart trampled on, or b) doing standup at an open-mic or "bringer" night at a comedy club after midnight, only to have your heart trampled on. And then someone suggested I try improv classes - where there are no scripts, and - kind of like "the Tree" in Empire Strikes Back - the tools you bring in with you (thought, intelligence, sense of humor, and the rules of improv - more on that below) are the only ones you have (or need).
While I wouldn't quite say that I "do comedy" (although I did move out to LA, so maybe part of me thrives on the possibility of heart-trampling), improv has changed (or in some cases validated) the way I think about things. I'm often able to detect improv training in performers on and offstage, and even watching TV, I see some sitcoms reflect improvisation training more than others. There was a lot about improv that I enjoyed - the energy of the spontaneous, the ability to find things that were funny because they were true. But chiefly, I enjoyed the teamwork, finding "the game" of the scene and playing it through, helping others on stage who were struggling by giving them something they could work with, and using my quirky (yet-I-hope-delightful) brainworks to play things truthfully while building something together. Standup is solitary and lonely; improv is group energy, a family.