Due mostly to my breathtaking incompetence, Dan won the "Which Animal is That?" competition in the previous post.
Damn stupid filenames.
Anyway, the point is, I'm an idiot, and Dan won fair and square according to the rules I'd posted.
So now I have to tell you about Dan.
Dan and I go waaaaay back. He first saw me in a production of Oedipus Rex at UQ in 1998. It was my first year of university, and my first play outside of school and Act 1 Theatre Strathpine. I thought I was pretty cool - a theory undone in the most typical Girl Clumsy way the night Dan saw the show. For that was the night I had used tissues to stuff my overly large shoes - tissues which unbeknownst to me had come loose and were proudly stuck to the bottom of my pumps as I delivered what I thought was a heart-wrenching opening monologue.
Yes, my life is a Seinfeld episode.
A week or so later I turned up at my first impro show at The Hub cafe (sadly now long gone from Margaret St). The Oedipus Rex director was an improviser, and I quickly fell in love with this amazing form of theatre & comedy. I "formally" met Dan around this time - I believe one of the first things he said was "You were the girl with toilet paper stuck to your shoe in that play!"
I had another freaky moment when I worked out Dan was the same Dan who'd been mentioned on an episode of Martin/Molloy. I thought I had been the only person to be obsessed with that radio show (and in particular Tony Martin).
In early 1999, Dan and I went out for two months. As this is supposed to be a nice post, I won't mention the Tim Tams breakup story here. It has become legendary in Brisbane; a story that I know several people (I'm looking at The Wah and Wade) have told in return for free drinks. I'll tell it to you sometime, but you'll have to buy me a Coke. Let's just say (and I think even he will agree) that Dan was a fairly CLUELESS individual back in his early 20s. In fact, sometimes he remains as clueless as ever, despite everything he should've learned by now.
So most people would probably want to put space between themselves and an "ex", but I was enthralled with impro and comedy and the fantastically cool people I had become friends with, and I wasn't letting anything force me from that scene. And really, I give 18-year-old Natalie big props for that. Otherwise modern-day Natalie would be a very different (and probably lonelier & creatively starved) person.
In 2001, Dan began writing a web comic called Lilley Street, based on the infamous house The Wah shared with the fiend and Troy (possibly Brisbane's greatest-ever improviser; a fact he wouldn't like you to mention if you ever meet him). All was well for a while; Dan even wrote me into the comic (hey, I'd forgotten that strip actually mentions the Tim Tams story - but I want it remembered I actually refused said Tim Tams at the time).
However, there was A Great Unravelling. The Wah and I had been running an impro show over at the Pig 'n' Whistle pub at Indooroopilly; we ended our involvement there in early 2004, and from the ashes rose Impro Mafia, founded by Dan and several others (Alice, Liam, Al and El Capitano & Supreme Puppet Master Wade). The Wah began his three year "break" from impro; I played less as my job demanded many night shifts. Dan became my sworn enemy around this time; he didn't talk to me for a full year after I made an ill-advised comment about him at a party. Everything descended into a mire of intrigue and bitchiness.
So how did we get to where we are now?
I guess we both kinda grew up a bit: Dan had the great fortune of meeting and marrying his talented and beautiful wife Aurelie; and I began playing more regularly with Impro Mafia - particularly on our return from our big '06 trip. The group dynamic strengthened when The Wah re-involved himself with impro (something I delight in, as he's truly brilliant onstage). I don't recall any particular event or moment, but I realised at some point that Dan and Wade had basically become my best friends. I don't know if they felt the same about me; but all I know is that I could ring them anytime, chat about impro, muse over impro, have long involved conversations about mutual friends and enemies; drink beer, socialise, banter about impro, talk about politics, life, the universe and everything. Especially impro.
Even now Dan is the person I talk most to online - a fact The Wah likes to rib me about to no end. "It's DAN!" he'll chirp, flitting about in front of me using excessively effeminate gestures. "You only just saw Dan at impro, but you MUST talk to him again!"
As well as Lilley Street, Dan's written other comic strips over the years. My favourite is Sleep Dep, a series of short comics written while he was working night shifts for an online casino. His new one is called BubbleWrap, and it's about survivors after a worldwide nuclear meltdown. By day, he runs the graphic design business Civic Net. Impro Mafia abuses him all the time for his artistic and computer skills; he's the one behind the phenomenal Prognosis: Death poster, and he also started the Impro Mafia podcast, which is always fun to do (because it's us, just shooting the breeze. About impro).
Dan is still one of my favourite improvisers to perform with; we also share many of the same comedic interests (including that ongoing obsession with Tony Martin). Though sometimes I find him frustrating as all hell to deal with, at the end of the day, we're very well suited to being self-obsessed narcissicistic friends.
So. Anyone else want a post about them?