Feb 9, 2009

Fine. I'll post about Dan.

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?


  1. The Wah wants a post about him.

    Not about the frail human that The Wah wears as a rather baggy overcoat, but a post about The Wah himself.

    His past, present and future

    The Wah is a jealous and malevolent spirit.

    The Wah likes to write whilst the body he inhabits slumbers fitfully...

  2. I can help with the The Wah post ;)

  3. I'd like to add that I was also a founding member of Impromafia, and the first President :P

  4. Sorry Gwen! I apologise. I wasn't around then, so my memory is not good. Error will be fixed.

  5. What do you have to do to earn a post about yourself?

  6. My beloved friend Nat, Thank you. It's always nice to read such lovely things about one's self.

    In respect for those diligent souls who got ImproMafia off the ground, I should point out that I didn't actually get on board until sometime after they were underway.

  7. I'm ok, you don't need to post about me...
    I've had my 15 mins of fame as a Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey.

    Oh how I love the Tim Tam story... But not nearly as mush as I love the way The Wah say "Dan".

    So a toast *raise mug of cold instan coffee*, to "Dan" *said like The Wah*, may misplaced image filenames bring you health, wealth, and Tim Tams!

  8. Hey.. if I don't add a URL to my name I'm like a ninja...

    a Blog comment posting Ninja!

  9. What a truely bohemian lifestyle you lead Nat!

    So about the tim tams.....

  10. I would like a post about me!

  11. The Hub!!
    Takes me back to the days when I was a fresh-faced 15 year old surrounded by 20-something men giving deviant glances. heehee

    Ahhh.. I don't think I want a post about me - but perhaps I will write my own "Improv Origin" story! With pictures! :)

  12. well well well...2morrow is the wah's..really the wanks big day...u c its the 1st anniversary of our world saviour..kevin the elma fudd dudd the rudd's saying sorry to the so called stolen generation...2 b exact...the stolen few...it the wank chose instead 2 b swept away with misinformed politically correct sensationalism...it..the wank...will b out there with his pink parasol..crocodile tears dripping over its chubby cheeks but will it..the wank part with it's..the wank..soft earned cash 2 the stolen few?....nooooo...it..the wank if it..the wank...stood by its convictions...surely...it ..the wank...would part with at least a few bucks 2 these stolen souls???

    people check out 4bc's michael smith's or sydney's andrew bolt's blog sites if u wish 2 seek the truth...

    lets only hope the mejia continues to fill the papers with the devestation in victoria...

    oh and people..beware of this site..privacy laws mean little 2 the insecure lass running it...email tracking software....hhmmmm...interesting..

    just 2 let u know...the wank...i get paid 2 lecture.....

    pull hard @ ponder...the wank

  13. Hmm, what an, interesting, comment from the irreverant sentinal.

    Too bad I didn't understand wtf I was supposed to be wary of or what the point of the comment was.

  14. It's true CCL, I do track everybody's email. But that's only because I've got a massive consignment of generic-brand Viagra and people should know about my once-in-a-lifetime deals!

  15. Irreverent misspelled AND Sentinel misspelled.

    You sure as acorns are not teaching English at university; Or any subject that requires the use of language.

    Confusing, spelling mistakes, atrocious grammar with long run-on sentences. Some use of paragraphs.

    I give this rant of the 'irreverant sentinal' (sic) a D-

    Must try harder.

  16. Nat: I note the joke recurs quite beautifully.

    Oh that Dan. Maybe one day I'll be inside his Monkeysphere!

  17. I'm surprised the most important detail has been glossed over. Why was he mentioned on Martin/Molloy?

  18. They were running a competition to give away a giant picture of Mike Moore, from the final season of Frontline.

    Dan wrote in as "The Evil Daniel Beeston" saying he would use it as a ramp to jump the Brisbane River.

    Let's not forget I got mentioned TWICE on Martin/Molloy - once talking about Judith Lucy, and a second time - when Tony Martin wished me a Happy Birthday when I turned 17.

    Still one of the greatest moments in my life.

  19. "Let's not forget I got mentioned TWICE on Martin/Molloy - once talking about Judith Lucy, and a second time - when Tony Martin wished me a Happy Birthday when I turned 17."

    What? WHAT??


  20. I concur. I don't remember hearing that you were mentioned.

    I was mentioned a second time on that show when I cleared up the 'Beaver' jokes in both 'The Naked Gun' and 'Loaded Weapon'. There was one in each and they got confused.

    I also called in on 'Get This' once and got to talk to Tony and Ed. It was terrifying.

  21. I got on to Get This once, in one of the last episodes they had a word association game. Scored a free Get This CD from it too.

  22. Ooh, "Illegal Download"?

    I've never actually heard that.

    I guess I should try "illegally downloading" it.

    Otherwise, could you burn me a copy? I'll owe ya!