This week on Yes But Why Podcast, I interview comedian John Gebratatose.
John Gebretatose has been dedicated to the comedy scene in Minnesota's Twin Cities for more than a decade. He performs stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy. John is an improv instructor as well as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis, MN. He has taught improv workshops in theaters, hospitals, corporate workspaces, K-12 schools and colleges.
Over the past few years, John has become a leader in the efforts to change the face of American improv, making it a more welcoming and representative artform. He has led and facilitated diversity and inclusion programming for improv theaters all over the world through his mission to uplift all voices.
John is a co-founder of renowned Twin Cities improv troupe Blackout Improv and a founding member of the sketch comedy show, Late Nights Minneapolis. He is also the co-founder of the Black and Funny Improv Festival. John has traveled the world performing, teaching and directing improv.
In our conversation, John tells me about his upbringing and we bond over latchkey life. John muses on ways to “seek out joy in the darkness” when you’re a kid who doesn’t really get to be a kid. John speaks about the singing and dancing that he and his friends did to celebrate neighborhood victories when he was growing up.
We talk about what we have learned about humanity since we began teaching improv. John shares a bit about his teaching style. We discuss the lessons we have learned about confidence, accountability, and commitment (both as human beings and as performers).
I ask John about the work he is doing to make improv a more welcoming artform for Black improvisers and other performers of color. We discuss the challenging work there is to provide artists with a safe space to create in. John gushes about artists that inspire him.
Support John by supporting HUGE Theater in Minneapolis, MN. Take a class with him and/or go to the BIPOC jam he has created! Last Sunday of the month, 4-6pm. Remaining 2021 dates: October 31, November 28 and December 26
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