West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert to perform with TheatreSports League tonight

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I need a suggestion for a profession. Did I hear Member of the Legislative Assembly?

MLA for Vancouver-West End Spencer Chandra Herbert hits the stage with the Vancouver TheatreSports League tonight, matching wits with some of the city’s most skilled improv comedians for an evening of seat-of-your-pants laughs.

“I love to laugh,” says Herbert, who has served as an MLA in Vancouver since 2008. “I love improv comedy, and what could be more fun than helping other people laugh, too?”

Far from a newbie, Herbert has a history with the TheatreSports League that stretches back almost 15 years, when he worked with the group as a sound improviser, stage manager, and performer. Since stepping into the world of politics however, Herbert says he hasn’t had much time for improv.

“Though I guess you could argue the legislature is full of improvisation, and sometimes bad theatre and bad actors,” he says, laughing. “I’m excited to get back on stage with the real comedians, who know what they’re doing.”

Herbert joins TheatreSports for Throwback, a performance series that transports its audience back to the days of backcombing, non-ironic jean jackets, and MTV in celebration of the improv group’s 35th anniversary. Herbert says he’s always had an interest in the arts, and loves improv in particular for what it promotes in performance.

“The idea of you not knowing what’s going to come next,” he says. “A lot of scripted theatre can sometimes get a little bit boring. The performers know what they’re saying, and it doesn’t necessarily have the same spark you get in a really good improv show where nobody knows what’s going to happen next. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not so much, but regardless people are laughing.”

Herbert says this look back is a welcome visit to his beginnings with the troupe, and will be a good opportunity to reconnect.

“[I’m excited to see] good friends again,” he says. “Seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time, who continue to make Vancouver a great place to laugh, and remind us that sometimes we need to take life a little less seriously.”

Herbert says that, besides a simple form of entertainment, improv for him represents an opportunity to toss out the script, and see where life takes you – if only for a few minutes at a time.

“I enjoy a good laugh and I’m inspired by these folks, who do it better than I can ever imagine to,” he says. “In a scripted world, in politics in particular, where the lines seem to have been written a long time ago, at least in terms of what our government says. You know, they all have their little message box. I like getting out of that message box and just being real, and improv is one of the best ways to do that.”

Throwback TheatreSports

When: Thursday, October 29; 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver

Price: $21 (includes drink)

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Shawn O'Hara Shawn is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. He loves writing about news, arts, movies, comedy, and culture. Some would argue Shawn is too old to still play Dungeons & Dragons. Shawn would disagree.

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