Ah, the ever present North American White Dude. While ubiquitous in all its habitats, literally anywhere humans exist, one of the best places to observe the White Dude is at one of its favorite “watering holes”: the improv show. It is a place for the Dude to socialize amongst its peers and jockey for social position by attempting to convince those around them that they must “totally check out The Wire.” There is a performative aspect to the ritual as well; The Dudes attempt to impress potential mates by banding together and performing on stage in an attempt to collectively magnify their sexual prowess.
These shows have been so overrun by White Dudes, in fact, that any other type of human are drastically overshadowed by vocal majority that are the Dudes. While none know how to counteract this invasive species, this concentration of Dudes has, however, proved invaluable to researchers. At these shows, scientists have documented certain patterns and found that there are at least eight different categories of White Dude that regularly dominate these proceedings. Armed with this knowledge, scientists hope to develop a long term solution, but in the meanwhile, focus is on educating those most vulnerable with lists such as this.
The first Dude one is likely to come across, this subspecies lives and breathes improv. Completely dedicated to the ritual, he’s read every book, is at every show, and makes sure to socialize with every single other human in the room. His enthusiasm is his downfall, however, and his intensity is rarely matched. Subsequently, the non-White Dude spectators nod politely to the Intense Dude’s face, but are often internally wishing they were to be just left alone.
Everything in this Dude’s life happens due to support from his parents, and his participation in improv is no exception. A passing interest led to receiving an entire training in the art form, but despite this, the Trust Fund Dude has minimal commitment to participating. He comes and goes, flitting about, telling his team that he will “totally come to the show on Friday”, then announcing that “something came up” the day of. The only place he can consistently be seen is at the bar explaining to women “how awesome it is to be able to support himself just making art.”
Typically, participation in improv shows is a young Dude’s game. The Middle-aged Dude is, however, the exception. Researchers found the most common reason this subspecies decides to put themselves out there is because they’ve “always wanted to try improv but never had the courage.” Their schedules mean they cannot stay out late, and they often only bring dad jokes to the table, along with an uncomfortable sense that perhaps everyone ought to censor themselves around this “adult.” Their participation in improv will start strong, but peter out once “things get busy with the kids.”
The antithesis of the Middle-aged Dude, the Kid Dude decided early in his life that he must participate in improv. Thus, at the earliest age possible, he set off on his own and pursued the craft. His naivety is complemented by his immaturity, and while he’s enthusiastic, his age betrays him when he is unable to drink with other Dudes as he is too young. This category is controversial, as many researchers consider the Kid Dude to be the larval stage of the Intense Dude.
This Dude is a nice dude. He smiles a lot, laughs at the jokes, and participates with his peers just as fervently as the other types of Dude. What sets him apart, however, is his total lack of skill. He progresses through training solely because he keeps signing up for classes, and inevitably winds up on a team. This team then spends 85% of their energy managing the Dude and attempting to recover what they can from scenes with him. His total lack of self-awareness means he always has fun, but spells trouble for improvisers and audience members alike.
The Teddy Bear Dude commands the stage with his large stature, loud voice and unexpected speed. While there is overlap between this Dude and other categories such as the Bro Dude, what sets the Teddy Bear apart is their insistence on making whatever they do as big as possible. While certainly loveable, this category of Dude can often become overbearing as they overpower their fellow team members with their energy, leading to scene stealing moments of picking up other improvisers in a big hug and shaking them around.
In a tropical bird of paradise manner, the Bro Dude shows off his flair for douchiness by wearing his brightly colored sports jersey. His humor aggressively centers on how dumb their scene partner is, and whenever possible, the Bro Dude will pantomime his seemingly gigantic penis. These dick joke generators thrive when the scene requires any reference to sexuality whatsoever, but stumble when it comes generating ideas that don’t include references to genitalia.
This Dude is the meat and potatoes of the White Dude Improviser. While the Academic has many different styles, they are all tall, lanky and usually bearded. The Academic Dude is college educated and makes that fact well known; this Dude will insert clever literary references at the drop of a hat. He and his subspecies can been seen anywhere that improv is happening, and while some would call for diversity, the end of these Dudes’ monopoly of improv would drastically alter the entire international improv community; perhaps all the more reason to make the change.
Cameron Petti is a Chicago-land native. He’s currently attempting to survive off of freelance theatre work, and hasn’t had to eat too much cat food to achieve this goal. Check out how happy and full of life Cameron is on tumblr and twitter.