In June 2014 I went to Phoenix Arizona for my brothers stag. If you’ve never been to Arizona, I recommend going – IN THE WINTER! As a BC boy, it felt counter-intuitive to leave Vancouver in JUNE to visit a City that touts health risks for going outside during the day.
Aside from that, it was a good place for a stag. We did everything a good stag should: drinking in the pool (or under the shade by the pool), seeing Lionel Richie live, and feeling awkwardly too old for table service at a roof top club.
Amongst all the stag shenanigans , I was lucky to connect with Dorian Lentz. Dorian owns and operates the National Comedy Theatre (NCT) in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and improv partner, Kristina.
I had come to Arizona to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my brother, and now I was talking to man that had a successful relationship with his wife in love and business. I was very interested in learning the inner-workings of their relationship. Marriage is hard. Running a business is hard. How do you make them both work?
Dorian told me that he had met his wife performing improv. Like all Improvised Fairy Tales (I assume) the two grew together as performers and a couple. Improv was (is) their life blood. Sharing the same passion has given them focus and made their relationship stronger.
By all means, Dorian didn’t want to paint a perfect picture. Like all couples they have had their challenges. When making personal and professional decisions they don’t always disagree. Which can be hard. But in the big picture, Dorian says the journey has been worth it – every step of the way.
Above and beyond their partnership, Dorian sites the following as keys to their success:
1) Approaching improv with a professional point of view. Despite the fact that improv is making stuff up, Dorian prides himself that NCT provides a well-oiled quality product again and again.
2) Avoid that lazy mentality that can be inherent in performing improv comedy. Just because Improvisers tend to ‘wing it’ on stage, doesn’t mean you can “wing it” off stage.
3) Diversify your business. Performing every weekend is just one aspect of the business. To be successful you also need to sell improv as skill training, performance based workshops, and corporate entertainment.
4) When you’re working with businesses, understand their needs. By speaking their language you provide great customer service and quality improv that won’t cause trouble with HR on Monday morning.
5) Be community minded and always work well with others.
6) It’s not work if you love it.
Learn more about the National Comedy Theatre here.