Andy Livengood

Comedy. Storytelling. All around fun guy.

Maps be damned! Just perform!

I love improv. I love teaching it. I love performing it. I love watching it.

I can truly say it changed my life. It brought me out of my shell. It gave me a circle of friends that are closer to me than family. It gave me a secret handshake that allows me to enter this world no matter where I am. I feel like everyone should give it a try at least once.

It doesn’t matter where you do it; A huge theatre in a big city, a crappy bar in the middle of nowhere, or in a living room somewhere. I’m just happy that you get to be apart of this amazing experience.

I want to exist in a world where there’s more improv, not less. I’ve seen amazing work in some of the “big theatres. ” I’ve also seen amazing work in smaller venues that you probably have never heard of.

To me, your passion for improv is way more important than your geographical location. Find a way to do the work you love with the people you want to work with.

It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter where you studied. Just get up there and perform!

Yes, and!

ProFlowers Isn't Over my Breakup

 While I was dating my Ex-girlfriend, I would send her flowers from ProFlowers.com. After the breakup, I no longer required their services. Since the split, I have gotten 4-5 emails a week asking me if I would like to surprise her with flowers.

Dear ProFlowers,

              As you know, I am a loyal ProFlowers customer. I enjoy the quality of your flowers and that of your customer service. I appreciate your desire to save me money on my next flower delivery to Maggie Jo, but, unfortunately,  I will not be taking you up on your offer.

           Unfortunately, Maggie Jo and I broke up a few months ago. While I appreciate a good bargain, I feel like surprising her with flowers now may send the wrong message.

           I have been receiving these emails since the breakup. I have repeatedly clicked unsubscribe, but when I check my inbox, there they are. I’m sure you’ll understand that I really don’t want a constant weekly reminder that I’m still single. I’d like to check my email without the painful sorrowful moment that comes with your special offers.

 Thank you,

 Andy

 

Look, ProFlowers. Maggie Jo and I broke up. It’s okay. It’s nothing you did. Sometimes people break up. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. This isn’t anything you did. I still love you and your website. I know you want us to get back together, but it’s not going to happen. Don’t beat yourself up. It will be okay.

 

ProFlowers, relax a little. You don’t want to come off as desperate. Being needy won’t make you feel any better. It’s not you….it’s me. Just promise me you’ll stop obsessing about this. It’s for the best.

 

Come on, ProFlowers. You’ll get over this. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. You’re a great corporation. A girl would have to be crazy not to want to get flowers from you. You gotta stop moping around. She’s moved on. You need to too. I know it’s hard, but you got to stop thinking about her all the time.

Proflowers, are you drunk? I’m worried about you.

 

ProFlowers. There’s nothing you could have done. These things happen. Obsessing about it won’t bring her back. I mean, did you think it was going to last forever?  Just try to remember the good times we had. I ordered flowers. You sent flowers. She enjoyed flowers. We’ll always have that.

Proflowers, It’s not your fault.

 

It’s not your fault.

 

It’s not your fault.

 

It’s not your fault, ProFlowers.

 It’s not your fault……

ProFlowers? Are you okay? I haven’t heard from you in a while.

 Look who finally moved on! I’m proud of you, ProFlowers, you didn’t mention her at all! Let’s go out this weekend and pick up some girls. You bring the flowers.

 

Loss and Hermit Crabs

            My Grandmother loved to write. She wrote in her journal almost everyday. She had a collection of old calendars on which she filled in every box with what she did that day. My favorite thing she wrote? Birthday cards. She always filled every square inch with writing. These letters never felt long or rambling. They felt like real conversations. She managed to truly capture her voice in a way that I can only dream of. She always signed the card, “xoxo Grandma, Spider, and Hershey.” Spider and Hershey were her cats. When I would write her back, I  signed, “xoxo Andy and that’s all. Mom won’t let us have a pet.”

My mother might have always vetoed my annual Christmas request for a dog, but my brother and I finally wore her down enough to get a nice, cuddly…hermit crab. When I first brought Merlin home, the first thing I did was call Grandma. After all, the last time we were in Ohio, Grandma introduced us to her two hermit crabs. She would let them crawl around in her bathtub while she wasn’t using it. Mom and Dad nixed that idea, but I couldn’t wait to tell Grandma about the nice little mini aquarium I had for Merlin.

Hermit crabs are disposable pets. They tend to last slightly longer than goldfish won at the state fair. Evan, my brother, went through several crabs. Merlin, however, seemed to live forever. He was a badass in that way. I loved him. I would spray him with water, take him out to crawl around, and talked to him the way some would talk to their dogs. (The weirdos.)  Merlin loved me back. He would walk right off my hand. There was no pinching me to hang on, oh no,  he would rather fall then to hurt me.

Death is inevitable, even for hermit crabs. One day Merlin wouldn’t move when I touched him. I was beyond devastated. I ran crying into my parent’s room. Between sobs, there was only one thing I demanded. I wanted to call Grandma. If anyone could understand the traumatic loss I just experienced it would be the woman who herself cared enough for her crabs to give them an entire bathtub to play in. I cried on the phone to Grandma. I told her I missed Merlin. I explained it wasn’t fair that he died. Grandma told me how sorry she was. “If I could send you my hermit crabs in the mail, Andy, I would.” I truly believe, if it was possible,  she would have overnighted the crabs to me. I can picture her calling my Uncle Jeff and asking to be driven to the post office.  She was so sincere. I swear she was on the phone with me for a full twenty minutes. She would have kept talking for hours, if I didn’t have to get off for the funeral.

I buried Merlin in the backyard that day. I’ve since gotten over the loss of my crab, but I still remember Grandma taking the time to comfort me. She taught me how to relate to kids. Don’t brush them aside. Things that matter to them should be treated as important.

My Grandmother died on November 16, 2013. It was a bittersweet event for my family. She batted Alzheimer’s for almost a decade. We were happy that she was no longer suffering. We were devastated that she was gone.

I’ll remember many things about her. The way she liked to hum. Her sense of humor. The way she pronounced wash as “warsh.” But the thing I will remember the most is how she would take the time for her grandchildren. If something was significant to us, it mattered to her, even something as dopey as a kid crying over his pet crab.

She wasn’t Grandma Bev. She wasn’t Grandma Cunningham . She was simply Grandma, and I miss her.

Halloween

When I was a kid,  my mom used to have a cloth Frankenstein that she would hang on our door for Halloween. He wasn’t a scary monster. He was crossed eyed and  had a big grin on his face. Instead of terrifying villagers he was giving candy to a pair of trick or treaters.  One October morning, a couple of Jehovah Witnesses came walking up our driveway. They never made it to the door. Through the open window my mom could here them praying for our “demon house.”

 I used to love Halloween. It was the perfect holiday. You get to dress up and get candy. What else do you need? I was never in to scary aspect of Halloween. I was never into scary things period. I would get nightmares from watching Scooby Doo. It didn’t matter that, at the end of the episode, the “Swamp Ghost” turned out to be Old Man Henderson- I would still get freaked out. Come to think of it, the fact that the villain was actually a grown man that wanted to terrorize children, is actually scarier than the whole ghost thing.

 I loved dressing up for Halloween. The costumes were more than outfits to me. I wasn’t dressed as Batman, I WAS Batman.

 I, like most kids, loved dinosaurs. So naturally, in kindergarten,  I wanted to be one for Halloween. My mom took my bother and I to K-mart to find us a costume. After digging through countless catalogs in the fabric department I finally found my dinosaur costume.  We weren’t poor growing up. I never really wanted for anything, but occasionally things would be too expensive to buy. Things like my dinosaur costume. 

 We weren’t gonna buy a dinosaur costume, mom was gonna make one. My mother owned a sewing machine. That is about the extent of her needle working experience. Mom sat down with a bunch of green and purple fabric and made me a dinosaur costume. It was a cheap knock off version of the one I saw in the store. In fact it embarrasses my mother to think back on how it looked. It was a one piece costume that was bright green. Purple spikes were attached down the back, running to the tail that was filled with stuffing. On my head I would wear what could only be described as a bright green hat with matching purple spikes.  None of this mattered to me.  I loved my costume. I was a DINOSAUR!!! I would stomp around the house, a roaring prehistoric beast that wore sneakers. (Mom couldn’t figure out how to make the feet) Even now, I look back at that costume more fondly than any of the other ones in my short lived career as a trick or treater.

 I didn’t know it then, but I didn’t have many more Halloweens left. I grew up Methodist, but sometime between 1st and 2nd grade we became Southern Baptists. (Which is more of a lateral move when you think about it.)

 One of my first introductions to the church that I would attend well into my adult life was the “Fall Festival”, a fun filled evening billed as “an alternative to Halloween.” Instead of dressing up and going door to door for candy, kids would dress up (as bible characters) play games and get candy.

The first year we went to the Fall Festival, the Livengoods didn’t get the memo regarding biblical costumes. I had already picked my costume before being invited to the festival. I wanted to be a character from Ducktales. On one particular Halloween themed episode Scrooge McDuck and pals went to Stonehenge. There they met a friendly druid. That’s what I wanted to be. Not the wealthy duck, but a druid. Looking back, the so called druid actually resembled more of a monk, but he called himself a druid, so that’s what I wanted to be. I walked the halls of the Southern Baptist church  with a black hooded sweatshirt on, almost covering my white painted face. I passed Jonah, Mathew, and the two lions from the ark. They were all very friendly and when they asked what I was I proudly told them “I’m a druid.” After an entire night of telling people that I was a “high priest that prayed to nature” my family got put on so many visitation and prayer lists that the pastor almost taught a sermon about us. 

 At some point it becomes necessary for a child to stop trick or treating. Nobody wants to be the kid that’s a little to old to be dressing up like Darth Vader on October 31st. Worse yet nobody wants to be the teenager that goes out trick or treating every year sans costume. Unfortunately for me I didn’t get the chance to commit either one of these holiday faux pas. I was forced to retire from the trick or treat game a little early.

           Little did I know, My Halloween days were numbered. One night my parents went to a Bible study. This was nothing new, we were constantly at some sort of Bible study.  This study, however, wasn’t like the other ones. Someone popped in a video tape. This tape explained Halloween’s roots. It talked about pagans, Satan, and demons.

 My parents came back from this bible study changed people. The video opened their eyes. Oh how foolish they’d been. How could they have not seen the truth? By dressing up like a Ninja Turtle and asking for candy at the neighbor’s house I was actually worshiping Satan. Every time I reached into my candy bag for that small fun sized bag of skittles I was losing a fun sized piece of my soul.  Oh I could pick out a costume if I wanted to, but it would be the one I would  wear  hell.   

 About two weeks before Halloween a parental decree went out. We wouldn’t be trick or treating. The unthinkable had happened. Halloween was canceled. I couldn’t understand it. How can you cancel a holiday?  We celebrated all the other ones. Why not this one? I remember asking my mom why we couldn’t go trick or treating. My mother, to her credit, decided to be completely honest with me.

 My mother decided this was a good time to explain the concept of Satan to me and my brother. Now every kid in the world has a frame of reference when it comes to the devil. He’s the guy that shows up on your shoulder and makes you do bad things. What kids do not have a frame of reference for is Satan. Satan, Lucifer, the fallen angel this goes a little beyond red tights and a pitchfork. Mom explained how Satan was real, and he could get me. By enjoying all Halloween had to offer I was inviting him to come after me. She didn’t present Satan as a spirit or even as an idea, but as a real person who might jimmy the lock on my window and come into my bedroom. This terrified me worse than Scooby Doo ever had.

I asked mom if we could still carve pumpkins. She said no because apparently Jack-o-lanterns are the faces of demons. Oh great now every time I walk home from the neighbors I can look at their front porches and see the faces of evil demons staring back. The holiday that, for me, was always about dressing up and candy had finally become as scary as it was intended to be.

 There was no appeal. No course of action I could take to reinstate my favorite holiday. My brother and I would never again trick or treat. We would go to the Fall Festival of course, but there we couldn’t dress as Superman or G.I. Joe. One year My brother was a large cardboard version of the ark while I was a roman solider, complete with a scrub brush attached to my head. Another time my brother was a giant foil covered Star of Bethlehem. That year I was Samson. With my long black hair and pencil thin mustache I looked more like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride than the Old Testament hero. I recently stopped by the Fall Festival. Apparently the church has eased up on it’s “Dress like a Bible character policy.” I saw just as many ghouls and goblins as I did Canaanites and prophets.

 I eventually got over the death of my holiday. After all, I got to get candy at the church and my parents eventually allowed my brother and I to continue carving the faces of demons into pumpkins to put on the porch.

 Currently I don’t really celebrate Halloween that much. I don’t dress up and go to parties or bars.  I don’t decorate. I do however, buy the best bag of candy I can find and give it out at my apartment. Every time the bells rings I jump up to give candy to all the Dora the Explores, the Pokemon, and the Darth Vaders. I’m glad to support fun holiday traditions. And I still have yet to see one Satan worshiping Ninja turtle.