Whose Line is it anyway? It's Hers! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Thursday, 25 March 2010 15:04

Whose Line is it anyway? It's Hers!
Her life is a stage. She uses it to teach and to perform. Find out how improvisational comedy has helped this local woman find herself even in the not-so-funny times.

At 23 years old, local woman Missy Whitis found out that she had ovarian cancer, just four weeks after her sister had been given the same diagnosis. But this life trial turned out to have a much more positive impact on Whitis' life than the stereotypical bout with cancer.


After Whitis beat the cancer, one of her friends jokingly changed the words to a common Super Bowl ad and asked, "You just had cancer! What are you going to do next?" To which Whitis followed along with: "I'm going to Disney World!"


That joke turned into reality, though, as Whitis realized that life is too short to not ask, "Why not?" So she looked for jobs around the country and landed a teaching position in Orlando, five minutes away from Walt Disney World.



In Orlando, Whitis began attending the SAK Comedy Lab, where she got her start in improvisational comedy, a life-changing experience that led to a full-time career and a positive personal endeavor. "Had I not found improv when I did, I probably would have been a completely different person," Whitis says. "And if I hadn't had cancer I would have never found improv."


Now, Whitis immerses herself in the improv world by teaching classes at Playhouse in the Park and performing with three major improv troupes around the city for which she has been the founder or founding member. They include the Q City Players, The Middle Child and the Grapes of Laugh. And all of these troupes were included in the upcoming movie called "Hitting the Nuts", a comedy about a Scottdale County, Indiana, poker tournament.


No matter with what troupe she works or what group of people she teaches or with what person she comes in contact, she always follows three improv fundamentals:


  • Agree and Accept — Whether you agree with somebody's ideas or not, you do not give a negative reaction. If every idea is met with a negative reaction, nobody will voice their ideas. 
  • Heighten and Explore — Once an idea is out on the table, work to take it to the next level. Imagine the possibilities of where that idea could lead. This allows one idea to go from point A (alright) to point B (hilarious). 
  • Safe to Fail — There is no right or wrong answer. Before ruling anything out, just see what you can come up with, Whitis says.


These improv fundamentals are what helped her deal with post-cancer life and kept her positive through another round when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. "In a place where it's safe to fail, nothing turns out bad," Whitis says.




Photo courtesy of Missy Whitis


Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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