The other day I walked past Bahgo Beega, and I immediately had a feeling of dislike. Most improvisers who I have not seen in nearly a decade would elicit no strong opinion at all, but merely seeing Bahgo made me think "I can't stand this guy." It was involuntary. I don't think he saw me—though I don't think he ever saw me—and we did not say hi. It was not just that he was unfriendly so many years ago. I can forgive unfriendliness pretty easily. It was that he was unfriendly and talented. I admired him, thought he was hilarious, and I wished he thought the same of me. He didn't—so fuck him.
My first reaction to that reaction is that I am less charitable than I used to be. I did not like him very much when I did improv, but I tried not to judge. He was shy, I sometimes thought, like how a pretty girl in high school merely seems snobby but is really just defensive or nervous. Or, even more simple than that, I figured I didn't know him well. Nearly a decade out of improv, baptized in the bitter waters of professional disappointment, I look at him more harshly. I think he was one of those great improvisers who only tolerated other great improvisers, and if he and his peers did not lump you into their group, he did not have time for you. Sometimes I even think of him like a minor villain in a F. Scott Fitzgerald story—talented, smart, and indifferent to people not lucky enough to live on Summit Avenue.