Last night I took my first improv class at UCB Theater (founded by Amy Poehler and others in 1996). Part of the “homework” is to see two performances before the class ends and we do a show on August 30.
I’ve always been enchanted by improv comics, and was especially intrigued by a former co-worker (Melissa Katz, where are you?). She worked in corporate communication, and said her improv comedy experience helped her in her life and job. For some similar thoughts, see this recent post by Kyle O’Neil about how improv and life are similar.
Here are some of the tips we picked up last night by our instructor, Jonathon Gabrus.
- Listen don’t plan. If you’re planning a direction, you could end up contradicting.
- Go with the flow. We played a “yes, and” game where you repeated your teammate’s statement, then added “and” and added to it. The two people need to move the bit in the same direction, and when someone said “but” you could feel that breakdown.
- Questions force your partner to be clever, so they’re generally avoided.
I’m jazzed that nobody knows I do stuff on YouTube because I wouldn’t want them to think that means I’m funny. But I’m going to have to mention it, because I’m in a class full of brilliantly funny people that HAVE to be in a video. I’m tempted to ask a few of my favorites to stay late after the next class and ROFL on the sidewalks of NYC (literally) to see the reactions of strangers.
Oh- did I mention I’m probably the oldest guy in the class by a decade. Time for a hair transplant.