Laugh at Cancer
Reading “The Associated Press Guide to News Writing” (because I write news and other things for a living, and it’s good to brush up), I came across this point: “Never treat death, pain and suffering – human or animal – lightly or humorously.” That’s good advice for news writing. But I think the opposite is true for comedy. Death, pain and suffering are the...
Making people laugh is the lowest form of comedy.– Michael O’Donoghue
I was in Montreal at the annual comedy festival, and they have a lot of street...– Marc Maron, “Attempting Normal”
I don’t care if I’m not on your team, I’d just like to be asked.– Every improviser ever (via jessedontthink)
Untitled: A TOUGH LOVE GUIDE TO INDIE IMPROV →
catbathchad: I will often reach out to established groups, as well as veteran improvisers to participate in special features. These improvisers bring name value to my show and they are doing me the courtesy of performing for free. I don’t expect them to donate and they are welcome to sit in the lobby during their hour. If you have submitted, you have asked for stage time – therefore you do not...
A true thing that’s often said about long-form improv is it’s beautiful how you get to perform these scenes that, good or bad, will happen only once and then disappear forever. What they don’t tell you is that the vast majority of the good scenes happen in practice sessions.
What I Learned From Eliza Skinner
improvobsession: I watched a Diamond Lion show not too long ago, and the show was flawless. But, there was a moment I noticed in one of the songs, in the middle of a bar, Eliza stumbled a over a word or two. They just came out as non-words. And why wouldn’t that happen? Making up a song on the spot is tough. No more than four lines later, Eliza INTENTIONALLY stumbled over words and turned it...
Improv, Fashion, and Puppies: Your Monitor (Stage... →
sabrinalondon: I was reading Jay Mohr’s book, “Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live” and came across this: Buddy’s theory was that the first time a comic goes onstage, his monitor is 100. Standing onstage is so foreign and standing in front of a live audience is so frightening that being yourself is the hardest thing to do. Yet in spite of nearly everything in...
Improv is great to a point, but it’s only the beginning in one’s...– Eddie Pepitone
Even in a Harold, in a first-beat scene, approach it like this could be a...– Johnny Meeks, my man
This. Now.: On Theater Things →
ferniecommaalex: Maude actor auditions were this past weekend and Maude writing packets were due recently. Any time UCB has auditions, it can be a shitty, disappointing time for a lot of people. I wrote a version of this post in response to a post on Facebook from someone who was disappointed and upset with the theater following this weekend’s auditions. I’ve redacted it a bit, as...
The Improvisor's Improvisor: Improv Friendzone →
improvisorsimprovisor: Sometimes improvisors—I know I have—feel like they’ve been “friendzoned” by the improv community. No one’s asking them to be on a team or do some project. The improvisor views the relationship with other improvisors not as intrinsically valuable in and of itself, but only as a source for a potential shows. And it’s the improvisors own behavior that’s making people not...
Transaction and Negotiation
In the interview with Nichols and May in Vanity Fair’s comedy issue, when discussing the “rules for improvisations” that the Compass Players used, Mike Nichols says, “We figured out over a long time that there only were three kinds of scenes in the world—fights, seductions, and negotiations.” This caught my attention because we’re taught early in improv...
Improv's Babel: Defining the Game of the Scene |... →
Let’s get into another endless discussion about game!
Sussy-Time!: I SOLVED IMPROV COMEDY GUYZ →
sussybuckets: I was coaching an improv group called Junk Rope the other day and we collectively came up with the following formula: Smarts + Hearts + Farts = Great Improv The “Smarts” is intelligence, obviously, but also realism and careful observation of your scene partner and your environment so that you… This is the new Pirate, Robot, Ninja.
Classy Broad.: The Best Advice My Father Has Ever... →
nahdeeeyah: My father is, without hyperbole, the fucking worst at giving advice. He plays it safe, never promoting risk, or following your heart, or anything unpractical. When I asked whether I should leave a job that I felt was morally reprehensible, he encouraged me to stay. “Are you making money? Why… The value of supportive parents can’t be overstated. When I started planning...
Jesse has opinions.: Hi, I'm Jesse. I'm starting a... →
jessedontthink: UCBLA Harold auditions were this week and I did not receive a callback. It really stung and hurt me … I didn’t get on a Harold team and didn’t even get a callback, but I can’t be mad or be negative about it. I can’t quit. That’s the only way that I will have wasted the last 4 years of my life. I’m going to let this strengthen me and encourage me for next year. I...
Sometimes people think that a ‘strong choice’ has to be an insanely...– Alex Berg
How are you gonna get five people all on the same page? I can’t even get a...– Jeff Hiller on polygamy
Billy Merritt's Improv Dance Party Pt2: Harold... →
improvdanceparty: RESILIENCE I have been auditioning for close to twenty years now. From one word VO’s to testing and shooting pilots. I have failed the majority of the time. We all do. If you have a 10% success rate then you are considered a working actor. The first thing written on the chalkboard on the first day of my first acting class was the word Resilience. My teacher was warning us...
Be About Something
This is from a Splitsider article about TV sitcom spin-offs. “Cheers” writer/producer Ken Levine says: “There was another spin-off of CHEERS (besides FRASIER) – THE TORTELLIS. Carla’s creepy ex-husband Nick (played to slimeball perfection by Dan Hedeya) and his new wife Loretta (the delightfully daft Jean Kasem) move to Las Vegas with one or two of her kids. It lasted maybe...
Something For Me
improvnonsense: Group scenes work better if the characters are a family of acrobats with matching costumes and lots of things in common, not a team of superheroes with separate back stories and powers. This just blew my miiind.
Josh MacDonald: The worst thing you can be... →
joxmacd: improv-is-easy: improvdanceparty: The worst thing you can be, is in love with your own Improv. Billy, I don’t understand this. Can you elaborate? I’ll take a crack at this. I think Billy means you shouldn’t be in love with your own improv in the sense that satisfaction breeds complacency. Never stop learning and growing. Don’t stand still too long. That sort of thing. If you...
It’s nice to meet people in LA who are genuine eccentrics and not...– Greg Proops
Your partner’s words are your raw material that you’re going to turn...– Craig Cackowski
Billy Merritt's Improv Dance Party Pt2: The Improv... →
improvdanceparty: I often use the phrase “The Noblest Creature in the Improv Forest” like: “The Straight Man is the Noblest Creature in the Improv Forest.” Or “Being willing to give up your argument for the sake of the scene is the Noblest Creature in the Improv Forest” My visualization for this phrase is being…
You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they...– Anais Nin (via terramantra) This quote doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with improv, but it has a lot to do with my decision at age 28 to scrap my entire life, pack everything I could fit into my ‘97 Ford Taurus and drive across the country to Los Angeles in order to learn improv...
charstarlene: I intern at UCB on Mondays.Last... →
charstar: I intern at UCB on Mondays. Last Monday, a girl walked in and nervously said, “This might sound dumb.” She continued to tell our house manager that she has been living in the neighborhood for eight years, and she’s never been to a show at UCB. I chimed in and mentioned that I had been living… Char had her first improv class the day I moved to LA, and I had mine four days...
Hey Los Angeles Improv!
ryanjameshitchcock: I made as complete a list as I possibly could of indie improv shows in L.A. and put it up on the Improv Resource Center wiki. I figured it would be good to have that information readily available in a community-editable form. The sheer number of shows around here these days is staggering. Enjoy! Ryan. Hitchcock.
oaksandroses asked: Does Martha know about this blog? Why aren't there more photos of her on here? I would like to formally request an entire blog about Martha and her adventures. I guess you could put your adventures on there too, but I mostly want to know things about Martha.
The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they...– Ted Hughes
For me, the desire is very powerfully and very single-mindedly pursuing being in...– Jason Mantzoukas
Billy Merritt's Improv Dance Party Pt2: Teaching... →
improvdanceparty: The Questionater- These people will ask more questions then they need to, in scenes and in the class. It means they want to be absolutely clear before they make a move because they don’t want to make a mistake. Once they learn to eternalize the questions on stage, and know that it’s safe to fail, they tend to take off. 100-percent questionater here. I wasn’t really...
Improv Nonsense: Triangle →
improvnonsense: In computer programming (and probably in lots of fields) there’s the expression “Fast. Cheap. Good. Pick two.” I feel like there’s three aspects of good scenework: cooperation, reality, activeness. Maybe the challenge is doing all three at once, and maybe students can only ever do two of them at… I like this way of thinking. My team has had a run of what we felt have...