Improv husbands, regardless of the gender of the actor playing them, often name their wives “Tracy.”
go see plays
you’re on a stage, not on a screen. so stop taking inspiration from movies, where someone has controlled lighting and framing and sound design. see plays, where they are using the same tools you have available to you in your improv shows: real people, monologues, interplay between real humans, big choices, specific wordplay, emotional reactions, minimal costumes and props (more often than not at least), dramatic loaded pauses, movement up and down stage, facing forward, big deep exhales you can hear, etc.
and make fun of plays too. that’s your medium.
Saturday Night Live, a tv show, makes fun of tv shows.
National Lampoon, a magazine, makes (made) fun of magazines.
So if you’re doing improv on a stage, you should make fun of plays. watch plays. do parodies of plays. be happy forever.
office workers arguing
So I’m in an office for month and being back in an office environment I have the following near-useless observation I need to share with someone, and you, dear readers, get to be this someone:
- person A: (introduce a topic)
- person B: (declare a pro or con opinion on that topic)
- person A: (take the opposite view)
- person B: (argue the different sides)
- “now i’m not saying that I totally know everything…”
- or “maybe saying he’s a cancer on the Panthers is too much, but the guy is definitely destructive.”
- or “all i’m saying is…(smile of satisfaction) that’s not a coffee.”
- was Terrell Owens a cancer for his football teams?
- better venue: MSG or Barclays
- best manner to eat chicken wings
- is one required to go to birthday parties you’ve been invited to?
- what’s an appropriate topic to distract sports fans from talking about sports (like what topics would successfully distract - not pop music but yes news of the day)
Anonymous asked: INVENTORY
You are carrying:
an accent you do when you’re out of ideas
a list of specials to say in case you’re a waiter
a mimed glass
Anonymous asked: If you're in a funeral scene and you think the person pretending to be the dead body might actually have died while pretending to be dead, what do you do? I don't mean MORALLY what is the right thing to do, I mean as an IMPROVISER what do you do? This has happened to me twice now.
Commit hard and bury your friend. Only after the scene has been swept, dig him up and call a doctor.
alexispereira asked: My go-to move in funeral scenes is to sit silently in the back of the room and then reveal myself as the "real" dead body. How cool is that?
That is some next level stuff, right there.
Anonymous asked: if you're in a class and playing the dead body in a funeral scene, when is the best time to reveal that you're not really dead and ruin the scene?
The moment there is any silence whatsoever.
Anonymous asked: It seems like the person asking about knowing each other and unusual things had a real question, but you acted like a bully and made fun of them. Others then jumped on board in the comments. As a new student, I'd be crushed if I submitted a sincere question and got made fun of by UCB teachers. Maybe you should take down the "It's okay to ask questions" link, if you're going to be critical of the people who use it. I'd love to read an honest answer to this person's question if you are up for it.
You’re probably right. I apologize to the person who asked it.
The question irked me because it feels like a thing I see people do where they try to poke holes in advice being given to help them. That’s probably not the intention.
My sincere answer is that the question “if you knew someone then their mode of behavior would already be known to you so how could you point it out as unusual” is in a sense true, but it’s also just parsing the language in such a way as to avoid two simple lessons that generally help: 1) choose to know the person, because that makes your character able to make choices more easily and to be invested and be effected and 2) recognize unusual things, since those tend to be the center of the funny parts of scenes.
The term “unusual thing” gets argued with a lot by students. What’s unusual? If something’s unusual why should we let it happen? The thing the teacher describes as unusual isn’t unusual to the person in the scene so what treat it that way?
And…I mean, yeah, that’s all true. But we use the term unusual thing to refer to the part of the scene that seems to generally happen in funny scenes: something is different than normal. Think about it too much and it gets too hard. But in a funny scene, something is different than what we expect and it’s the source of all the fun. So be sensitive for it and be affected by it and explore it. I can’t be more specific than that since it depends what kind of unusual/funny thing it is.
If the term unusual doesn’t feel right, how about the “funny” thing? Or the “interesting” thing? Or whatever word works for you that makes your character focus on the part of the scene that is interesting. Or “the turn” I’ve heard used?