What is improv? Do I tell jokes?
“Improv” stands for “improvisational comedy,” which is essentially a group of actors collaborating in real-time in front of audiences either by playing improv games (many of which were popularized by the television show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”) or by creating and then performing in scenes or contexts which are completely made-up, usually informed by suggestions from the audience. There’s no need for “jokes” or even to prepare them, since the contexts will be shaped in real time. There are guidelines and principles that aid in successful seasons, which Commedia Partners clarifies and demonstrates in every event it provides.
Simply put, there’s absolutely no activity on the planet that requires the concentration, focus and presence of all the participants like improvisational comedy. You simply can’t be anywhere else except mindfully engaged and “present,” actively listening, supporting your fellow scene partners, and “checking your ego at the door” to see what you and your scene partners arrive at together. In 25 years in the corporate sector, we’ve never experienced a “corporate training” in which the takeaways were so immediate, so palpably clear, and so quickly applicable to almost any challenge your organization might be facing.
Plus, did we mention the fun? The laughter? There’s plenty of that, too.
But I’m not/my people aren’t funny/can’t think fast on my feet/could never improvise…
We’re going to let you in on a little secret. You and your team are already excellent improvisers. Your life is lived from moment to moment, and you’re making it up as you go along. You’re all genius improvisers. It’s how you – all of us, in fact — live life by default. Feel free to keep that secret to yourself. Or share it. Up to you.
In improv, you don’t need to be funny. We know it sounds weirdly contradictory, but it’s true. Once you and your team are taught the principles of improvisation, you’ll discover “being funny” and “being quick on your feet” in scenes and games merely means not thinking and not forecasting, but listening, being present, being in the moment. Trust us, you’re good at that, too.