Here’s what I learned in improv class:
Don’t try to be funny
Just do the next little thing
Trying to be funny leads to death...that slow, painful, witnessed-by-everyone death that we all fear. Trying to be funny is like trying to make a bowel movement happen when you don’t really need to. You’ll just make a bunch of noise, embarrass yourself, and probably pop a blood vessel or two.
The weird thing is that when you stop trying to be funny and just do the next little thing that comes into your head, sometimes it’s really funny...not always... but sometimes.
In improv class, when I thought I was going to need to try to be funny, that just made me freeze up, shrink to the back, and do nothing. When I realized that I didn’t have to (actually SHOULDN’T) try to be funny, I relaxed and just did stuff that came into my head. Sometimes the stuff that came into my head that I did was funny! Sometimes, it wasn’t, but it wasn’t embarrassing because I hadn’t really tried to do anything...I had just done something.
Thinking about just doing the next little thing really helped me.
Think about it this way: Life is like one big improv scene. Someone says something to you and you say something back. You do something and someone does something because of that and then a little story ensues. Sometimes life is funny, just like improv scenes are sometimes funny.
The cool thing about improv class is that you learn some “rules” that help guide things to be funnier and more fun and these same rules can help make your life funnier and more fun, too,...rules like “Agree that this is really happening. Stop asking so many questions,” and “Try to make your partner look good.”
Improv is a great team sport, and taking an improv class will help you be a better player in life.
- By Katy Wright