The Art of Improv Essay

Submitted By jkwon513
Words: 992
Pages: 4

If there was one thing that reading Truth in Comedy did for me, it was that it cemented my understanding of improvisation as a serious art. Having had friends who were very involved in improvisation throughout high school and college, I had come to appreciate it as a skill that really took time and energy to develop and master. Reading this book definitely helped me clear up some minor misconceptions about the art of improvisation, and also made me see it from different perspectives. It is so obvious to think about now, but we really do improvise every day. All of our interactions are built right on the spot, and but it still made me realize how much more difficult the art of improvisation is. As an improviser, you have to be creative and generous. One of the biggest things I learned from reading this book was that a truly funny scene is one of generosity – of trying to make the other person (and his/her ideas) look as good as possible. I definitely agreed that real humor does not come from sacrificing the reality of a moment in order to crack a cheap joke, but instead in finding the joke in the reality of the moment. I am not entirely sure if I disagree with this but I was not sold on the statement that the only way to do a comedy scene is to play it completely straight. I do agree that it is hilarious when actors are completely devoted to their role even when the premise is absolutely ridiculous, however I have found it equally hilarious when actors, most notably those of Saturday Night Live, break their character to laugh, which garners a bunch of laughs. I completely agreed that the most effective laughs come from an actor making a connection to something that has gone on before. Making a connection generates energy for that scene, and these strong connections raise a scene to a level in which it could never have been reached by telling jokes. Many of the games that were referred to in Truth in Comedy were games that we have played in class previously. “Yes &…” is a great game for the principle of agreement and there are an unlimited number of scenic possibilities in this way. This mentality completely holds true in real life. It makes a conversation so much more interesting when you bring in new bits of information, rather than giving one-word answers. No one likes talking to those people who give one-word answers. The Ad Game was also used in class before, and I think it really did a great job of getting everyone in our class on the same page to embrace each other’s ideas and suggestions. I have also seen Cheap Sox perform a “Conducted Story” in their shows and that is definitely much harder to do. The book pointed out that exercises like this one are much easier to do when you know the players very well. This exercise is all about listening and being “in the moment.” I think this relates well to life in that sometimes, you cannot foretell what is going to happen. All that you can do is listen and work with what you have. For certain situations, if you expect something, you might just end up disappointed and in a worse situation than you could have been. Likewise, in the “Conducted Story,” one has to start off with a blank slate in their mind and add all of the pieces that the other performers are narrating before contributing one’s own. I never realized how important a good initiation was to a scene. A good initiation provides the improvisers with information that forms the foundation of their scene, and with the ‘yes &…” mentality, everyone can build and elaborate on each other. I liked the…