Improv comedy is a type of live performance that relies on improvisation to create comedic scenes and sketches. It is often associated with comedy clubs and theaters. More recently it’s also seen in other venues such as schools, corporate events, and festivals.
In an improv show, the performers typically start with a basic premise or idea. Then they build upon it, making up the dialogue and actions on the spot. There are often no rehearsals or scripted elements. The performers must rely on their creativity, wit, and ability to think on their feet to create a successful performance.
Improv comedy can take many forms, ranging from short-form games and sketches to long-form improvised plays. It can be funny, absurd, or even poignant, depending on the performers and the direction of the scene.
Improv Comedy Tenets
There are many different techniques and approaches to improv comedy. Performers may use a variety of games and exercises to warm up and get into character. Some common techniques include:
- Yes, And: This is a basic rule of improv. Performers accept offers from their scene partners and build upon it. For example, if one performer says “I’m a chicken,” the other performer should not negate this statement, but rather build upon it by saying something like “Yes, and I’m a farmer trying to catch you for dinner.”
- Characterization: In improv, performers create and portray characters on the spot. This can involve developing a physicality, voice, and personality for the character.
- Object work: This involves using objects in the scene to create comedic moments or to help establish the setting or characters.
- Scene work: This refers to the process of creating a scene and establishing a relationship between the characters. Scene work may involve building upon a premise, establishing a conflict or goal, and resolving the scene in a satisfying way.
But overall, the goal of improv comedy is to entertain and engage the audience through spontaneous and unplanned moments. It can be a challenging and rewarding form of performance that requires quick thinking, creativity, and teamwork.
Sound fun? Then learn improv with us at our weekly drop in classes.