The Dos and Don'ts of Improv 10/17/2010
Before I begin please let me clarify that I am by no means an expert in the art of improv, however, I just need to point out a couple of things that rookies all too often fall ill to upon their first improv classes.
First of all, ladies please please please do not wear your cute short skirt or shirt to class. This is not the time to be showing off your mammaries or the opening of your sweet Caroline. Believe it or not I've been subjected to way too much flesh in those areas, some of which weren't properly covered. You're really not adding to the scene by showing us all your lady junk as you roll around on the floor. And if by chance you happen to be in a predicament where you may have to get down and dirty in your loosey goosey wear make sure your below the belt bits are projected towards the back wall and not the audience.
The next tip is for the dudes. Listen guys we get it. You love your dicks and your friends think you're the funniest person in the world so let's avoid the obvious and leave the dick jokes at home for the first couple of classes....mkay? Don't get me wrong, in the world of comedy people can generally always appreciate a solid fart, excrement, and genital reference. But in a class where you don't really know anyone play it cool and leave your perversion at the door. Try joking about everyday stuff because everyday stuff is probably way funnier. Sorry to kill your boner.
And lastly, this is applicable to everyone. Just be cool. I know it's super exciting and scary to be in a room full of strangers so you're inclined to try and be the most likable, funny person in the room. The only problem is that everyone else is in the same boat. And when everyone's grasping for laughs in a room of vulnerability it becomes a cluster fuck of desperate bravado. Sincerely don't try to be funny. Don't try to think up the most bizarre situation imaginable. Just go with the exercise presented. You'll get more out of it than trying to exhaust yourself with crazy silly ideas.
Oh wait, actually there's one more and this is applicable to everyone. Remember that in improv it's not necessarily literal so don't actually take off your clothes. Pretend to do so. And if you've just met someone for the first time maybe you shouldn't make reference to them in some sort of coital position. Be respectful of everyone's comfort levels. Chances are pretty good you wouldn't do that to a stranger on the street and you wouldn't appreciate them doing that to you either.
Hopefully these tips help. More than anything it's given me an opportunity to vent. Happy improvising!