Some quick thoughts on improv

My colleague Jon Jon Lannen is writing a blog post for the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse--a Valentine's Day love-letter to improv. And he asked the rest of us teachers there for some quick thoughts on why we love it.

I sent him the first paragraph below, but then, for myself, kept writing for a bit, because I felt I wasn't done. So here's today's whole blurb. Not a full essay, exactly, but a succinct summary of my thoughts on the art form right now:


What I love most about improv is that it is a LIVE EVENT. It was not taped yesterday, or ten years ago. It was not written in the past for some other audience. It happens in the here-and-now, involving ALL of the people in this very room, and it will never happen again. It has the immediacy and the high stakes of sports. It is the essence of theatre, and it does what no other art or medium can do: Be. Here. Now.

That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes it funny. The fun and the funny are all most people see, and all they really need to see; the fun and the funny are why they come. And that’s great. But it is the live event, the anything-can-happen nature of improv, that lets witty, articulate, but most of all HUMAN people get together to really PLAY.

It releases our humanity.

The humanity is why we laugh.