That's a great question. Thanks for asking.
'Improv' is short for 'improvisation' which means things that are made up on the spot.
You improvise everyday in your life. You make up your dialogue with people at home, work, etc. So do we. We just get paid for it.
So 'comedy improv' is when a cast or team of actors/comedians work together to create spontaneous scenes, songs, monologues, interviews, news reports, or anything really. The best part is that its so fun to watch when it's done well.
A short-form improv show is made up of several such improv scenes or games.
1) A cast member will ask the audience for a suggestion with a question like "What is your favorite color?" or "What subject did you most hate in school?"
2) Whomever from the audience feels inspired will 'call out' their suggestion from the comfort of their seat. In the event of multiple suggestion (which often happens) the cast member will usually choose the one he/she heard first.
3) The cast member will then explain any special rules or restrictions that apply to the upcoming scene or game.
4) The cast (or small group of the cast) will then have 1-6 minutes or so (depending on the format of the scene or game) to playou that scene with comedic and often genius-ial results.
5) The audience enjoys, laughs, etc.
6) The scene or game ends in triumph and the process repeats with yet more comedic results.
No, although many shows do have some stand-up comedy elements in them. Also, many of our cast members are stand-up comics.
The biggest difference between an imrpov show and stand-up comedy is that in improv you get an entire team/cast of improvisors working to make you laugh as opposed to one lone comic.
The up side is that improv, in my opinion, has a much broader appeal because of the multiple actor's senses of humor ganging up on you. The downside is that the credit for a great show has to be spread across the entire cast instead of into the hands of one greedy little comic. This is California. Credit goes a long way. But we'll gladly take that bullet for you.
We ask our audience for a 'suggestion' and then make up a scene based on that suggestion.
That's a stupid question. There are no stupid suggestions.
Great question. The answer is yes. Yes, we really make it up on the spot based on your suggestions. We do it for the rush, the exhilaration, the risk. And yes, we are cheating in the sense that we draw upon our own life experiences and characters and weave them into the show; but it's still all made up.
Another great thing about improv is that there are no lines to memorize. In fact, if I had to remember lines or scripts for these shows...it just wouldn't be worth it. There is a great rush of walking into a theater knowing that you'll be onstage in front of 100 people, not knowing what you're going to do, but knowing somehow that it will all work out.
Bottom line: it woudn't be fun for us if we weren't making it up. Where's the challenge in that?
Bring yourself and anyone who you think might enjoy a great night of entertainment. That's it!
Also bring your tickets or money to purchase tickets at the door.
This should go without saying, but you should bring clothing on your body. I guess you may want to bring a vehicle in which to arrive. Any medications you may need, perhaps. We don't want to get sued. A zest for life.
Come ready to laugh and enjoy yourself.
Not everyone hates you. We don't. In fact, we love you.
In many ways, yes. Today's global popularity of improv came about in part because of the popularity of that show. We have a group of funny actors making up scenes based on suggestions from the audience in much the same way. However, we don't force you to listen to Drew Carey.
It should also be noted that we are not a copy-cat group in any way. Many of us were doing improv shows long before the original British version ever aired in the United States in the early 90's. While many of us enjoy that show, we enjoy creating our own shows.
The biggest difference is that our show is a full-on, live experience. Even the cast members of "Whose Line" will tell you that improv shows are much, much, MUCH better when they're LIVE!
Yes we keep our shows appropriate for all ages.
We learned a long time ago that it was easy to get shock-value laughs with a naughty word or a too-sassy-situation.
We strive for a higher level of creativity, humor, and exprience by not resorting to shock-level-tactics that would make you feel uncomfortable if you were on a date or if your mom present. Hopefully, however, you woudn't be in a position that combined those two people. If you ever are in that position, go home after the show and take a hard look at your life, and you might find out why dating never quite goes your way.
In fifteen years of doing clean improv shows, I have never once had the complaint that there was no swearing, or that there needed to be dirty subject matter in there.
Yes. By all means. Come and change your life! Come and laugh!
No. Our actors are very needy; it's an actor/comedian thing.
They have a deep urge to jockey for your attention and approval, which gives them their super-powers, including the power to charm you, entertain you, and make you shell out money to see them do it.
The win for you in the audience is that you get to profit from this by simply being entertained in proportion to their skill and need.
I don't know. That's pretty screwed up.
Yes, you can.
Few people are 'naturals' at improv. It can be a complicated business -telling a story, acting out a scene, making up dialogue, making your scene partner look good, being funny- all at the same time.
We practice much like you would for a sporting event. We work drills to practice basic improv skills like listening to each other, moving scenes forward, justifying, labeling things, etc.
Then at the show, we let it all fly. Yes, fly.
Not really. If you come looking for it, you just may get it, but we try to take very good care of our audiences and that means respect and keeping you entertained.
Every now and then we ask for an audience volunteer. Now the key word here is volunteer. Some people are crazy and want to get onstage and now and again we provide that opportunity, but we don't force anyone onstage against their will. (Except for our cast; they don't get paid enough, but they signed the papers without reading the fine print, so now you know.)
Good point. You are coming to laugh with us, not at us.
Man, you just want to break-up the party, don't you? Ok. If you don't laugh while at the show, you need some serious help. In fact, you may be dead.
Yes. Heavens yes. We only do it because we love it. It doesn't pay as well as a national commercial, or a film or television show, but it's so fun. Cast members will often try to make each other laugh.
Hey, thanks for asking. His face. His butt. Let's leave it at that.
As a group in Santa Clarita, as of 2006. But many of us have been perfoming in Los Angeles together for years, and still others of us in performed together in Utah. And trust me, Utah is funny.
'There' denotes a place whereas 'their' connotates possession.