Improvisational comedy is a difficult art form, and there are many skills involved in attempting to master it. Here are seven important pieces of advice that I feel will take an improv comedy performer to the level necessary to be able to perform for an audience on a regular basis.
#7. Don’t try to be funny.
It’s weird that a comedian would not try to be funny, but it never works with improv. You can ruin the scene for your partners, and they may never want to work with you again. Let the comedy come naturally to the scene.
#6. Know your pop culture.
I’m not asking you to be ready for Jeopardy, but you have to be ready for any suggestions that people throw out, and most of the time, the suggestions have to do with what’s relevant in pop culture.
#5. Take notes.
Take notes on every performance you do. Make sure to list what you did wrong, as well as what you did right. Create goals for yourself and work on them, slowly, one by one.
#4. Practice, a lot.
I know it seems ironic that you have to practice an improvised art form, but improv is just that – an art form, and it takes a lot of skill honing to perfect it. Just like with everything, the more you do it, the better you will get. Improv is no exception.
#3. Confidence is key.
The audience doesn’t know if you’ve been doing improv for twenty years or if it’s your first twenty seconds onstage. If you go in with confidence, then your scene partners will feel more confident about you and put on a better show themselves.
#2. Have fun onstage.
If you’re having fun, chances are the audience will be having fun. This can be the difference from a good show and a memorable one.
#1. Do not fear failure.
When you embrace your failures, then every performance you do becomes a workshop for you. Take note of what you did right and wrong and learn from it!