My Favorite Improv Game List
There are literally 100’s of improv games and these are some of the most popular that we present in our shows. This page describes how to play each game and offer free examples and clips to download.
Audience Sound Effects
Two audience volunteers are invited on stage to provide the sound effects for two actors up on stage. They can lead the actors into a sound effect or the actors can prompt the sound effect by an action or activity. Watch a WMV clip!
The performers improvise a story in the style of various authors suggested by the audience. The MC/ hosts asks the audience for the authors and conducts the story by pointing to the actors to tell story in said style throughout various points of the story.
Watch a WMV Clip of the “Authors” Improv on stage!
Beat Box Improv
This requires a good sense of rhythm among the players. Four players enter the stage as the MC gets a suggestion for a favorite sport, food, animal or movie, etc. The first player lays down a very basic beat. Then each player adds on his or her own layer/beat. Once all four player have reached a steady rhythm as a group the first player steps downstage and raps four lines about the suggsted subject in the format of AA/BB. Once those for lines are finished the player steps back and the next player does the same. When all four players have gone the first player throws out one line for the second player to rhyme. Then the third player throws out a line for the last player to rhyme with. The song finishes by everybody repeating the final line by the last player. Confused yet? Watch WMV Beat Box
This improv is great for getting audience members on stage. Two actors perform a scene and two audience volunteers are seated on each side of the stage. From time to time the actors will point to the audience members to “fill in the blanks” of either a sentence or word. Watch a clip
Day in the Life (Modern Dance)
An audience member is interviewed for details from a specific personal life experience or event. Players act out the event by recreating mini scenes to a modern dance or ballet. This can also be done as a musical. Watch a clip of Day in the LIfe Improv
Film and Theatre Styles
The MC asks the audience for a variety of theatre and film styles (horror, suspense, action, romantic comedy, etc) Two players start off the scene in no particular style. From time to time the MC will say “freeze” and give the actors one of the suggested styles. The two actors continue the same scene in the style call out by the MC. Watch clip from LMAO Off Broadway http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfX0nD9ubGE. (more at www.lmao-nyc.com)
Two players sing in a made up language (gibberish style) and two others interpret what they are singing after each line. Can be done acapella, with piano or guitar. Watch video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpn68fdTK5c
Foreign Language/Foreign Film
Same as foreign Opera but without the music. (see clip of For Opera)
Freeze Frame or Human Slideshow
Audience volunteers are asked to come on stage and pose with the actors in a series of pictures/slides. 1-2 players narrate the slides as a vacation, historical event, area of expertise, etc.Watch a clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtC0C4pcahQ
Four players one by one join in on a car ride started by one player as the driver. The players take on various emotions given from the audience. As the driver picks up each hitcher, the entire car takes on that emotion.
Irish Drinking Song AKA Irish Jig
The players sing a song about a topic in the style of an irish drinking song or “irish jig” Watch clip
A capella choral song weaving a series of audience suggestions. Each player is given an initial statement (usually a newspaper headline). After each player adds their suggestions, a musical treatment and builds into a fugue-like choral work, the players mix and match the lines and various elements to create new absurd headlines/statements. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKQjXZ__3Ew
One to Five
Players act out a 1 minute scene timed by the MC. The same scene repeats at 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds while maintaining the basic structure of the original.Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJNF-jUxao
PBS Interview/Miracle Ear
Player one interviews player two, the author of a new book title suggested by the audience. Third player fills in for the missing sign language interpreter by acting out everything in the interview. Watch clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGG31jXTMag
This is a musical guessing game. All set to music, the “promdate” has to guess three things about his/herself given by the audience: a job/occupation, quirk/tick and mode of transportation to the prom. The other two players (the parent and date) help drop clues to the “promdate” until they guess each of the given things through the magic of song.
3 Player are each given a quirk by the audience and must sing about their problems to the therapist. The therapist sings back to them a solution or advice on the problem. Watch a clip of Singing Shrink Improv
Sing It/Speak it
Players act out a scene about a suggested topic. When the MC prompts them to “Sing it!” they must sing a song beginning with the last line of dialogue until the MC says “Speak it”.
Two Headed Man
Two performers must speak in unison as one person. Usually the MC asks the audience for a job that the two headed man is coming to interview for. Then the interviewer asks the two headed man various questions that the two performers must answer together as one. Watch Clip
We have more educational materials and study guids available at the Improv 4 Kids Website: