Improv Blues Song by Eight is NEVER Enough - “BAD Musicals”
Check out the “Bad Musical Blues” by Eight is NEVER Enough” performed Live in Times Square at TSAC. More at http://www.eightimprov.biz
Improv 4 Kids
Another cool post on Improv 4 Kids on macaronikid.com
Breaking in Comedy
Breaking.. (snicker. laugh. giggle).. is it OK to break? Well, your really not supposed to laugh at your own jokes. The problem is it’s usually something someone else does that makes me break. It usually happens when either a strange situation occurs in our surroundings or when somebody does something so bazaar that I lose it. It happens. Tonight when we were about to start singing for the MADRIGALS improv I lose it because another players said “focus” in a high pitched voice that just made me laugh. I was unable to sing my lines because of this happening right before we were starting the song. It was random and hilarious. There was also another time that comes to mind recently when we were doing an improv gig for a bar mitzvah. It also happened during Madrigals. We were in this Chinese buffet in a private party room where the event was taking place. Unfortunately there were many party rooms and each room was seperated by barriers that didn’t reach the ceiling. In other words, there was no sound barrier between us and the karaoke party going on in the room next to us. When we started singing we heard horrible teenage kid voices singing the lines to “Party in the USA” coming from the other room. This made me break but we were able to get through the song by singing LOUDER and match the melody to the lovely Miley Cyrus song. There was also another time that we were doing an improv gig at a retirement home. We were about to start the first scene when a lady asked me to pass her a butter knife. We were doing the show in the middle of their dining area and I happened to be standing next to a table with a butter knife. So this lady asked me to pass it to her and of course I did. It was such a bazaar situation that I lost it when I tried to talk. I guess the reason I break is usually because I am laughing at something that I’m not supposed to be laughing it. It’s tricky because once you lose it then it’s hard to get the focus back. There were many other occasions similar to these. I guess everyone is allowed a break every now and then.
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:
Raunchy VS Clean Comedy
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had grown adults come into our showroom and look around the room and see some kids and say “is this a kids show?”
The answer is no..BUT we HAVE a show just for kids that we do as well (Improv 4 Kids! http://www.improv4kids.com.) This means we have a lot of young fans. I love that. When we are old and gone these guys will be running the world and setting trends… But what about LMAO? Yes, it is a good show to bring kids to (Laughing My ANKLES off) So is Iron Man 2 and Lion King on Broadway. If you went to see either of these and walked in and saw children would you want to leave the theatre? Probably not. So this always puzzles me. I think some of it has to do with the fact that people think comedy = raunch. Never mind that some of the best shows and movies out there have been rated PG. There have been so many Primetime sitcoms going back 50 years that are absolutely hilarious. I guess it all comes down to people thinking that being censored is going to hinder the humor. With our show it is actually the opposite. It forces us to raise the bar and it makes it a lot more interesting and funny for everyone. We used to do late night shows that were specifically designed for the raunchy and well.. they were so gross. They started off low and then kept getting lower and lower and lower until there was nowhere to go. I think eventually the thrill was gone and there was no more challenge. I won’t go into the details of the subject matter discussed on stage but it went beyond being wrong on so many levels. I just like being able to appeal to all audiences. It’s fun. At the end of the day I would rather be part of something that raises the bar rather that lowers it. As for my watching preferences.. I like both. I will watch both as long as it’s funny.
Eight is NEVER Enough http://www.eightimprov.biz
Improv 4 Kids http://www.improv4kids.com
What’s The Meaning of IMPROV Anyway?
What’s the difference? I’ve recently discovered that the general public doesn’t really know the difference between short form and long form. I just want to say that it’s almost like comparing apples and oranges. There has also been some confusion between “improv comedy” and “stand up” comedy. I’ve noticed while promoting our shows that sometimes people are thinking of stand up when we mention the word “improv”.
The word “improv” can already be confusing enough. Some people think of the chain of the IMPROV comedy clubs which have locations at major cities all over the US. These clubs usually do not feature “improv comedy”. They usually have headliners that perform “Stand Up”Comedy. Of course occasionally they will bring in other famous acts too but mainly they are a stand up club. Again apples and oranges.
I will talk more about WHAT WE DO…What is “SHORT FORM” IMPROV? Short FORM Improv is what people are familiar with if they have seen “Whose Line is it Anyway” on ABC. Eight is NEVER Enough is one of the few “short form” troupes still performing regularly on the current the New York Scene. The majority of troupes in the city are based in long form improvisation. Short Form IMPROV is a series of different scenes, skits, songs, dances, jokes that each have some type of unique”game” or “gimmick”. Just about every 2-5 minutes the audience members are prompted by the MC to either give a suggestion or come on stage for the game. Then the players take that suggestion to establish the characters, situations, activity, conflict and locations within the first 60 seconds and hopefully from there the hilarity will ensue.. once it is time for the skit to end, someone in the cast yells the word “TAXI” and the audience yells “YO” …and then it’s time for something NEW. Then at that point the audience is prompted again for another skit or song.. I personally like this art form because it is short, sweet, funny and to the point. The advantage to this is great because if something isn’t working on stage for one reason or the other then it is over and off to something brand NEW and completely different.. Timing and pacing are very important and in our shows we often alternate different players each time and mix it up between either songs or skits. …
More examples of some of our favorite “short form IMPROV” games can be found on our YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/eightimprovOR just come and see us LIVE now Off-Broadway in LMAOhttp://www.lmao-nyc.com
PS - When is SPELL CHECK going to realize that IMPROV is a real word? It’s not IMPROVE!