Improv for Stand-Up Comedy


Quotes about improv.

"Every interpersonal situation has a solution in which everyone wins."
---Del Close, ImprovOlympic Director and improv guru.

Del Close was an actor, improviser, writer, and teacher. Considered one of the premier influences on modern improvisational theater. Close had a prolific career, appearing in a number of films and television shows.

He was a co-author of the book Truth in Comedy, which outlines techniques now common to longform improvisational theater and describes the overall structure of “Harold” which remains a common frame for longer improvisational scenes.

His notable students include John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Mike Meyers, and many other current and former cast members of Saturday Night Live.

More quotes about improv...

"Theater Games are a process applicable to any field, discipline, or subject matter which creates a place where full participation, communication, transformation can take place."
--- Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater

"Improv cures what ails Americans."
-- Liz Allen, improv olympic

"Many people have the idea that to improvise you have to get up on a stage and 'make it up.' While it's true that that's the bulk of it, it could also be said that the bulk of driving is pointing the car, so let's allow five-year-olds to do it. Bad idea. To master the art of improv can take many years, and a great understanding, not just of improv's tenets, but those of many different disciplines. Because there are fewer parameters than any other performing art, one must be prepared for anything that comes your way. That includes forays into the worlds of writing, directing, design, dance, music, singing, mime, stage combat, and especially acting. Once you've got all of these down, then you can say that improv is easy."
--- Jeff Catanese, Improv Review

"Faith handles the ultimate incongruities of life, humor handles the more immediate ones."
--- William Sloan Coffin, Jr

"We discovered that not only does improvisation provide a way to understand what it takes to be spontaneous and innovative, but exercises used by actors to develop their skill can be adopted by business as a means to experience and enhance individual and organizational capacity to be innovative and responsive."
---Mary Crosson, from an article Improvise to Innovate at ImprovInBiz.

"The focus of Improv leads to conversers being present, meaning they exist in the here and now. The acceptance in Improv leads to the speaker's connection, meaning each becomes part of a co-creation team. The distance between the communicators is thereby no longer a gap to be closed. It becomes a connector, filling the space between bodies like a see-saw connects the two riders on either end. Each is dependent on the other for flow and movement. This synchronicity of focus and acceptance is what results in full body listening."
---Izzy Gesell, Wide Angle Humor

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

"For the skilled improviser, however, time slows down (rather like in The Matrix). They see a palette of possibilities in front of them and make instant connections, using what they have."
---Julie Sheldon Huffaker, Brad Robertson, Gary Hirsch and Rob Poynton in the article "Improv Culture: Using Practices from Improv Theater to Help Organizations Evolve Successfully Over Time", OD Practitioner, Vol. 35, No. 3.

"When used appropriately, games can raise personal awareness and neutralize the fear, anger, and other negative emotions associated with change. Interactive exercises give participants a chance to think about the process of change, understand what's happening in a larger context, and compare their thoughts and feelings about change with others' reactions. By including games in your training, you can create a "practice area" in which employees, managers, and organizational leaders can reflect on and deal with their feelings."
---Suzanne Adele Schmidt Ph.D.and Joanne G. Sujansky Ph.D., CSP, "Taking The Fear Out of Organizational Change"

"Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater... If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses tolearn, and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach him everything it has to teach. ... 'Talent' or 'lack of talent' have very little to do with it."
---Viola Spolin, "Improvisation for the Theater"

"Spontaneity. Creativity. Increased intelligence. Emotional connections. Being in the moment. They are all present when improvising. It is impossible for all these things not to be there when improvising."
---Joey Novick, comedian and improv teacher.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artists once we grow up."
---Pablo Picasso