Improv 101

As I mentioned last Friday, this week I have been taking an intensive improv course in New York City.

I took the course because I have an interest in comedy, I deeply respect the community involved in the theater offering the course, and (consequently) thought it would be a good way to follow Sheila Heti’s advice and find my people.

What I didn’t count on was that the course would be therapeutic. I lucked out and got a teacher who not only genuinely cared about the class and our progress and was passionate about the material and hilarious, but also who spewed deep pearls of wisdom, koans, and metaphors that applied not only to improv but also to life – without batting an eyelash. Here are a few of my favorite life lessons that I learned from the course:

  1. It’s easier if you’re decisive. Everyone appreciates a strong idea.”Opinions are comedy rocket fuel.”
  2. Emotions are the core. Problems aren’t interesting. Relationships are the most important.
  3. The truth gets you more mileage; a little bit of vulnerability goes a long way.
  4. You are interesting just being yourself. So, any pressure you put on yourself is energy not well spent.
  5. The best work happens when you lose yourself a little bit.
  6. Behind words, are people.
  7. Status is described in your body: To convey confidence, walk with your shoulders back.
  8. Politeness is fear.
  9. Don’t panic if you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can learn while doing. Slow down and take a deep breath.
  10. Trust your teammates and listen carefully to them. Trust yourself. Improv is 99% swagger.


Have a great weekend!

Categories: Identity

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