The Improver’s Guide on How to Prep for Improv (In Time for Our Show)

Tonight is our first show since we started this blog (read about the event here) so I figured it would be a good time to let you in on a few of the secrets of a master improver.  Unfortunately I‘m no master, so I actually have no tips.  The High Council has yet to let me read the Master Improv Manuscripts of lore, but alas I can give you some insight from the perspective of a pretty-good-with-a-moderate-amount-of-experience improver.  

Now the first thing you should know is that the show is going to go however it does.  It’s improv, so by definition we don’t know what the hell is going to happen.  Really, we have no idea.  If you see any improv where you think that the scene was just too good to not have been scripted or planned then you should simply rejoice, because you probably just saw some solid improv.  Or maybe a bunch of well trained and rehearsed frauds, but I’m an optimist so we’ll go with the you just saw good improv theory.  Since you can’t (and shouldn’t) do much to control the show then the most important part is prep for the show, and if you’re one of those thinking people you probably realize that I’m about to give you some well thought out tips on prepping for improv. “Prep? But this is improv! Didn’t you just say you don’t know what’s going to happen? How can you prep? You’re a liar, and I hate you now,” you might be saying, to which I respond “chill out, you’re being that guy again reader.”  A better response would be that unless you have some fantastic powers that I’m extremely jealous of you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but you still prepare for things, don’t you? Dick. Now that we got that guy to shut up we can get back to the list.

  1.  Clear Your Mind: On the day of a show you should do your best to have a clear mind, that way thoughts can freely flow in and out of your brain.  I find the best way to do this is to do and think as little as you can beforehand because your brain will probably be on overdrive come five minutes before a show.  If you want to watch movies the whole day then go for it, just don’t watch Inception or anything like it unless you’re committed to not thinking too hard about how many fucking dreams there were.  TV is fine, internet porn is mind-numbing enough and you can even play some video games, just take it easy, you really don’t want to tire yourself out.  If you can manage it then you should avoid any and all work, as well as physically taxing and emotionally stressful situations.  For the love of god don’t break up with or gain a significant other on the day you have a show.  You’re either going to be too giddy-‘tarded or emotionally bankrupt to be able to ‘prov effectively.
  2. Eat Pizza: I’m actually not sure if this one has any true benefit.  It might just be a habit at this point. Pizza’s good though, so eat it.
  3. Have Sex: I know I said to not gain or lose a significant other on show day but if you have one (or anyone willing) then you should probably try to get some out of them.  Don’t try too hard, we don’t really want any rape-provers in the club, but it would behoove you to bang if you can.  Why? (you’re asking dumb questions again) It can’t hurt to release a little tension before the big night.  It could also help with that whole mind clearing thing. Why not?  If you’re  reading these tips with the hopes of actually using them for improv then there’s a good chance you don’t have anyone to have sex with.  Masturbation does the trick in a pinch, so go for that if you can’t find anyone who will let you inside them that quickly before the show.  I know it’s hard, you’re just going to have to deal.  You can go with the  “this will probably catapult me into stardom” routine to try to convince the unsuspecting hopeful sex partner but it probably won’t work so get jerkin’ (or DJing if that tickles your fancy).
  4. Make Sure You Have the Shit You Need: Need a jump-rope? Make sure you have a jump-rope.  Hair brush? Make sure that thing is in your man purse.  I’m not going to go with my whole “three examples” thing because you should understand what I’m getting at.  If you needed one more to see the picture then I’m surprised you got this far.  Anyway the point is that if you know you need stuff then make sure you have it.  You will probably need to wear pants during your performance, so make sure you have them.  Know the logistics of your show.  Where it is, your time slot, whether or not you’ll have a stage, and who will be playing with you. Towels and water bottles never hurt.  Shit, this is actually starting to sound like one of those advice pieces that lists shit you should just always do again. Clear your mind? Have sex? Make sure you have what you need? Damn it, I was really trying to avoid the over-generalized/easily-applicable advice with this one.  I’ll try to make the last part more improv specific.  Sorry all.
  5. Have Fun: I’m not that creative, so unfortunately you’re saddled with more generic advice.  But this one is important, so listen up.  Have a good time, after all there’s no point to do anything, I mean improv, if you don’t enjoy it.  Maybe the show will be an awesome one and maybe you’ll suck, but try not to stress too much and just enjoy the hell out of whatever you end up doing.  It’s improv, it’s supposed to be a fun thing so chill out and smell whatever the smell of your venue is.

You might not have found this all that helpful since I didn’t really give you any tips on how to be good at improv or even minutely improve your ‘prov skills.  That’s okay, I didn’t want to share too much anyway.  I can’t give away all of my secrets; this is pretty competitive crap.  The truth is if you’re not that good there probably isn’t much I can do to help you.  That lies with you, or some other line that inspires you to realize that you have to go better yourself.  If you have any tips of your own you can post them here and I’ll read them if they’re solid suggestions.  You can also wish us luck, or many broken legs, whichever you fancy.



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