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By Darren Held

I’m in a ranting kind of mood today, which is okay, except that some of my ranting topics

By Sonnjea Blackwell

By Darren Held

Improv Comedy in 3 Easy Sentences

I would love to be able to shower you with a healthy dose of improv-y wisdom today, but the truth is, I’m not wise. At all.

What I’ve learned about improv comedy can fit into about three sentences. (Okay, 3 basic sentences with a couple of extra sentences for justification. What? I’ve told you before, I’m the Queen of Justification.)

  1. Be honest. The truth is not only stranger than fiction, it’s way the hell funnier, too. Just play the reality of the made-up situation you’re given, and the funny will happen.
  2. Don’t tell jokes. For the love of unicorns, people, one-liners do not belong in improv. If you simply can’t help yourself, do stand-up. That’s what one-liners and jokey punchlines are designed for. Every time you go for the joke, you stop the momentum of the scene and pull the audience out of the action.
  3. Choose to lose. There’s just something inherently funny about a loser who accepts the loser label and runs with it. Not only that, but an on-going battle/argument/contest of any kind is b-o-r-i-n-g, and to end it someone has to lose. In real life, the loser is the loser. In improv, the loser is the BIG winner. Being labeled any kind of loser is the best gift you can get. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth by denying it and insisting you aren’t, in fact, a loser.

I was thinking about writing a book about improv, but now I realize it would be a short book. Three sentences, and you’re an improv expert.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

By Darren Held

Don’t Bring Your Shrink On Your Dates

There is a time and a place for analysis and, as it turns out, the time and place for analysis is NOT the same as the time and place for the thing being analyzed.

No, wait. It’s not that heady, I promise. Lisa hates it when I get too heady.

Let’s just say you are having difficulty in a relationship. Let’s also suppose you have a therapist because it is, after all, 2011. Now, the appropriate time and place for analyzing your relationship issues would be when you visit your shrink at your regular appointment. You wouldn’t bring your therapist along with you on your date to analyze your situation as it unfolded.

That might seem like common sense, but it isn’t as obvious with certain other activities. And it is actually good advice for those of you who tend to analyze your improv while you are doing it.

The fact that you are analyzing the thing you are doing automatically alters the thing you are doing. So you can’t be fully engaged in your scene if you are busy critiquing the scene as it happens.

If you are like me and love the intricacies and technical brilliance of good improv, it’s hard to stop analyzing and just do it. At our show the other night, I got all wound up in the mistakes that were happening in scenes (mine and others’) and the more analytical I got, the worse my own scenes became. Of course, by then it was too late to do anything about it because I was caught in the vicious circle of judgement.

So the moral of this story is simply: Don’t bring your shrink on your date. If you are doing something, listen to Nike and just friggin’ do it. There will always be plenty of time after doing it to pick it apart and analyze it from 40 different angles. And if you separate the doing and the analyzing, both of those activities will be far more satisfying.

At least I think so. I wasn’t analyzing this blog as I wrote it, so it might be total crap.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

By Darren Held

The Real Truth

The problem with having to get up at 4 a.m. on a Monday is that I tend to be a) cranky, b) literal and c) see “a”. So I have already deleted two entire posts and am wracking my brain in search of a topic that is worthy of the time you lovely readers invest in reading this blog.

What would you like to read about? Unicorns? Rainbows? Fantasy football? Improv?

I was afraid of that. I’d love to help you out, peeps, but I have nothing to say about fantasy football.

So I suppose I should stick to a topic I know a little something about.

First of all, contrary to what they told you in school, rainbows are not formed when the sun’s rays are refracted and reflected by drops of mist or rain. Nor are they formed when god has a message for humankind; that’s just silly. Everyone knows god texts.

Rainbows are created when unicorns spin lovely ribbons of various colors and then weave them into a magical fabric made of colored ribbon mist, which is pulled up into the atmosphere by the sun’s affinity for colored mist. The sun adds its golden energy to the rainbow and then lets it curve back down to earth, where it lands and spontaneously creates a pot of gold. (As everyone knows, gold coins are the physical manifestation of the sun’s golden energy).

Leprechauns have peacefully co-existed with unicorns for eons, and they protect the pots of gold from thieving bandits (often referred to as “teenagers”). They also make sure the unicorns have plenty of sparkles and fairy dust for their manes and horns and, in exchange, the unicorns let the leprechauns have some of the gold.

And there you have it, people, everything Sonnjea knows about improv.

You’re welcome.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

By Darren Held

Last Laugh Saturday in Long Beach

Because I woke up with a kink in my back and can’t turn my head, I’m not going to write a long blog post – I’m just going to wish you all a very happy weekend, good football choices and a laugh-out-loud good time at Held2gether presents Last Laugh Saturday tomorrow night. Hopefully I’ll be able to move my head by then. Otherwise, I’ll be doing a lot of mortician and Frankenstein-type characters. So, pretty much the usual, then.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

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