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by Darren Held

I’m torn today… Do I write about why you absolutely, positively should NOT go for the joke in improv? Or do I write about trust? Argh. Some days I can’t think of one friggin’ topic, and today I have a whole list of subjects on my mind.

Okay. I flipped a coin, and trust won. You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to learn why if you go for the joke and/or act like a clown in an improv exercise or scene, you will not get a gold star (or any other color, for that matter).

I’m mentioned before that improv class is great for building trust, and I totally stand by that. At H2G classes, we holler “Yay!!” till the cows come home and clap till our hands ache, which makes for a safe, supportive environment in which to play. When you realize you can take creative risks and get support and encouragement even when you fail, you start to trust in yourself more – as well as in those around you who are clapping and laughing and not putting you down! I know, right? It’s awesome.

But there’s more to this whole idea of trust. You have to be trustworthy yourself. I know you’re thinking, “Well, jeez, Sonnjea, I’m trustworthy. I clap and holler “Yay!” with the best of ’em.” And I believe you. I really do.

What I’m referring to now is what you do in your scenes. Since we’ve established a safe place in which to play, your scene partners are going to trust you – unless you do something to make them think that trust is misplaced. This has nothing to do with being “perfect” at improv, because there is literally no such thing. It has to do with respecting your scene partners and the art of improv.

If you want your scene partners NOT to trust you, I can give you two sure-fire ways to accomplish that:

  1. Drive an agenda
  2. Go for the joke

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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