By Darren Held

How Improv Stars Live

Sometimes even semi-famous-in-a-really-small-neighborhood-of-Long-Beach people have to do everyday household chores. No, really. We at H2G don’t all have a staff to take care of things like vacuuming our floors, making our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or taking out our trash. Sorry to burst your bubbles, but we live just like regular people in spite of our meteoric rise to slightly increased recognizability among those we’ve already met a dozen or more times.

Which is just my way of complaining that today I have to clean my house. Do laundry. Vacuum. Even scrub the shower. It seems like quite a dull way to spend the day, in my oh so humble opinion. And whenever I have to spend a day in a manner I deem inappropriate, I reward myself. Oh, what? Don’t even pretend that you don’t bribe yourself with Girl Scout Cookies or a mani/pedi or a little gin and tonic.

My reward? Four straight days of Held2gether improv: Drop-in class for anyone who has completed Level 1 tomorrow night, Long Form class beginning on Wednesday night, rehearsal Thursday night and Lucky! Friday night.

Heck, for all that, I might even be willing to dust.

By Darren Held

One thing that drives me batty is a messy desk. Notice I didn’t say “If there’s one thing that drives me batty, it’s a messy desk.” That’s because everyone knows there are LOTS of things that drive me batty, and a messy desk is simply one of them. I won’t bore you with the entire list of batty

By Darren Held


We’re getting ready to rehearse for tomorrow night’s improv comedy show at Hot Java. Rehearsing for an improv show is different from rehearsing for other kinds of shows. There are no lines to memorize, for one thing. We don’t know what you, the audience members, are going to suggest for any given game, so we can’t rehearse for that. We never know what our scene partners are going to say or do, so we can’t rehearse for that, either. We don’t know what order the scenes will be in, so we can’t even rehearse for that.

So basically, if you wanna know the truth, “rehearsing” for an improv show means that the troupe gets together, plays some improv games and drinks some vodka. Which is pretty much what the troupe does on any given Friday night anyway. But it sounds so much better when you tell people you’re “rehearsing.” And if we’re rehearsing, no one helpfully suggests that perhaps we might need a meeting…

Remember, Hot Java fills up quickly, so get there early!

By Darren Held

Want Girl Scout Cookies? Try Improv!

Have you ever noticed that when you are in desperate need of inspiration, if you just sit still for a moment and be calm and patient and listen to the universe, you’ll get what you need?

For example, I was just sitting here, unable to come up with anything to say. I had nothing. Nothing funny, nothing helpful, nothing about improv or life or chickens. And so I sat patiently and waited for a sign.

After about 15 seconds, there was a knock at my front door. I swear, I’m not making this up. I was hoping for opportunity, but it was even better: Girl Scouts! There’s something so fantastic about ordering Girl Scout cookies from the Brownie down the street sometime in late January and not knowing when they’ll arrive… and then, just when you need them most, there they are! It’s so much more exciting than the instant gratification of going to Von’s, purchasing Oreos and snarfing them down in the car on the way home.

And after my Thin Mint high had a chance to kick in, I realized that I learned to be patient in improv class. Sometimes a scene is going nowhere, and you’re just standing there, unable to come up with anything to say. The natural instinct is to panic and babble on and throw out meaningless information and flap about randomly. But if you stay calm and patient instead, there will be a knock at the door and you’ll see that just when you need it the most, your idea appears.

Of course, learning to stay calm and patient and in the moment takes training and practice. But we teach it to people all the time! So sign up for a Held2gether improv comedy class. If it can attract Girl Scout cookies, just think of all the other awesome things improv can bring into your life!

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