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by Darren Held

by Sonnjea Blackwell

With the first 2014 session of improv classes set to kick off next week, I realized some of you may not know what to expect in a beginning improv class. So let me enlighten you!

Unlike certain other improv schools in the greater Los Angeles area who shall remain nameless, Held2gether is not designed specifically FOR people who are or want to be in the entertainment industry. We welcome those people, of course (Welcome, entertainment person!) but we have structured our classes to be accessible to anyone. ANYONE can do improv. It’s not a special power handed down to only the elite few, you know. If that were the case, I sure as heck wouldn’t be here, what with my stunning lack of eliteness and all.

Anyway, shows like Whose Line have made brought much more awareness to improv comedy, which is both good and bad. It’s good because people know what it is and see how fun and exciting it can be. It’s bad because people watch the show and think, “Wow! It’s magic! I could never do that!”

Improv is magical, in the sense that just by playing games that seem to have no purpose whatsoever, you get braver and more outgoing and more willing to share your ideas and more accepting of others… That’s effing magical, for sure. However, what you see on Whose Line is the magic of television. There are edits and cuts and bloopers and outtakes, and I’ve seen video of them trying about eleventy billion times to get through ONE version of Irish Drinking Song.

So the final 2-minute bit that we see on TV might’ve taken 2 hours to get. People think they have to be able to do that perfect bit in improv class, when the truth is even the masters of improv didn’t do that perfect bit! It’s trickery and subterfuge.

Hmmm… it looks like I went off on a tangent. That’s odd, that almost never happens.

Anyway, my point was this: In H2G’s beginning improv classes, we do games and exercises that will be fun and challenging (hopefully in that order). Everyone is super nice and friendly, and the class is always uplifting and supportive; no matter how scared you are, you will be FINE in our classes because our #1 goal is to support you in YOUR goals. Ultimately, the games and exercises will help you build the foundation of good improvisation. What you do with that is totally up to you – you can use it to get along better with your boss, or to be less shy, or to ask out the person you’ve been too afraid to ask out, or to do better in auditions – I don’t judge. No, really. No matter what Stacie told you, I really don’t care what you use your improv skills for. I just want you to HAVE them.

Classes start next week.

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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