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by Darren Held

You can’t make people be nice.

Turns out, even I don’t have that kind of power. No matter how much you want to like someone or give them the benefit of the doubt or be nice to them, you simply cannot force them to be nice.

So you might as well stop beating your head against the wall. Metaphorically speaking, of course. If you happen to beat your head against the wall because it’s some Krav Maga exercise you subject yourself to, then by all means, continue.

In the meantime, I’m going to talk about improv. Cuz that’s how I roll, people.

First of all, improv people are nice. But in the same way you can’t make people in real life be nice, you can’t make your scene partner be what you want them to be. Improv is all about letting go of your own agenda and working together to create something funny. You might go into a scene thinking, “Oh! I know! I’m going to label him as a wimpy door-mat guy whose lunch I steal from the office fridge every day.” But your scene partner may have the first line and say in a snooty, hoity-toity voice, “You know, Evelyn, I’ve about had it with your incessant stuttering. I want a divorce.”

At first it’s disconcerting to give up your ideas. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I am generally really fond of my ideas. They’re mostly pretty fabulous. But when you learn not to force your agenda, you are able to be in the moment and appreciate the natural evolution of the scene. And it’s true what they say: two heads ARE better than one. What you and your scene partner come up with together is usually a lot better than what either one of you would’ve thought up on your own.

At Held2gether improv classes, we learn how much less stressful it is not to force people to be what we want them to be. Sure, in real life, you might still have to deal with those not-nice people and for that, we’re sorry. But you’ll also learn how to use those people to create hilarious characters to use in scenes… it’s cheaper than therapy and way more fun!

Register for the H2G 1/2-day Intro to Improv Workshop coming up on August 14th, and save your head.

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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