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by Darren Held

We had a great improv show last night and it felt sooooo good to be back in front of an awesome crowd. I know performers of various ilk, and many of them are addicted to the applause of a live audience. I think applause is all well and good, but give me laughter any day.

And there’s the problem. Those of us who do improv want to make people laugh. We want to create something from nothing, and we want to improve our communication skills, and we want to be more outgoing. And… WE WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH.

That desire can sometimes lead to very bad improv. See, in improv you don’t want to go for a joke or try to force funny to happen. But occasionally, somebody does do something jokey in a scene and, unfortunately, the audience laughs. That laughter is positive reinforcement for bad behavior, and the improvisor might decide to repeat that action in order to get the positive reinforcement again.

So then you have a scene that, albeit funny, was actually lousy improv. It takes a lot of self-control to do good improv and let the humor emerge from the layering of information and the commitment to characters and the development of relationship. But trust me, when you do that, it will definitely make people laugh. And then you get your laugher fix and the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t go for an easy joke, or sacrifice the scene for a one liner or what have you. Yay!

It’s awesome when the audience is as ready to laugh as last night’s crowd was! We have the best fans ever, and we couldn’t do this without you – so thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts. If you’re ready to laugh some more, the H2G Friday Company will be on stage at the Wine Down Lounge this coming Friday night. Come laugh at them with me, why don’t you?

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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