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by Darren Held

This was labeling week in the Held2gether Level 1 improv classes, and we spent some time talking about the awesomeness of loser labels. Naturally, I explained that you want to embrace those labels rather than defend yourself against them, as you might in real life. In fact, any label that gives you specific character traits that you can run with is a HUGE gift and should be relished!

Later on, I was critiquing an exercise in which someone had labeled someone else as carrying handcuffs. The label didn’t quite work with what had preceded it, and I wanted to explain why. So I started my sentence with, “I don’t mind handcuffs…” then I trailed off a bit to formulate the rest of my thought.

The class didn’t wait to find out what the rest of the thought was. They got a huge kick out of my half-sentence and joked about me labeling myself and how popular I must be and whatever. I was embarrassed (complete with blushing), but I took my own improv advice and didn’t argue against the handcuffs label.

Obviously, in class I need to explain improv concepts intelligently and demonstrate skills clearly. But improv class is about doing stuff that pushes you out of your comfort zone and often that means students feel embarrassed when they try things – so why shouldn’t they get to see me be embarrassed once in awhile too?

There’s no real point to this post, except to say that embarrassing yourself with a bunch of awesome people in an H2G improv class is about the most fun you can have. You know, without handcuffs.

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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