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by Darren Held

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Improv for anyone who’s breathing

I have a friend who recently informed me that she thinks she’d like to be a performer and/or writer on SNL when she grows up. She’s 16 (it’s not weird; shut up), so she has plenty of time to start down that path and I really hope she makes it if that’s what she wants to do.

But I couldn’t help being a little sad and jealous about it because I didn’t even know what improv WAS until I was [insert whatever age you think I was about 15 years ago]. That’s when I first saw Whose Line Is It Anyway? Of course I’ve watched SNL on and off over the years since the heyday of the Belushi/Ackroyd/Radner crew, but I never really grasped that what they did (sketch OR improv, I mean) was a learnable skill.

Look, I grew up in a small town that emphasized farming, drinking American beer and shooting stuff. The arts were something other people from hoity toity places like New York and Los Angeles did. I was pushing the envelope by choosing to become a writer.

Anyway. That’s the awesome thing about Held2gether: it’s designed for people like me who discovered improv late[r] in life and don’t have the acting/performing/comedy background necessary for improv classes at the schools in those hoity toity places. That’s why we call it “improv for life…” Because it’s for everyone who is currently alive.

And because our entire mission is to bring the skills and fun and joy of improv to as many currently alive people as possible, our classes are safe and encouraging and supportive. Most of us have never acted or performed, either. We know it’s scary to be up on a stage with people you’ve barely met doing crazy scenes involving porcupines and cousins and Panda Express. But the life (there’s that word again) skills and enjoyment you get from just showing up and trying are worth every bit of angst you feel on the drive to your first class.

Just be careful on the drive to your second class. You’ll be so excited to get there, you might get a speeding ticket. And we can’t accept responsibility for that. Sorry.

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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