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by Darren Held

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Okay, I learned some stuff from this interesting Tina Fey interview on NPR that my friend and fellow improv-er, Lisa, sent me.

First of all, in case you weren’t aware, Tina Fey is funny. No, really. She should look into a career in comedy.

But some of the more interesting bits weren’t about being funny. She talked about how in improv, we learn not to ask questions. Well, some of us learn that. Some of us, not so much. But it is a tenet of improv that you want to make statements rather than ask questions, in order to add information to advance the scene and not put the entire burden of coming up with information on your scene partner. Tina said this was also a good rule for life, especially for women. She noted that younger women in particular tend to be almost apologetic in their normal conversation, and ask things rather than being confident in their knowledge or opinions or whatever and just coming out and stating things. Even statements are often delivered with a question-mark tone at the end of the sentence: This is a great party? Let’s go bowling? I like tacos?

Let me just say, I like tacos. And I’m not sorry, either.

But I digress. Shocking. Anyway, as Tina was saying, improv teaches you not to ask questions. But Sonnjea says it teaches much more than that – it also teaches you to be comfortable taking a risk like just saying right out there for everyone to hear: I like tacos! You get braver as a result of improv, and you learn to trust your instincts and be comfortable in the gray area – that zone where you don’t know what’s going to happen next and you can’t plan for it because it depends on what someone else says or does.

Tina said some other cool stuff as well, and I’ll probably steal more of it later in the week. But for now I just want to add that, as our name states – boldly – improv is for LIFE. Yeah, it makes for awesome entertainment, but the skills taught at Held2gether improv classes in Long Beach improve and enhance day-to-day life in countless ways, and that’s where the real value of improv lies.

You’ll notice there was no question mark at the end of that last sentence. Right?

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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