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by Darren Held

The motto of improv could be: Don’t ever think this journey is about you. It’s about everyone around you.

Okay, technically that IS a motto of improv. I stole it from a guy named Del Close who was one of the major influences on improv comedy, working with 2nd City, Improv Olympic and Upright Citizens Brigade over the years.

According to me (technically not a major influence on improv) improv is about these people, in this order:

  1. The audience. The audience gives the improvisors the suggestion, from which everything should flow. The audience has to feel like that scene could not have happened without their suggestion.
  2. The director. Sure, it’s all made up on-the-spot, so you might think a director is superfluous. But getting the audience involved and keeping the energy up is a real skill. A great director can turn a terrible audience into a, well, so-so audience. But a lousy director can kill the best of crowds.
  3. Your scene partner(s). The best way to make a scene work is to forget about yourself, your ego and your agenda and focus on your scene partner. Label them, give them gifts of great information and a lively character and just let the hilarity happen. They’ll be doing the same for you, after all.
  4. Everyone else in the universe.
  5. You. In improv, as in life, whether you succeed or not largely depends on how much you give to others.

We want to help you be successful. Take a Held2gether improv class in Long Beach and find out how fun it is to help someone else be funny.

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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