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by Darren Held

I met Andy Araujo in my very first improv class and he was the first improv friend I ever made. He’s smart and hilarious, and you should read what he says about improv! I mean, you know, if you want to and stuff.

There is a lot to remember to make an improv scene successful. So what is the most important Rule of Improv?

I used to think that “agreement” was the most important rule to remember. It certainly is important. If your scene partner continually denies the information you are putting out there, it is a one-way ticket to Nowheresville (which I believe is the capital of BF Egypt, but I digress). As important as agreement is, I don’t think it is the most important rule.

“Staying” in the scene is also very important. If I’m doing a scene and someone does something completely off-the-wall, I cannot look to the instructor during a class (or God forbid, the audience during a show) and say “that doesn’t make sense to me.” Unless your scene partner goes into cardiac arrest, you have to stay in the scene and deal with the information (or lack thereof) that has been presented.

Commitment is also very important. It is possible to make a bad scene into a good scene just on commitment alone. Owning the information and committing to it is so much more fun than a tentative, wishy-washy response to that information.

So all these rules and practices are really important. But I still would not call any one of them THE most important. What is the most important rule of Improv?

Have fun.

The most important rule of improv… have fun!

The most important rule of improv… have fun!

When you are having fun, it shows up in the performance. It inspires your fellow performers, your fellow classmates, and everyone in the audience. And, well . . . it’s fun.

There’s a reason they are called Improv games. They are games, with rules, where you can let your imagination run, where you can pretend to be someone other than yourself, where you can be a part of a team that makes something magical happen.

Even when you are taking a class and you are struggling to learn something new, don’t deny yourself the opportunity to enjoy the challenge of acquiring that new skill. Just like when you accomplish anything, the rewards are great.

Okay, now I have to get ready to start the work week. That’s not fun.

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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