First Come

At the Improv Wins Conference last January, there was a panel concerning the use of suggestions in improv shows. They discussed whether to take one or not? Do you need one just because you’re doing a Harold? Is it against the law to not take a suggestion if you’re name isn’t TJ or Dave?

I’m not here to argue suggestions vs. no suggestions (you should of gone to the conference for that doozy). I’m actually here defending suggestions (kinda) though I’m one of those guys who’s like “you don’t need to take suggestions, geez, get off my back”. Let me clarify what this post is doing here.

If you’re going to take a suggestion, take the first one that comes.

Because if you ask the audience for “anything” but they say something you don’t want, then you appear silly because the look on your face is “I wish I hadn’t asked for anything”. So then you ask for something else but the audience is crestfallen and just sits there.

Then the next time you’re like “I’ll ask for something specific like a location or a song lyric, that’ll show ‘em” but you still don’t get what you want so you have to ask for more.

Then you blame a show or two on the dumb-dumb suggestion.

Then you get in an argument with a troupemate over what to ask for or how to ask for it.

Then your troupe falls apart and you’re all alone.

I have a suggestion, take the first suggestion you hear or don’t take suggestions at all.

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About Chris Trew

@ChrisTrew is co-founder of The New Movement in Austin, Tx and New Orleans, La. He's been a performer, student or teacher at nearly every improv festival in North America and he's the co-author of the upcoming Improv Wins book. He performs improv regularly with The Megaphone Show and with improv BFF in the duo show Chris and Tami.