(Editors note: Improviser X is an unedited column written by an undercover improviser that covers whatever the mystery man/woman chooses. Maybe not always nice, but always real. Enjoy!)
You’ve been booked at an improv festival and you have to come up with a description of your improv troupe. What do you do? You do comedy on stage so do you have to be funny all the time? You’re really proud of your incredibly unique format so do you have to explain it? You’re married to your troupe mate or you’re all the same sex or you all like the same TV show, do you have to say those those things in your bio? Let’s learn from some weird examples that we found on the internets.
“This husband and wife duo are just as funny on stage as they are at home”
We’ve never been in your home so I guess we’ll just believe you? Wait, nevermind, we don’t believe you.
“They create characters and allow them to grow into a story1”
Hmmm. Some people spend too much time on their show description and others just do this.
“A series of improvised scenes based after a disaster suggested by the audience. Watch the players improvise their way through a chaotic scenario…will the characters stick together or fall apart? Will this world live or die? Will you laugh or will you cry?”
Will you ever improvise or will you rehash the same stuff you do every time?2
“Our shows are completely made up on the spot. Nothing is prepared beforehand.”
Now there’s an idea. Here’s another: when applying to festivals, re-write your show description. Because the one you use for the theater that books scripted shows, burlesque, karate competitions and improv shows doesn’t apply to the one where quite literally EVERYONE knows you are doing an improv show.
“We take a suggestion from the audience and our comedy scientists put it through a series of tests and out of the other end comes a completely improvised show that will cause you to laugh your labcoat off.”
I can’t decide if this troupe performing in actual lab coats would make them even worse or completely redeem them.
“We believe in awkwardly presenting our love of obscure pop culture references and tendency towards dark humor to a captive audience.”
This is like the time that magician explained to us how the audience volunteer is so flexible that she’s going to be able to squeeze herself into a tight ball in the first compartment of this wood box so don’t freak out as he’s sawing through the middle because she’s actually cooped up in the first compartment. Then we watch him do it and we aren’t as impressed. BECAUSE HE TOLD US EVERYTHING ALREADY.
“A cross between Seinfield, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Shakespeare.”
I couldn’t help myself. I made this one up.
“We begin with a group scene that quickly becomes a series of two person scenes through rapid fire edits. As the show moves forward we call characters and situations back as the audience loses their mind with laughter.”
I’m printing this out and taking it with me and if you don’t do exactly what this says then I demand a refund.
“…loud, full of energy, and will make you laugh so hard you’ll squirt milk. Don’t drink milk? Doesn’t matter.”
This one is actually pretty decent. It kinda describes the show, doesn’t give much away and contains one joke that isn’t so jokey it’s annoying. Well done.
- What happens if they don’t “allow” them? One day I hope the characters just take over the show and do whatever they want. That would be cool. ↩
- Can we get a suggestion of a disaster? “Tornado.” Can we get another one, we got Tornado last month. “Hurricane.” Oh, we get that one all the time. Anyone else? “Earthquake.” Can we get a suggestion please? ↩