Mick Napier says, “Do something.”

I say “Buy this book.”

Do it.

It’ll be the best $15 you’ve ever spent.

(Those Star Wars figurines? That new Kanye album? The KFC Double Down for you and your date? They can’t do what this book can do for you. Seriously.)

So why should you spend an improviser’s fortune?


Because it’s the best goddamn book on the subject – and it’s funny.

Because Napier, founder of The Annoyance Theatre, knows what he’s talking about.

Because if you want to have fun, feel freer onstage, and stop second-guessing yourself, Improvise. Scene from the Inside Out is for you.

I love the ideas in this book so much I’m thinking of getting them tattooed on my arms. Or maybe Brailled. Sure, I’d have to learn Braille, but I could run our fingers over my forearms onstage, and people would think it was part of my character’s deal.

Napier would hate that of course. Not the “having a deal” thing; he’s all about that. The tattoo/Braille Cliff Notes thing. Mick Napier abhors rules.

“‘Don’t you have to know The Rules first before you can break them?’ 

I’ve been asked that question a few hundred times. It’s usually a student who has already spent $2,658 on improv classes. (People like to justify their expenses.) I wish I could provide comfort, but unfortunately the answer is ‘No.’

I do not believe one must learn The Rules in order to break them.”


When I first read that passage, I’d been learning improv for about two years. My mind was swimming with advice and admonitions. If I started to do something in a scene, I’d remember a reason not to. In short, I was so fucking far in my head it’s a wonder I could see the stage. If he could help people like that, then maybe, just maybe there was hope for me.

Improvise. Scene from the Inside Out offers a different way to play, one that starts with trusting yourself. It covers a wide range of topics and situations, including:

  • two-person scenes
  • group scenes
  • entering scenes
  • techniques to achieve richer, more layered scenes

It even has exercises you can do on your own. (Or in front of ol’ Vader and Jar-Jar, if you want.)

Reading the book for the third time, I still laughed out loud. As Homer says, “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”

Everyone I know who’s trained with Mick came back a more playful, empowered performer. If you can take a class or intensive at Annoyance, I highly encourage it.

In the meantime, do something. Do yourself a favour: Buy this book.

Photo © People and Chairs




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  1. March 16, 2012

    This is a great book. I am so not a fan of the “rules” we all were taught and I taught for years until I started thinking about what the real potential for improv is. This book is a huge step forward in improv evolution.

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