Way back before Mike Fly directed of some of Second City’s funniest videos, he created a little thing called The Improv Monologue Project.
The concept was brilliantly simple: get killer performers to improvise a scene for one minute, in one take, using some sort of prop to inspire them.
The results are as funny and offbeat as the people performing them: George Basil, Neil Casey, Lee White, Mark Meer, Tasman VanRassel, Kayla Lorette, Christian Capozzoli, Ken Hall, Alex Tindal, and 65 others.
Image © Mike Fly
So what inspired Fly to create the series?
“I was inspired by being at improv festivals and meeting so many talented performers; it seemed wasteful that there was no record of the experience that brought all that talent together. So I shot some and they became the template for the repeatable form, and then I kept making them after that. And then it became about teaching myself to edit and shoot more professionally and consistently, trying to challenge myself within the form as much as the performer.”
And the props?
“I usually went to Value Village and said to myself, ‘What’s not too expensive, but could really inspire someone?’ I did the same with locations; I tried to find places that were interesting enough visually, and rich with potential to really make for a fun scene.
I learned right away that my camera work was as important as the performance, and that we had to shoot at least two monologues otherwise I would be stuck using something that made the performer look bad because I screwed up. I would always end up picking the monologue that showed them off the best.”
You can watch the complete archives here.