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Part of the fun of doing improv is being able to do anything. Like Neo in The Matrix, you can fly, stop bullets, or even hook up with The Woman in the Red Dress; things mere mortals can only dream of.

Sometimes we add crazy elements to a scene, thinking we’re making it funnier. But what often happens when characters go to Mars is so does believability.

The audience needs a reason to believe.

I once saw Jason DeRosse, Rob Norman, and Adam Cawley ask for a location that would fit on the stage. Someone yelled out “Shoe!”

The guys paused and looked at each other, then played 25 minutes as three roommates trapped in a stiletto.

The setting was absurd, but their reactions and their relationship to each other were grounded in truthfulness. And nothing is funnier than truth in comedy.

In this Fast Company video, Ricky Gervais explains how he used to make up crazy shit until he discovered the  power of keeping it real. Click here or below to watch.

RickyGervais

 

Image © Comedy On Tape

Image © Comedy On Tape

If you live in Toronto, you may think you’re all laughed out from Mayor Rob Ford’s latest hijinks.

But if there’s one thing we Canucks excel at (and believe it or not, there are things besides smoking crack), it’s comedy.

That’s why improviser/KD heartthrob/friend of the blog, Devon Hyland, has launched a new thing called Comedy On Tape. It’s a live and online showcase of Toronto’s top-of-the-pops improv, sketch and stand-up.

Carefully curated by Hyland, the show features CCA winners, CBC writers, JFL veterans, and other super-funny folks not associated with acronyms.

The next show is Wednesday, November 13 at The Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, and the line-up includes improv superstars RN & Cawls, Falcon Powder, Chad Mallett, and many others.

Doors open at 7 pm, and admission is $10.

You can view past shows (in convenient, bite-sized viewing chunks) here or by clicking below.

Image © Comedy On Tape

Image © Comedy On Tape

If you haven’t yet heard Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane, put down that Hot Pocket and get thee to a pair of headphones, toute de suite.

The show’s unique combination of interview-plus-live improv makes it a stand-out in a sea of podcasts, and host Jimmy’s deep knowledge and love of improv has helped it build a large and loyal following.

Past guests include such luminaries as Andy Richter, David Koechner, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows, Key and Peele, TJ Jagodowski, David Pasquesi, and Scott Adsit.

Now the podcast has launched a new season, featuring SNL alum Nora Dunn, chef Rick Bayless, and writers from Conan and The Colbert Report, among others.

Showtime is Sundays at 5 p.m. at Stage 773 in Chicago. Tickets are $10; $8 for improv students. To order, call 773.327.5252 or click here.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

Image © Improv Nerd

Image © Improv Nerd