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Your favourite improv nerd already owns the Game of Thrones box set, a sonic screwdriver, and every volume of Axe Cop.

Fresh out of ideas? Well relax. There are still a few goodies we guarantee they’d be happy to find in their stocking.

Second City Gift Certificates

Experiential gifts are some of the coolest things you can give. So why not share the joy of clapping along to Big Booty with a bunch of strangers?

Like a lot of people, we fell in love with improv at Second City Training Centre. From Level A for beginners, to writing, acting, and specialty classes, you can give a gift certificate for any of SCTC’s awesome courses. Click here for info on Chicago, LA and Toronto.

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Jimmy Carrane’s Art of Slow Comedy

If your friend lives in Chicago, a gift certificate for any of Jimmy Carrane’s Art of Slow Comedy classes is just the ticket. Click here to purchase.

The UCB Comedy Improvisation Manual

Authors Besser, Roberts and Walsh have poured 20+ years of knowledge into this mutha of all improv books. Coming in at just under 400 pages, it covers everything from two-person scenes to Harold structure, and was designed for beginners as well as seasoned improvisers. Click here to order.

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Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out

We’ve said it before: no one writes more engagingly about improv than Mick Napier. (For our review of the book, click here.) Like UCB’s manual, Improvise appeals to both novice and seasoned performers. And at 144 pages, it’s the perfect companion for those improv festival road trips.

Click here to order.

© Mick Napier

Trust Us, This Is All Made Up

If you’ve ever seen TJ and Dave perform, you know you’ve witnessed something profoundly unique and brilliant in the world of improv.

Watching them play is like a master class in itself. Which is why every improviser should own a copy of Trust Us, This Is All Made Up, a documentary of the duo performing live at the Barrow Street Theatre. We’ve probably seen it a dozen times, and still learn something with each viewing. Click here to order.

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Photo © Crista Flodquist

Mr Show: The Complete Collection

True, it’s not improv. But Mr Show with Bob and David redefined comedy for a generation.

Younger audiences may recognize Bob Odenkirk from Breaking Bad, or David Cross from Arrested Development. But between 1995 and ’98, the two of them created one of the most subversive sketch shows ever imagined. Multiple viewings are a must, due to the insane amount of creativity jammed into each episode. Click here to order.

 

The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series

Without Larry Sanders, there would be no Office. No Alan Partridge. Even, some suggest, no Deadwood or Oz. In fact, it’s impossible to conceive of a world TLSS didn’t influence.

Long before reality TV, The Larry Sanders Show was a groundbreaking satire combining social commentary and “faux reality,” with a cast so talented it boggles the mind. Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk, Wallace Langham and Jeremy Piven shared the screen with some of the greatest actors and musicians on the planet.

The box set contains all 89 episodes, plus commentaries and a feature-length documentary. Give it to really someone special…if you can bear to part with it. Click here to order.

 

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  1. December 7, 2013

    These are great! I’m hoping to dive into the Larry Sanders Show when I settle into my annual post-Christmas Chicago winter hibernation.

    Also, I highly recommend “Improv for Everyone” by Greg Tavares. I got it for Christmas last year and have read it more than once since then.

    • December 7, 2013

      Thanks for the reco, Alyssa. We’ll put it Greg’s book on our holiday reading list! : )

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