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There’s so much pressure in life to “do our best,” it’s only natural that some of that spills over into the world of make-’em-ups we call improv. But striving for perfection is a surefire way to suck the fun out of a scene. As Joe Bill says:

“Any consideration of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ will fuck you over and put you in your head. Onstage is not real life.”

Think about that: onstage is not real life. That gives us incredible licence to do whatever the hell we want.

One time in rehearsal my teammate, Justin Kosi, was pimped into being John Travolta. He looked at our coach, Tom Vest, and said “I don’t know him.” “That’s great!” Tom told him. “Just do your John Travolta.”

Of course, Justin’s Travolta was nothing like the “real” one – and a million times funnier as a result.

If you want to take pressure off yourself, try doing something really badly. You can do it in a circle as a warm-up, as well as in scenes.

Do the worst accent, the worst dance, the worst impression, the worst anything, and see if it isn’t the best.

Photo © Kevin Thom

Photo © Kevin Thom

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  1. October 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on clown college confessions and commented:
    I love this. Especially for people who are used to having to be right all the time in the workplace or at school. It’s so freeing to do the worst!

  2. October 17, 2014

    Doing your worst can be awesome on stage… as long as you OWN IT. The audience will follow if you lead them, even if it’s in the wrong direction!

    • October 18, 2014

      Agreed. Committing to that really crappy breakdance (or whatever) and acting like it’s the shiz is guaranteed to push the audience – and your teammates – further.

  3. October 18, 2014

    This is owning all your shit and then letting it go, regardless of who it hits

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