If you’ve ever got a note you didn’t know what to do with, this is for you.
Harsh Improv Notes is a blog by Kory Mathewson, of real notes given by and for real improvisers. It’s fascinating reading the range of feedback, from passive-aggressive to sexist to just plain whack.
According to Kory, it was born from the idea that we often give and receive notes in improvisation, and more often than not we take the negative ones to heart, stewing on them and thinking them over long after the note was given.
Seen in this new context, the notes become something else: something to be laughed at, allowing us to shake our heads and move on. (And if it helps instructors become more mindful about how they’re speaking, that’d be awesome too.)
A reader commented: “Some of those notes seem to be shared by people who needed to hear them. Is it really a harsh thing to tell someone they need to get over themselves, or do they just need to get over themselves?”
Some of the notes do appear to be constructive. For us, the problem is when personal notes are given in front of classmates or peers – often to get a laugh. It’s easy then for constructive to become destructive. Like when a boss chews out an employee in front of co-workers, the humiliation is what will be remembered, not the note.