As the improv blogosphere expands, more awesome voices join in the chorus. Here are some of our faves.
Artwork © David Kantrowitz
Miles Stroth: Pack Theater
A veteran of the Chicago and LA improv scenes, Miles Stroth studied under Del Close, was a member of The Family, and helped invent The Deconstruction and The Movie…so he’s, y’know, pretty good.
Stroth’s straight-from-the-hip style is a joy to read, and reminds us a little of Mick Napier’s. (What can we say? We love swears.) The blog is only a few weeks old, but topics so far include The Myth of Stage Time, Listening vs Monkeys, and An Introduction To The Four Scene Types, part of an ongoing series.
Jay Sukow: Today Improv
Jay Sukow brings 30 years’ experience performing and teaching in Chicago to his improv worldview. He studied under Colbert, Razowsky, and Carell, and we think it shows in his compassionate, mindful writing, with posts like “How Do I Get Out Of My Head?” and “Dear Improvisors.” Like Stroth’s blog, Sukow’s is still in its infancy, but with tips for improvisers as well as business people, it’s sure to build a strong following.
The creator and host of the Improv Nerd podcast, Jimmy Carrane has one of the best blogs out there. It’s honest, unfiltered, and always enlightening. After three decades in the Chicago improv scene, Jimmy has performed with the best of the best, and experienced the highs and lows of doing improv for a living. Whatever you’re looking for, chances are Jimmy’s covered it, from physicality, status, and fear, to walk-ons, auditions, dealing with stage hogs, career jealousy, and much more.
Will Hines: Improv Nonsense
After all that Chicago deep dish, why not take a walk on the Will Hines side? Hines hails from UCBT, where he taught and performed in New York City before moving to LA. His tumblr is a mix of improv tips, personal reflections, photos, and a forum for improvisers to ask for advice.
Hines’ writing is conversational with just the right amount of swear-y, as in this gem:
“Caring is funny. It’s unexpected. Don’t go too nuts or it’ll feel false. Just give about 20% more of a shit than we expect you to.
‘For this year’s musical, we are producing West Side Story.’
Hey, that’s pretty funny! So yeah, do that. Give just a bit more of a shit than we expect.”
The House That Del Built
Labelled “The intellectual musings of an improv wonk,” THTDB is thoughtful, wordy, and – dare we say it? – deep. With topics like Talent vs Skill, The Economy of Comedy, and Joking, Lying and The Truth, this is the place to go when you want a mind sandwich – a really good one.
Pam Victor: My Nephew Is A Poodle
You probably know Pam Victor from the most eagerly-anticipated improv book in yonks, Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book, which she co-wrote.
Pam’s blog blends her day-to-day life as an improviser and instructor with her “Geeking Out With…” series of interviews, featuring every improv rock star you can think of except for Del (and even then, she’s probably planning a seance). Definitely worth poring over.
National Improv Network
NIN’s mission is to “bring every venue, troupe and improviser access to the tools and resources they need to create excellent improv and run excellent venues.” It’s this distinction that makes it invaluable for anyone who owns a own theatre, runs a festival, or produces and directs shows, in addition to being improvisers. Posts cover a wide range of topics, including spotlights on different cities’ improv festivals.
Since 2009, Vinny Francois and crew have been writing and reposting cool stuff on improv, comedy, acting, and more. Always smart and insightful, they’ve also reviewed a whack of improv books, and guest posters include David Pasquesi, Jill Bernard, and Will Luera.
Nat Tsolak: The School of Laughter
This quintessentially British blog is a charming alternative to our slightly-less-eloquent North American fare. (To paraphrase Rene Zellweger, “You had me at ‘whilst.'”)
Nat Tsolak’s posts include personal stories and improv games, with a special focus on improv, comedy, and psychology.
Ben Noble: I’m Making All This Up
St Louis native and copywriter Ben Noble started doing make ’em ups three years ago, and now he writes a blog about improv and creativity. He also wrote Improv ABC, which is more advanced than it sounds.
David Kantrowitz: Improv Artvice
This tumblr features quotes from some of improv’s brightest lights, and you can even buy them as prints and other goodies. How about an “If you’re not having fun, you’re the asshole” canvas print for your bedroom?
Artwork © David Kantrowitz