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Posts tagged improv gifts

Hoo-ee! What a year. The kind of year that makes you long for amnesia while chugging rum & no egg nog. After everything that’s gone down, you might just wanna give yourself a little something, because you deserve it. Here’s a round-up of our fave improv-related goodies for friends and fans.

Improv Tees, Pillows, Mugs & More

Give, and ye shall receive 25% off everything in our store before midnight November 20.

Improv Classes

The greatest gifts are experiences, and you know how life-changing improv can be. Why not introduce someone to the cult – uhhh, community – with a gift certificate for your favourite school or instructor? Browse our link roll (left) for suggestions.

Photo © People & Chairs

Don’t Think Twice

Mike Birbiglia’s film is a must-see for improvisers and the friends who put up with them. Don’t Think Twice is available on iTunes, BluRay, and DVD.

TJ and Dave On Demand

Almost eight hours of footage of the greatest improvisers on Earth, now on Vimeo On Demand. We never get tired of watching these guys. Click here or below for this master class in the art of improvisation.

All The Best Books

Don’t get bitter, get better, with one of these fun and informative tomes:

How To Be The Greatest Improviser on Earth by Will Hines

Behind The Scenes: Improvising Long Form and Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier (with forewords by Stephen Colbert and Bob Odenkirk, no less)

Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser by Liz Allen and Jimmy Carrane

Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ & Dave Book by TJ Jagodowski & David Pasquesi with Pam Victor

The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual by Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh

Improvising Now: A Practical Guide to Modern Improv by Rob Norman

Truth in Comedy by Del Close, Charna Halpern and Kim “Howard” Johnson

Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold by Matt Fotis

Give Yourself

Giving doesn’t have to take a lot of money. Your time and effort can be just as meaningful, if not more so. Why not buy some festive cards and write an invitation to friends to help you create one of these in the new year?

• Start the podcast you’ve always wanted to hear but haven’t found, like Fairy Tales For Unwanted ChildrenThe Constant Struggle, or The Backline.

• Write a book with everything you’ve learned, like Ryan Millar’s Take It Easy or Katy Schutte’s The Improviser’s Way.

• Produce your own show for people who are underserved in the community. Whether it features women of colour (like Yas Kween), LGBTQ performers (like Queerprov), or anxious people (like Laugh In The Face of Fear), you have something valuable the community needs: your unique point of view.

Bring it in 2018!

Happy holidays from both of us.

Need a fun gift for your favourite scene partner? We’ve put together a list of goodies you can order from the comfort of home. So grab your vape, settle back on the sofa, and fire up the ol’ computes for this year’s holiday extravaganza.

Let The Games Begin

Card games, board games, Game of Thrones…improvisers love games. Why not surprise your favourite nerd – uh, improviser – with a custom D&D die? If that’s too advanced, think retro entertainment like Twister, Hungry Hungry Hippos, or Jenga. There’s no surer way to put a smile on someone’s face than with a big box of wood.

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Don’t Think Twice

Great acting and lots of insider jokes make this smart, funny, very human film from Mike Birbiglia a must-see. Don’t Think Twice is available on iTunes, BluRay, and DVD.

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TJ and Dave on Vimeo On Demand

OK, we’ll admit this one’s hard to wrap. But with nearly eight hours of footage of the greatest improvisers on Earth, this gift is too good to pass up. It’s especially great for folks outside the U.S. who’ve never seen them perform. Click here or below for this MasterClass in the art of improvisation.

Saint Celebrity Prayer Candles

Light up someone’s life this season with with a candle from Saint Celebrity. You can even request a custom order of your favourite comedy hero, like Colbert, John Oliver, or Samantha Bee. Because God knows, we’re gonna need ’em.

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Good Books

No holiday would be complete without a good book to curl up with. Here are some of our improv faves:

Behind The Scenes: Improvising Long Form and Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier (with forewords by Stephen Colbert and Bob Odenkirk, no less)

Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser by Liz Allen and Jimmy Carrane

Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ & Dave Book by TJ Jagodowski & David Pasquesi with Pam Victor

The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual by Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh

Improvising Now: A Practical Guide to Modern Improv by Rob Norman

Truth in Comedy by Del Close, Charna Halpern and Kim “Howard” Johnson

Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold by Matt Fotis

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Improv Tees, Pillows, Mugs & More

Lastly, we’ve expanded our range of designs this year, so there’s bound to be something for the funny person on your list. Click here or below to shop. And happy gifting!

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If you’re like us and still haven’t finished – or, um, started – your holiday shopping, here are some suggestions for the funny ones on your list. (No, we haven’t made a list yet, either.)

Saint Celebrity Prayer Candles

Holy crapola! How cool are these? If you don’t see something you like, you can request a custom order of your favourite Comedy Gods. Saints Odenkirk, Poehler, and Colbert, please!

Artwork © Saint Celebrity

Artwork © Saint Celebrity

Top Tomes

We’re big fans of learning from different theatres and instructors, and the same goes for improv books. While the points of view vary, each of these titles is written by authors who know their shit. For anyone looking to expand their knowledge of long form and comedy, one (or more) of these would make a great gift.

Books

Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser by Liz Allen and Jimmy Carrane

The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual by Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh

Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold by Matt Fotis

Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ & Dave Book by TJ Jagodowski & David Pasquesi with Pam Victor

Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out by Mick Napier (now updated and expanded with a foreword by Stephen Colbert)

Improvising Now: A Practical Guide to Modern Improv by Rob Norman

Truth in Comedy by Del Close, Charna Halpern and Kim “Howard” Johnson

Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer and Mark Shatz

The Comic Toolbox: How To Be Funny Even If You’re Not by John Vorhaus

And Here’s The Kicker and Poking A Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers by Mike Sacks

Also now available in paperback, check out Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

Trust Us, This Is All Made Up DVD 

Like A Charlie Brown Christmas, TJ and Dave’s documentary is a timeless classic. Featuring behind-the-scenes footage and a fully-improvised, 50-minute performance at the Barrow Street Theatre, it’s a must-see for all improvisers. Click here to order.

Improv Tees, Clocks, Mugs & More

From spiffy new logo Tees to our Improviser’s Clock, you’ll find goodies galore in our online store. Happy hols!Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 3.43.52 PM

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.