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Improv

as a hobby

Improv teaches you to be fearless. It teaches you to listen. It teaches you to trust yourself and your instincts.

Tina Fey

Improv is a form of live theater where everything is made up on the spot. It is a fun and rewarding hobby that can improve your creativity, confidence, and communication skills. You don’t need any experience or preparation to start improv, just a willingness to say yes and play along. You can join an improv class, group, or show and discover the joy of improv today!

Helpful content to start improv as a hobby

We aim to provide accurate information, but errors might be found. Always exercise judgment and discretion.

Videos

Short visual inspiration.

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YouTube | A Lesson on Improv Technique, with Chris Gethard | Big Think
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YouTube | Jason Sudeikis: How to be Good at Improv
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YouTube | Improv 101 with Tina Fey | My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman | Netflix
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YouTube | Improvaganza: The Best of Ryan & Colin

Podcasts

Play an episode while exploring the page.

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Spotify | Make Yourself Comfy with Abra Tabak
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Spotify | improv4humans with Matt Besser
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Spotify | Off Book: The Improvised Musical
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Spotify | Getting Started
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Spotify | Musical Monday
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Spotify | Hello From The Magic Tavern

Improv is a life skill and a survival skill. It’s about being in the moment and being present.

Amy Poehler

Terms

Basic lingo for orientation.

  • Improv: Short for improvisation, improv is a form of live theater where everything is made up on the spot. Improv can be funny or serious, short or long, and follow different formats and styles.
  • Offer: An offer is anything that an improviser says or does that can be used to create or advance a scene. Offers can be verbal or non-verbal, explicit or implicit, and can come from the environment, the characters, the emotions, or the actions.
  • Yes, and: “Yes, and…” is the basic principle of improv, where improvisers accept and build on each other’s offers. “Yes” means agreeing with the reality of the scene, and “and” means adding something new or relevant to it.
  • Game: A game is a pattern of behavior or a recurring element that creates humor or interest in a scene. A game can be based on a character trait, a relationship dynamic, a wordplay, a physical action, or anything else that can be repeated and heightened.
  • Scene: A scene is a unit of improv that usually involves two or more improvisers who create a story in the moment. A scene can have a beginning, a middle, and an end, or it can be part of a larger narrative or format.
  • Format: A format is a structure or a framework that guides an improv show or performance. A format can have rules, guidelines, or suggestions on how to create scenes, characters, stories, genres, or themes. Some examples of formats are The Harold, The Armando, The Montage, The Monoscene, etc.
  • Edit: An edit is a way of ending a scene and transitioning to a new one. An edit can be done by the improvisers on stage or by the improvisers on the sidelines. Some examples of edits are sweep edit (where an improviser runs across the stage), tag out (where an improviser replaces another one on stage), lights edit (where the lights go off), etc.
  • ImprovOlympic: ImprovOlympic (now known as iO Chicago) is a theater and training center for improv and sketch comedy in central Chicago. It is the birthplace of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), a renowned comedy group. Notable alumni of the ImprovOlympic are Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey.

How to start improv as a hobby

First moves for getting acquainted and breaking the ice.

Books

Get read(y).

Improv is not about being funny. It’s about being honest, authentic, and vulnerable.

Alan Alda

How-tos

Step-by-step tutorials.

Articles

Further reading.

Websites

Go-tos for information.

Improv is about being open to anything and accepting everything that comes your way.

Stephen Colbert

Movies

Nothing like a film for inspiration.

FAQS

Get a clue.

What is improv?

Improv is a form of live theater where everything is made up on the spot. Improv can be funny or serious, short or long, and follow different formats and styles.

Do I need any experience or preparation to start improv?

No, you don’t need any experience or preparation to start improv. Improv is for everyone, regardless of your age, background, or skill level. All you need is a willingness to say yes and play along.

How can I learn improv?

You can learn improv by taking a class, joining a group, watching a show, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or using an app. There are many resources and opportunities available for you to learn improv online or in real life.

What are the benefits of improv?

Improv can benefit you in many ways, such as improving your creativity, confidence, communication, and well-being. Improv can also help you overcome your fear of failure, rejection, and embarrassment. Improv can also provide you with fun, laughter, and joy.

Is improv scary or hard?

Improv can be scary or hard at first, but it gets easier and more fun as you practice and improve. Improv is not about being perfect, clever, or funny. It’s about being playful, spontaneous, and honest. Improv is also a supportive and collaborative activity, where you work together with your scene partners and get feedback from your teachers and peers.

Apps

Smart assistance.

Improv can boost your creativity, psychological well-being, social skills, emotional intelligence, cognitive abilities, and happiness, according to various scientific studies

Products

Essentials to have.

Courses

Get smart.

Near You

Get together.

Improv is a great way to learn how to communicate with people, how to be a better listener, how to think on your feet, how to be more creative, and how to have fun.

Will Ferrell

Newsletters

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Tips

Additional advice for beginners.

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Improv is all about embracing the unknown and the unexpected and learning from your failures. Mistakes can lead to new discoveries, opportunities, and laughs.
  • Have fun and play. Improv is not about being perfect, clever, or funny. It’s about being playful, spontaneous, and curious. Enjoy the process and the experience of creating something out of nothing with others.
  • Listen and support. Improv is a team sport, where you work together with your scene partners to create a story. Listen to what they say and do, and support their ideas and choices. Make them look good, and they will make you look good.
  • Be yourself and be honest. Improv is not about pretending to be someone else or saying what you think others want to hear. It’s about being yourself and expressing your thoughts and feelings honestly. Trust that you have something unique and valuable to offer to the scene.
  • Take a class or join a group. Improv is best learned by doing it with others who share your interest and passion. Taking a class or joining a group can help you learn the skills, techniques, and formats of improv, as well as meet new friends and have fun.
  • Always say “yes, and…”. “Yes, and…” is the basic principle of improv, where improvisers accept and build on each other’s offers. ‘Yes’ means agreeing with the reality of the scene, and ‘and’ means adding something new or relevant to it.