Entries by Jimmy Carrane

How improv can help your career

I recently got a call from an old improv friend. He was calling me to tell me that he had gotten a new job. He was excited, almost giddy. He told me that he was now the head of human resources at a prominent TV station. And he said, “I can thank improv for this new […]

How to be More Mindful in Your Improv

The other day I heard someone give a pretty inspiring talk, and at the end of it he said, “The most important thing we can do is be present when we are with other people.” I immediately thought of improv. Today, it’s called mindfulness, and it’s being taught in schools, practiced in offices and become […]

How a Bear Taught Me to Follow the Fun

I have learned in improv that if something is fun in a scene, do more of it. I get that’s how it works in improv, but I’m not as good at applying that same concept in my own life. But the other day, I was driving home from the grocery store with my two-and-half year […]

3 Ways to Grow As an Improviser

Artists take risks. They evolve. They are excited about trying new things, even when they flat-out fail because they know they will have many more failures than successes. They really don’t fail; they learn and grow. And they are always seeking inspiration. That is their rocket fuel. I think about my favorite musicians like Neil Young, […]

Being a Selfless Performer

Two weeks ago I performed a Jimmy and Johnnie show — an improv show that I have been doing for the last six years with John Hildreth at Second City. Each month we pick a special guest to improvise with us, and this time it was Joe Bill. The three of us always work well […]

3 Ways to Get Better at Editing Improv Scenes

Any improviser doing long form knows that editing can make or break a show. Good editing is balancing act between letting the improv scenes develop and not letting them go on too long to drag down the show. Whether you’re looking to improve your editing skills, or you are an improv teacher looking for ideas […]

Finding ways to have more fun

We are told all the time in improv just have fun up there and everything will take care of itself. But what if you don’t have fun in your real life? Well, then you are screwed. I am speaking from experience. I cannot give something away that I don’t have. And when I try to fake […]

How an improviser wrote an improv book for kids

As a father of a two-and-a-half year old, I read a lot of children’s books. I mean, a lot. Not only does she have a bookshelf full of them, but she wants to read them over, and over and over. Some are good. Some are not so good. And some I’ve even memorized. So when […]

How our life affects our improv

How we look at life is how we improvise on stage. If we can’t find the joy in our lives and we look at everything going on in the world as a problem, chances are that is how we will initiate a scene. I see this with my students in class. They will be on […]

The benefits of slowing your improv down

A lot of improvisers think that the only way to be funny is to play fast. But I’ve actually found that there are a lot of benefits to slowing your improv down. I first learned how to play slow improv from Del Close at the Improv Olympic back in the ‘80s when he was teaching […]