Entries by Jimmy Carrane

235: The World According to Jimmy

In this special bonus episode, “The World According to Jimmy,” Jimmy sits down with his producer, Dan Schiffmacher, and answers questions about improv, career and life submitted by our listeners and some of Jimmy’s students.

Why It’s Good to Play with Less Experienced Improvisers

In an ideal world, you always want to improvise with people who are better and more experienced than you because they make you better. But realistically, that doesn’t always happen. And sometimes improvising with people who aren’t as experienced can not only help with your confidence, it can also be fun, and a great learning […]

234: Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine is the executive director of The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival at Stage 773 and an original member of The Cupid Players. We talked about how women’s roles in improv have changed since she started in 1999, why she likes to make bold choices in her improv, and why she doesn’t give herself notes […]

3 Secrets to Being a Good Improv Teacher

One thing I have learned along the way is if you want to keep what you have learned, you need to give it away on a regular basis. That’s why teaching others how to do improv is such a privilege. I am grateful to have gotten to study, work and perform with some of the […]

Why I Love Teaching Improv

A weird thing has happened to me in the last couple of years. I had realized that I like teaching improv far more than I like improvising. It seems when I am up on stage improvising, I still put a lot of pressure on myself, something I don’t do often when I’m teaching it. In fact, […]

My First Father’s Day

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and except for the fact that I already know Lauren’s going to give me a present, I am not really that excited about it. Actually, I am embarrassed. As a father, I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m not a real father, because in the first year since Betsy […]

Why You Shouldn’t Control Play

My wife, Lauren, and I were lying on the living room rug playing with our 11-month-old daughter, Betsy. She was playing quietly with these wooden blocks, and I was holding one in my hand when Lauren said, “Give it to her. Give her the block.” As you might suspect I don’t like to be told […]

Laughter is the Best Medicine

When people first work with me, especially after the first class, they say things like, “Your class is like therapy,” or “That scene was not funny,” or “Oh my God, in that exercise you made that person cry.” Generally, people view this as a bad thing. I get it; emotions are scary and it’s not […]

Needing to Be the Funny One

(Who’s the funniest one in the pic above? Hint: I’m the one with the sunglasses). When I started out in improv my goal was to be the funniest one on stage. In retrospect, that wasn’t a very noble one goal. At the time, it seemed important to me for many reasons — primarily, if I […]

Getting Your Comedic Voice

In improv, we all want to get noticed and be liked by everyone at the same time. The problem is, it’s hard for those things to coexist. To get noticed, you are going to have to have a strong point of view, and that will piss some people off. And not only is that okay, […]