Entries by Jimmy Carrane

The Number One Rule in Improv

The number one rule in improv — over “Yes, And…,” listening, finding the game in the scene, environment, adding specifics, and developing character and emotions — is “Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.” It has happened to all of us. We make a Harold team, or get hired by a big comedy theater, or finish a […]

125: UCB Touring Co.

The Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Touring company consists of Marshall Stratton, Mike Kelton, Jenny St. Angelo, and James Smith. Jimmy caught up with them at The Steel Stacks Improv Comedy Festival.

The Art of Specifics

Improvisers have all heard that we need to add specifics to our improv scenes. Specifics are they fuel that keeps scenes going. The more specifics we use, the less we have to work to figure out what’s going on. Without them we’re in “Vaugue-land” — not a good place to take our scene partners or the […]

Accepting Other People’s Success

Accepting other people’s success is not easy. Sooner or later it will happen to all of us: One of our friends will get ahead while we are left behind. It’s always hardest with the people we are closest to. You may start out in improv classes with people, and some of them will end up […]

123: Will Hines

Will Hines is a legendary teacher and improviser at the UCB. He has been performing there since 2000 and he headed up the training center in New York for years. Jimmy talked to him about how he was first exposed to improv in New York back in the late ’90s, what the UCB was like when he first started, and what “the game of the scene” means to him.

Jimmy Carrane, Will Hines Answer Your Improv Questions: Part 2

A little over a month ago, Will Hines, a well-known teacher from the UCB, and I started a new segment on our blogs where we decided we would each solicit questions from the improv community and share our answers with you. (By the way, check out Will’s great improv blog, too: http://improvnonsense.tumblr.com/) We had such fun […]

Beware of chasing the carrot on the stick

The one thing that the improv community has taught me over the years is how to chase the carrot at the end of the stick. Whenever I do this, the result is always the same: I end up eating a lot more shit than carrot. It’s rarely worth it. I always end up sacrificing a piece of myself, and I never really get ahead. As I […]

3 Tips for Creating Instant Improv Characters

By far the thing I hear most from improv students when they first start working with me is: “I want to do characters. Teach me how to do characters. My last teacher said I need to do more characters.” I get it. I have struggled with this myself. There was even a time when I […]