Keep saying Yes, And

KEEP SAYING YES, AND… When I started taking improv classes in Chicago in the late ’80s and early ’90s the goal was simple: study with Del Close at the Improv Olympic, get hired by Second City and then get on Saturday Night Live. The path was narrow. Anyone who even thought about teaching, directing or […]

Stop Trying to Be Liked

I got into improv for the wrong reason: to be liked. I was looking for everyone to validate me, especially the audience. “Oh, what a noble thing I am doing,” I thought, “making people laugh.” I was lying to myself. I desperately needed their love, and I would bend and twist myself into any shape they […]

Getting back the joy

Recently, a student in one of my Art of Slow Comedy improv classes admitted she had all these judgments about what you should and shouldn’t do in improv and was trying so hard not to make a mistake that she wasn’t having any fun. The sad thing was, she hadn’t even been doing improv very […]


Don't be afraid of anger

Anger is one of the most intimate emotions and the one many improvisers are most terrified to play on stage. Instead of thinking of anger as a gift to their partner, they think they are doing something wrong. And when even a hint of it starts to bubble up in scene, they stop it immediately, backing away […]

Improv Tips: Stop creating a problem

Lately, I have been noticing that students in my improv classes feel they have to create some sort of problem at the top of the scene. They’ll say something like: “You didn’t pay the rent,” or “Oh, great you broke the TV, now what?” or “I broke Mom’s favorite vase.” This is not a good […]


The anxiety of getting bigger

All of us in the performing arts want to get noticed. We improvisers want to get recognition for our work, and most of us would love to be famous — in my case, maybe too much. I have always looked at fame as something that would take away my years of low self esteem, would make me whole […]


Improv Nerd Archives

Contact Improv Nerd