improv boston

Bombing at the Top of an Improv Show

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We all want to do the perfect improv show.

Every move is brilliant.

Every edit is just right.

Every scene is hilarious.

But what happens when in the first couple of minutes of an improv show we bomb big time?

Well, if you are like me, you feel shame.

You shut down.

You become best friends with the back wall.

But what if we look at bombing at the top of the show a little differently? What if we looked at it as an enormous gift that could free us, that could help us do an even better show?

It is no different when you are doing scenes and something goes wrong.

You may say the wrong name in scene.

You may say something that contradicts the reality of the scene that has already been established.

You may think the relationship is a mother and a son and it really it turns out it is a boyfriend and girlfriend.

You may get confused that someone is playing a different gender.

This kind stuff happens all the time and the great improvisers look at these moments as opportunities. They take their time to justify the “mistake” and emotionally react to it, and 90 percent of the time they will end up getting a better scene.

Same can be said for bombing at the top of the show.

So your first scene sucked or your first musical improv song made no sense, or you made a move and confused your whole team.

I’ve made these kind of mistakes hundreds of time, and when I don’t let them get me down, a lot of the time these turn out to be some of my best shows.

I have done scenes where I flat out sucked in the first half and in the second half ended up strong because once I had made a mistake, I took the pressure off of myself to do it perfectly.

Sometimes when I make such big mistakes, something is released in me and I’m able to actually play more and have fun.

I am liberated in weird way.

So, the next time your first couple of scenes suck or you screw up in an opening of the Harold, remember it’s all part of the plan to help you do a great show.

Not a perfect show, a great show.

Want personalized feedback from an experienced teacher? Don’t miss Jimmy’s Art of Slow Comedy Level 3 class, starting Sept. 5! Sign up today!

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