3 Lessons I’ve Learned from Improv Nerd This Year

I’ve had a great year, and the thing that I am most grateful for is that I am still learning. Can you believe it at my age?

Though at times bumpy and ego bruising, I’ve learned a ton from doing Improv Nerd — from my guests, from my staff and from the fans.

Here are three tough lesson I learned that I want to share with you at the start of this New Year.

1. Don’t trust your perception
My perception is off. My default perception is that I suck or that particular episode of Improv Nerd sucked — only to find out that we had a ton of downloads and people contacting me saying how much they loved that episode. When it comes to a show, a class, or a rehearsal, don’t trust yourself about how it went, because you will always be wrong. Instead, listen to people who you trust to give you an objective opinion of your work.

My Resolution: Let go of perfectionism and judging myself and others less.

2. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable
I am still terrified when I or my guest becomes uncomfortable in the interview part of the podcast. What I am realizing is that is usually a sign I have just struck gold. One of my favorite moments of 2014 was when Rachael Mason suggested we do our scene in the dark for the improv portion of the show and make it like a radio drama. To say I was uncomfortable would be a lie — I was scared shitless. But despite my fears, the scene turned out great, and it was a wonderful way to get me out of my comfort zone.

Resolution: Lean into the uncomfortability

3. Ask your way to the top
After three years, I still have a hard time asking guests to be on my show. I would be a lot farther along in my career and life if I was not so afraid to ask people for things. I have learned the more you ask, the more no’s you are going to get, but also the more yes’s you are going to get as well. I have come a long way from the beginning, but I still need a lot of help in this department. Thank God for my wife, Lauren, and my assistant, Chloe Fitzpatrick, for giving me the confidence to ask certain people to be on the show, or we would not have had Bob Odenkirk or Broad City on the show this year.

Resolution: Continue to get help in asking.

What are your resolutions for 2015? I’d love to hear what you’re planning on working on this year.

Only one spot left in Jimmy Carrane’s Art of Slow Comedy Level 1 Class, starting Jan. 7th! Sign up today!

3 replies
  1. Gregor
    Gregor says:

    1) To quote Judge Judy, “Practice Punctuality.” It’s not an accident she has a 152-foot yacht named Triumphant Lady. 4:20 is not 4:15. Stop pretending it’s okay to roll in late.

    Resolution: Know your worth and the worth of your teammates. The easiest way to show a teammate their time is as important as your time is showing-up 9-minutes early.

    2) Bringing bagels and schmear to rehearsal fosters goodwill. So does buying your director a cup of coffee (heavy on the cream). Competition is healthy until it’s all encompassing. Before too long, you’re the jerkface willing to step on someone else to get a leg up.

    Resolution: Don’t be a jerkface.

    3) Jimmy Carrane is immensely helpful to my creative process – whether it’s breaking free of writer’s block, freeing my thought process to compose a song or simply getting my fanny back on stage so my performance muscles don’t atrophy.

    Resolution: Focus on the craft. Fuck the result. And from time-to-time, leave a comment saying thank you to Jimmy Carrane 🙂

  2. Stuart Green
    Stuart Green says:

    Hey Jimmy,
    Good things to discover, great things to lean into! And they’ll only grow from here.

    My resolutions within Improv are to simplify my approach to Longform. Essentially, my aim is to really Listen and Respond while satisfying “Game” and serving my scene partner(s). If you have any suggestions, I’m, well, game.

    Cheers and Happy New Years!



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *