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The 7 Things Only Improv Lovers Understand

August 10, 2016 by Chris Bell
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There’s a reason why improvisers love improv, and must take improv classes, and never stop talking about improvising. In addition to being an amazingly fun hobby (or, if you’re lucky, a career), improv introduces a boatload of useful life lessons.

Here’s our list of truths that only improv lovers will understand.

Listening is important.


Listening is one of the best things to do to make a relationship stronger, whether it’s paying close attention to what your scene partner is saying, or remembering something your friend told you last time you hung out. There’s no better way to communicate mutual respect than by remembering someone’s name when they introduce themselves, onstage or off.

Letting go of your expectations is freeing.


Sure, being prepared and putting thought into something has never hurt anyone, but there’s nothing worse than not being able to leave expectations behind you. In improv, you learn that it’s more important to go with the flow than it is to insist your original idea gets carried out exactly as you envisioned it. The best part of improv is discovering something new together, not perfectly executing a scene you imagined.

Making your partner look good, makes you look good.


We all know those people who throw co-workers or friends under the bus in order to look better or smarter. And we all hate those people. If you’re too busy hogging the spotlight and putting down your partner, people aren’t going to say “Wow, everyone sucks except that one person.” They’re probably going to think the whole show is bad. If you make your scene partner look good, they’ll make sure you look good too, and you’ll have a good looking show.

Saying”yes” is key.


What has saying “no” ever gotten you? Literally nothing. Saying “yes” is the foundational rule of improv, and should be a foundational rule in your life, too. Hanging out with a new friend. Doing something that scares you. Making a silly face onstage. Yes-saying is the only way to expand your horizons, and improv lovers know that all too well.

It’s best to follow the fun.


If you’re not having fun, why are you doing improv? Chances are if you’re having fun, the audience will too. It’s the same for life. If you do what makes you happy, you’ll find that even the challenging things will teach you lessons.

You can always make something good out of something bad.


You can even bring a sense of fun to your mistakes. Mispronouncing someone’s name or tripping on stage are parts of life. Instead of letting little mistakes get you down, embrace them.

There is only one thing improv lovers know more surely than this, and it’s that…

There is no such thing as a good improv team name.


Every single one is bad. No exceptions. You listen? Still have a bad team name. You say “yes?” You still have a bad team name. You follow the fun? Bad team name.

To be honest, most of these are lessons you can learn throughout your life. But you might as well laugh a ton while learning them.

Want to see some people using improv lessons live? Check out amazing shows at The Second City, iO, and The Annoyance on TodayTix.