Improv Is Easy!

(Then why is it so hard?)

Posts tagged Harold

19 notes

When asked by newer improvisors “What forms are there?”, this is my answer

chrisreblogs:

"The Harold, Montage, La Ronde, Deconstruction, Eventé, Eventé ala Roo Ro, Movie, Documentary, Monoscene, Microscene, Slacker, Kromf, Spokane, Onion, DThe Sleepover, Ladder, Flux Capacitor ie Tracers, Improvised Play, McManus, The Bat, French Harold, Harold Til Bored, Organic Harold, fwand-y Harold, Artificially Flavored Harold, Dearly Departed, The Fugue, The Wait, The Weight, The Way, Bookclub, Season Finale, Hot Tamale, The Burrito, Exploding Dinosaur Pillow Fight, The Chimichanga, Flautas, Whatever, Six Ferrets And A Can Of Worms, Knicker-Knock, and The Flibbity Fibbit.  Those are the basic ones.

Filed under improv improvisation comedy forms Harold evente

8 notes


I was doing a Harold the other night, and I had a great idea for our second beat. I “attempted” to initiate the scene by being the first to walk on, and then pulled out two chairs and placed them center stage side-by-side and then sat down in one of them expecting my scene partner to sit next to me. He did not. He ignored my move and initiated something completely different that squashed my idea. Needless to say the scene didn’t go well. The scene just turned into a repeat of our first beat.

I’m not sure what your question is, so here are a few small things might help with second beats.
Speak your initiation! Pulling out chairs is not very much information — it basically means you want to sit down. It can be inferred that you want your partner to sit next to you, or maybe you just wanna be on a couch or something. If you talk, your partner will listen.
Indicate who you wanna do your scene with, either by saying the character’s name or pointing at them.
Be ready to let go of your idea. If someone beats you to the punch with the initiation, sometimes you can also make yours work, and sometimes you have to drop it and react to them. That’ll happen about 50% of the time. The sooner you can accept this, the sooner you won’t feel your idea is squashed.
Also, the wording of your post seems a bit judgmental, and if that’s going through your head, it’s only gonna get in the way of having good shows. If that’s the case, then there are a few things worth recognizing…
Every idea is great. Sure, your idea was great, but so is every other idea (except maybe stepping out without any idea). Treat them as such, and make ‘em work.
Your teammates aren’t mind-readers. Your move wasn’t necessarily ignored — they can’t tell what your idea is unless you share it. If you silently pull out two chairs, that’s your move. Now it’s their turn, and their reaction to that can be ANYTHING. And that reaction is great.
Every scene can go well. It got off to a rough start. That’s OK, it happens. A lot. You’re never trapped into repeating the first beat. Part of improvisation is learning to roll with the punches and just improvise. Heighten, explore what you’re given and it can be a second beat that surprises everyone. 
I hope this is helpful! If it wasn’t, please ask again with a more specific question.
Ask improv-is-easy a question!

I was doing a Harold the other night, and I had a great idea for our second beat. I “attempted” to initiate the scene by being the first to walk on, and then pulled out two chairs and placed them center stage side-by-side and then sat down in one of them expecting my scene partner to sit next to me. He did not. He ignored my move and initiated something completely different that squashed my idea. Needless to say the scene didn’t go well. The scene just turned into a repeat of our first beat.

I’m not sure what your question is, so here are a few small things might help with second beats.

  • Speak your initiation! Pulling out chairs is not very much information — it basically means you want to sit down. It can be inferred that you want your partner to sit next to you, or maybe you just wanna be on a couch or something. If you talk, your partner will listen.
  • Indicate who you wanna do your scene with, either by saying the character’s name or pointing at them.
  • Be ready to let go of your idea. If someone beats you to the punch with the initiation, sometimes you can also make yours work, and sometimes you have to drop it and react to them. That’ll happen about 50% of the time. The sooner you can accept this, the sooner you won’t feel your idea is squashed.

Also, the wording of your post seems a bit judgmental, and if that’s going through your head, it’s only gonna get in the way of having good shows. If that’s the case, then there are a few things worth recognizing…

  • Every idea is great. Sure, your idea was great, but so is every other idea (except maybe stepping out without any idea). Treat them as such, and make ‘em work.
  • Your teammates aren’t mind-readers. Your move wasn’t necessarily ignored — they can’t tell what your idea is unless you share it. If you silently pull out two chairs, that’s your move. Now it’s their turn, and their reaction to that can be ANYTHING. And that reaction is great.
  • Every scene can go well. It got off to a rough start. That’s OK, it happens. A lot. You’re never trapped into repeating the first beat. Part of improvisation is learning to roll with the punches and just improvise. Heighten, explore what you’re given and it can be a second beat that surprises everyone. 

I hope this is helpful! If it wasn’t, please ask again with a more specific question.

Ask improv-is-easy a question!

Filed under improv comedy Harold

18 notes

amyamyamyaimee asked:

How long did it take for you not to suck at improv? 

Here’s an answer that might prove unpopular: It wasn’t until I was studying with Becky Drysdale (maybe six or seven years in?) that I felt I REALLY understood how to improvise.
I don’t know if it was the timing so much as Becky who made things click, but the NYC improv scene lost one of its greatest teachers when she moved to LA.
Although… after performing the Movie twice a week for about a year - roughly 100 shows - I felt I knew that form pretty well. There’s an unpopular saying that might’ve been phased out that says it takes about 100 Harolds to fully “get” it.
It’s unpopular because 1) it might not be true and 2) most improvisers will never perform 100 Harolds on a stage, so no one wants to hear it.
amyamyamyaimee asked:

What got you noticed by the community?

Oh, geez, I don’t know. My teachers saw something I had and vouched for me, I guess. Early on I’d gotten into a Movie class and performed well enough to be invited to join the new team. I just took to it sort of naturally, although in hindsight that doesn’t seem true, as I struggled constantly.
Maybe I was just reliable as a human being?
How to get noticed in a good way: basically, don’t be one of those Nightmare People we all know and avoid. And the sooner you can just comfortably be yourself (in person and on stage) and put away unnecessary bits and posturing, the better it’ll be.

amyamyamyaimee asked:

How long did it take for you not to suck at improv? 

Here’s an answer that might prove unpopular: It wasn’t until I was studying with Becky Drysdale (maybe six or seven years in?) that I felt I REALLY understood how to improvise.

I don’t know if it was the timing so much as Becky who made things click, but the NYC improv scene lost one of its greatest teachers when she moved to LA.

Although… after performing the Movie twice a week for about a year - roughly 100 shows - I felt I knew that form pretty well. There’s an unpopular saying that might’ve been phased out that says it takes about 100 Harolds to fully “get” it.

It’s unpopular because 1) it might not be true and 2) most improvisers will never perform 100 Harolds on a stage, so no one wants to hear it.

amyamyamyaimee asked:

What got you noticed by the community?

Oh, geez, I don’t know. My teachers saw something I had and vouched for me, I guess. Early on I’d gotten into a Movie class and performed well enough to be invited to join the new team. I just took to it sort of naturally, although in hindsight that doesn’t seem true, as I struggled constantly.

Maybe I was just reliable as a human being?

How to get noticed in a good way: basically, don’t be one of those Nightmare People we all know and avoid. And the sooner you can just comfortably be yourself (in person and on stage) and put away unnecessary bits and posturing, the better it’ll be.

Filed under Improv Harold

0 notes

Ooh, fun question!
It’s all semantics, really. I prefer to say “the Harold” (because with every other form, it’s like a Monoscene, a Movie, even a La Ronde, which is redundant) but if someone wants to call it just Harold, that’s fine by me.
I’d love to know why people do that, actually… maybe I’d come around to their line of thinking.
The only reasons I’ve ever heard have been a bit pretentious, to be honest. One person said he called it that so that improv would be taken more seriously as an art form. I feel if you wanna do that, then just treat improv more seriously as an art form, and the audiences will soon agree with you. The name has nothing to do with it.
The name Harold came about as a joke, anyway, didn’t it? Like, a reference to a Beatle’s haircut? So… whatever makes you happier, Brandon!
PS: In Australia they call the Harold “Chuzwullah”! (This isn’t true, just a Simpsons reference and a private joke between myself.)
PPS: In Japan my students called it Harold-san. (This is… probably not true. I don’t remember. I wish it were true, though.)

Ooh, fun question!

It’s all semantics, really. I prefer to say “the Harold” (because with every other form, it’s like a Monoscene, a Movie, even a La Ronde, which is redundant) but if someone wants to call it just Harold, that’s fine by me.

I’d love to know why people do that, actually… maybe I’d come around to their line of thinking.

The only reasons I’ve ever heard have been a bit pretentious, to be honest. One person said he called it that so that improv would be taken more seriously as an art form. I feel if you wanna do that, then just treat improv more seriously as an art form, and the audiences will soon agree with you. The name has nothing to do with it.

The name Harold came about as a joke, anyway, didn’t it? Like, a reference to a Beatle’s haircut? So… whatever makes you happier, Brandon!

PS: In Australia they call the Harold “Chuzwullah”! (This isn’t true, just a Simpsons reference and a private joke between myself.)

PPS: In Japan my students called it Harold-san. (This is… probably not true. I don’t remember. I wish it were true, though.)

Filed under Improv Harold

16 notes

Digsy Finally Has A Tumblr.: Harold Night Stats (Update!)

This is a very fun look at Harold Night!

(Click above for the full post.)

digsyfinallyhasa:

Here’s some stats!

Bold means still active so their rank will increase.

Italics means information incomplete, since the team existed in November 2000 and most likely before the website remembers.

MOST SHOWS PERFORMED ON HAROLD NIGHT

  1. Bastian: 133
  2. RAGNARÖCK: 102
  3. DeCoster: 95
  4. Creep: 87
  5. 1985: 81
  6. Sandino: 74, Monkeydick/Janice: 74
  7. Optimist International: 71
  8. Ice-9: 69
  9. Badman: 67
  10. fwand: 65

LONGEST RUN ON HAROLD NIGHT

  1. Bastian: 204 weeks (2/13/07-1/4/11)
  2. DeCoster: 177 weeks (8/14/07-12/28/10)
  3. Monkeydick/Janice: 165 weeks (4/5/01-11/14/02, 1/16/03-3/20/03, 6/17/03-10/12/04)
  4. RAGNARÖCK: 159 weeks (5/27/08-6/7/11)
  5. Ice-9: 143 weeks (?-8/5/03)
  6. Creep: 138 weeks (11/16/04-7/3/07)
  7. Optimist International: 137 weeks (2/4/02-9/21/04), Neutrino: 137 weeks (?-6/10/03)
  8. Dr. Awesome: 123 weeks (?-3/13/03)
  9. Badman: 110 weeks (4/28/09-5/31/11)
  10. Police Chief Rumble: 109 weeks (9/26/02-10/19/04)

MOST RESIDENCY ON HAROLD NIGHT (percentage of weeks during run that the team performed)

  1. Reuben Williams: performed 45 shows in 49 weeks
  2. 1985: performed 81 shows in 108 weeks
  3. fwand: 65 shows in 87 weeks
  4. Sandino: 74 shows in 103 weeks
  5. American Cousin: 10 shows in 14 weeks
  6. The Shoves: 51 shows in 73 weeks
  7. Grandma’s Ashes: 43 shows in 63 weeks
  8. Still Mike: 17 shows in 25 weeks
  9. Airwolf: 8 shows in 12 weeks
  10. Bastian: 133 shows in 204 weeks

(Source: uncannybrettwhite)

Filed under Improv Harold UCB

12 notes

larhunter:

post-audition tip:
I took an audition class once and the teacher recommended you schedule it so that right after the audition you have somewhere to be, like an appointment or a date.  That way when you get out your thoughts go towards what you’re about to do and you don’t brood as much about the audition.

larhunter:

post-audition tip:

I took an audition class once and the teacher recommended you schedule it so that right after the audition you have somewhere to be, like an appointment or a date.  That way when you get out your thoughts go towards what you’re about to do and you don’t brood as much about the audition.

(Source: improv-is-easy)

Filed under Auditions Improv Comedy UCB Harold

12 notes

Great question, Nicole!
Unfortunately, I don’t have the world’s greatest answer, so I’m gonna make this a photo post and end with a question mark so other people can chime in if they’re so inclined.
Dealing with nerves is unique to every person, and so you gotta do what puts yourself in the best mindset beforehand, like following your pre- and post-show rituals. If this means wearing certain clothes or eating a certain something or going to the bathroom (gross!) before the audition, do it up!
Similarly, everyone’s got their own methods of self-destruction. Getting out of our own way, well… it depends. The easiest is to not worry about yourself or what you’re gonna do, but what your partner’s up to, and how to give ‘em what they want in a way that you find fun and funny.
And if you don’t know what they want, then just react in a way that is believable but also fun and funny for you.
Anyway, here’s some advice, basic as it might be…
BEFORE THE AUDITION…
For Del’s sake, please don’t worry about it too much beforehand. It’s improv, you can’t prepare or imagine what’s gonna happen. Seriously, don’t worry about it.
Show up early, but not TOO early or you’ll just be in your head the entire time.
Chat it up with your group, so at least you’re not afraid to look ‘em in the eye during showtime.
DURING THE AUDITION…
Think of it as your chance to do a scene you’ve always wanted to do and to try something you’ve always wanted to try and to do something fun.
Don’t focus on making the judges laugh. Focus on your partner and yourself.
After your first scene, drop it and don’t stew. Pay attention to the present.
If you’re on the backline and someone does something funny, don’t be afraid to laugh.
AFTER THE AUDITION…
Feel free to share stories with your friends. Bonding helps.
Don’t beat yourself up. They were just two scenes.
Find something distracting to do on the evening when they make callback announcements, so you’re not sitting by the computer or phone hating yourself.
Anyone else?

Great question, Nicole!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the world’s greatest answer, so I’m gonna make this a photo post and end with a question mark so other people can chime in if they’re so inclined.

Dealing with nerves is unique to every person, and so you gotta do what puts yourself in the best mindset beforehand, like following your pre- and post-show rituals. If this means wearing certain clothes or eating a certain something or going to the bathroom (gross!) before the audition, do it up!

Similarly, everyone’s got their own methods of self-destruction. Getting out of our own way, well… it depends. The easiest is to not worry about yourself or what you’re gonna do, but what your partner’s up to, and how to give ‘em what they want in a way that you find fun and funny.

And if you don’t know what they want, then just react in a way that is believable but also fun and funny for you.

Anyway, here’s some advice, basic as it might be…

BEFORE THE AUDITION…

  • For Del’s sake, please don’t worry about it too much beforehand. It’s improv, you can’t prepare or imagine what’s gonna happen. Seriously, don’t worry about it.
  • Show up early, but not TOO early or you’ll just be in your head the entire time.
  • Chat it up with your group, so at least you’re not afraid to look ‘em in the eye during showtime.

DURING THE AUDITION…

  • Think of it as your chance to do a scene you’ve always wanted to do and to try something you’ve always wanted to try and to do something fun.
  • Don’t focus on making the judges laugh. Focus on your partner and yourself.
  • After your first scene, drop it and don’t stew. Pay attention to the present.
  • If you’re on the backline and someone does something funny, don’t be afraid to laugh.

AFTER THE AUDITION…

  • Feel free to share stories with your friends. Bonding helps.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. They were just two scenes.
  • Find something distracting to do on the evening when they make callback announcements, so you’re not sitting by the computer or phone hating yourself.

Anyone else?

Filed under Improv UCB Auditions Harold