13 March 2015. Monza, Italy

The sun had finished it’s job for the day as the night sky overtook Monza.

Paola and I were walking along the Royal Villa of Monza, an enormous building that once served as the home of the royal family of Savoia. That is until King Humbert I was murdered there.

Paola had offered to give me a tour of the Italian city while we waited for her sister and her friend to meet us for dinner a little later on. We were going for pizza, the Italian staple, as I wanted to see how it compared to what I knew to be pizza based on my experiences in New York and Chicago.

As we rounded the corner of the Royal Villa we took a right. Along our left was a nice lighted path, so cool that I had decided to take a picture.

A Lighted Path

Around that time, as I stopped to get out my phone to snap the image, Paola got a phone call. She picked up and “ciao’d,” as they do in Italy, and started speaking in Italian. Finishing my picture, I started to walk down the path of the lights when Paola motioned over to me.

It seemed we weren’t going to be taking the lighted path I had snapped a photo of, but rather we were going further to our right, into a lightly forested area. That lightly forested area quickly became a heavily forested area, with the tree branches above obstructing any lights coming from the night sky.

Before long, it was pitch dark and I couldn’t see anything.

I’ve never been much of a fan of the dark. I blame my two older brothers, one who made me watch scary movies like It and Candyman at far too young of an age. The other who used to “prank” me by jumping out at me. I’m not entirely sure where a “prank” becomes psychological warfare, but when you’re 8 years old, the two seem pretty interchangeable.

Paola and I continued to walk towards the black and I started to get just a little teensy bit nervous. There was, of course, no real reason to be nervous at all. I mean, I knew Paola.

If I was there with a stranger at this point, I probably would have freaked out, considering she was on the phone next to me speaking in a language I didn’t understand, in a country I’ve never been, heading into the darkness of a forest.

But Paola was someone I knew. She was the ex-girlfriend of a friend of mine. She had lived in New York for a while. I had hung out with her on a number of occasions. She’s actually one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She was the person I was staying with while I was in the Milan area. She’d offered to take me on this tour…

We continued walking and my heart started beating a little bit faster. With each step we took, we were getting a little further into what I was starting to assume was a murder forest.

Paola, unaware of my increasing heartbeat, continued to talk on her phone, and the paranoia started to slowly set in.

Wait, did she get a phone call or did she call someone?

Initial thoughts of “This isn’t safe for either of us” turned into, “Maybe this just isn’t safe for me.

Maybe she’s on the phone with Italian hitmen who are planning on shooting me (or stabbing me, depending on how strict Italian gun laws are), and stealing my kidneys.

It was completely irrational, of course… Or was it? Had the breakup between Paola and my friend not gone that well. Was this a long seeded plan for revenge? Or was this an anti-American thing?

It was my first day in Italy, the first time I had ever been, and I was fairly certain that Italians didn’t really care one way or another about Americans. But maybe they weren’t over World War II or had been offended by the success of The Italian Job.

We continued to walk further into the darkness, my heart racing faster than Usain Bolt. I was moments away from turning around and running when Paola wrapped up her phone call.

“Oh, that was my sister. She’s going to be a few minutes late so we can walk a little bit further,” she said, as we made a right down a moonlit path.

In front of us was a clearing and within a few seconds, I realized that we were just on the backside of the palace.

“On this side, you can see there’s a restaurant in here,” Paola continued, pointing. “You can kind of look through the windows. It’s kind of cool. But this my favorite view of the palace, from the back. Anyway, what were we talking about before?”

And just like that, everything seemed normal again. We were no longer in murder forest and Paola was no longer a potential kidney-harvester.

We picked up our conversation where we had left off: on her possibly wanting to live in an RV for awhile because then she could drive to wherever she wanted and sleep.

After all that worrying, I wasn’t murdered in Italy. But I might get kidnapped

11 March 2015. Geneva, Switzerland

I looked out over the empty row of seats. The lights were down, and the title of my presentation displayed on the screen in big, bold, blue letters, “The Humor Mindset.”

I had just finished a technical run through for a talk I was giving tomorrow, as part of an internal TEDx event at Procter & Gamble in Geneva.

Meeting the Speakers (Round 1)

I started to walk off stage, and handed the clicker to Kevin, the next presenter doing their walk-through.

Kevin and I chatted as the tech people swapped out presentations and had a couple of laughs. He found out that I did stand up and improv comedy, and said, “Oh, I could never do that. It’s so nerve wracking.”

“It’s something you get used to once you do it a lot,” I responded and didn’t think anything of it. We finished our conversation, and I headed towards the back of the room as Kevin started to click through his slides, getting used to the microphone.

On my way back, I ran into Luvuyo, another speaker on the event the next day. We chatted about our excitement for the talks and how we were happy to have arrived traveling in from far distances.

I headed to the back of the room, where I chatted with Derek, another speaker, one who I had shared the car ride over from the hotel. I remember when we had gotten to the office, we had to go down one floor and could either take a flight of stairs or an elevator.

Derek had a small carry on with him, so I had joked that with him and his suitcase, we’d better take the elevator rather than the stairs.

All normal conversation among speakers before a big event.

Meeting the Speakers (Round 2)

Later that evening I returned to my hotel room. I wanted to run through my presentation a few more times before heading off to dreamland. But before the rehearsing I decided to do a quick check on emails from the day.

The email sitting atop my inbox was from Gaby, one of the organizers of the event. It included the list of speakers and their bios. As I read through each one, I thought back to my encounters that day.

Kevin Richardson

Kevin, who I had talked to after my tech rehearsal, was Kevin Richardson, also known as the Lion Whisperer. If you’ve ever seen the video of the man getting hugged by the lion, that’s Kevin Richardson. He helps raise lions starting while they’re young and they treat him as one of the pride.

I thought back to our conversation, about how he said stand up and improv comedy was scary. I thought to myself, “This is coming from a guy who lives with lions.”

Luvoyo Mandela

Luvuyo, who I had talked to on my way back, was Luvuyo Mandela, of the Mandela family, the great grandson of Nelson Mandela.

He’s working to develop responsible, manageable and sustainable interventions to enhance corporate social responsibility solutions (among many other incredible things) in South Africa.

The man who I had joked with about traveling a far distance had come nearly twice as far as me and was a Mandela (South Africa’s version of the Kennedys).

Derek Redmond

Derek, the one who I had ridden over with and had joked probably needed to take the elevator because he had a bag, was Derek Redmond, former Olympic athlete.

Specifically he’s the Olympian who pulled his hamstring in the 1992 Olympics in the middle of a race. And, if you’ve seen the video, you know that he gets up to finish the race on one good leg and his dad comes down to help him across the finish line.

He’s since gone on to play for the international basketball team for Great Britain, win Celebrity Gladiators, and more.

Meeting Them As Humans

I sat in my hotel room, surprised and humbled. Here I was, just a guy from Ohio, talking about humor, sharing the stage with the Lion Whisperer, political royalty, and an Olympic athlete.

First, I thought, “Wow. I’m really happy that I met them first, before reading about who they were, because I had a chance to treat them like actual people, like they actually are. We joked, I wasn’t in my head about what I was going to say, and we connected as humans.”

My second thought was, “I wonder how much of an idiot they think that I am. I had ‘re-assured’ Kevin that stand-up isn’t that scary. I had talked with Luvuyo about having a long flight. And I had joked with Derek about not being physically able to take a flight of stairs.”

The next day we had a phenomenal event. All of the speakers (not just those listed here) had incredible stories to share. I mentioned at dinner how I was happy that I met everyone before I saw their bios, so I could meet them as people and not as their resumes, and they agreed. We shared recaps of our day and what we had learned. Then we all ate fondue.

speaker dinner

2014 was a slow year for me Twitter-wise, with only 123 tweets (down from 323 tweets last year). On a positive note, Twitter now shares more statistics, so I know those 123 tweets led to 25,535 impressions, 59 retweets, and 70 favorites.

Here are my top 20 tweets from 2014:

Of course if you want these nuggets of wisdom puns in real-time, follow me on twitter @drewtarvin.

For the third year in a row, one of my goals was to perform at least 100 times. Last year I hit 133 performances, the year before 119. This year it was 102.

Here are some stats regarding the performances:

  • 54% of shows were shortform improv, 5% of shows were traditional longform improv, 23% were musical improv, and 17% were stand-up.
  • I had 14 shows in July (my busiest month) and only 4 shows in September. I averaged just 8.5 shows per month (3 less shows per month than last year).
  • I performed for approximately 6,100 people in 2013, including 1200 people at the Gilda Club benefit and 5 at an early ComedySportz show.

And finally, a show breakdown by team:

  • ComedySportz – 56
  • Mint Condition – 23
  • Stand-Up – 17
  • Other – 6

Ignoring retweets and direct messages, I tweeted 323 times in 2013. 99% of those tweets were puns. Here are my 20 favorites from the last year:

  1. Composers are unsung heroes of music.
  2. I bet Ford Mustangs get stolen a lot. It makes sense for a muscle car to get jacked.
  3. In highschool I was like butter on bread because I was honor roll.
  4. When deciding between a life of poetry or a life of crime, you have to weigh the prose versus the cons.
  5. Yo momma so FAT her max file size is 4gb.
  6. I got kidnapped because I was too lazy to try to get away. If only I had ran some.
  7. If I perfected cloning, I would be beside myself.
  8. I overcharged a man for a fishing rod that I claimed was magic. He bought it hook, line, and sinker.
  9. “Does this abacus work?” “I wouldn’t count on it.”
  10. I’m so hip, old people break me.
  11. Age before beauty, alphabetically speaking.
  12. I can’t believe I didn’t win that essay contest; I’m at a loss for words.
  13. I can’t stand when my legs fall asleep.
  14. Do you buy used prosthetics from a second hand store?
  15. A girl called me at 3am last night, drunk, wanting to go look for treasure. Just another booty call.
  16. Sure worldwide is impressive, but what about worldlong?
  17. “Whatever, you’re not my real ladder!” -What I say whenever I use my step-ladder.
  18. “We should become pathological liars.” “Let’s not and say we did.” “That’s the spirit!”
  19. I’d like to cancel my trip to this restaurant but I have my reservations.
  20. I thought I could sit on a bench. Some guy told me I couldn’t. I stood, corrected.

Want to read new puns as they come out? Follow me on twitter.

Congratulations! You’ve finished your first level of improv classes. You have 8 weeks of training under your belt, a new group of improv companions, and a rocking show that you did for friends, family, and strangers.

So, now what?

Here are 5 things you can do after you’ve finished your first improv class:

1. Take Another Improv Class

The most common next step after finishing Level 1 is to take Level 2 at the same school / theater. You’ll pick up right where you left off and start learning more advanced techniques.

Another option is to take a Level 1 class at a different theater. This can give you a different perspective on how to approach improv, as well as give you another chance to work on the basics.

2. Start a Practice Group

Unfortunately you may not be able to jump right into the next level of classes (because of scheduling, availability, or financing), or you might find that you want to improvise more than once a week.

If you’re in either boat, starting or joining a practice group can be a great way to keep practicing improv outside of the classroom. To get started, all you need is a group of people, a rehearsal spot, and a coach.

3. Find a Way to Perform

If your favorite (or least favorite) part of class was the show, then you may want to get on stage more frequently. In NYC there are a number of free jams / mixers around the city where you can show your stuff.

Or, if you do create a practice group, you can find venues where your Indie team can perform. Either way, getting on stage will help you apply the things you learned in class and help improve your confidence on stage.

4. Try Another Art Form

Trying improv might have sparked a passion for comedy or performance that isn’t limited to just making stuff up. You might be interested in taking a sketch class, trying stand-up comedy, or even giving acting a try.

These art forms all benefit from having strong improv skills and can be a great outlet for performance that’s not improv.

5. Take Your Knowledge Out into the World

Whether you continue on formally with improv training or decide to hang up your improvised boxing gloves, you can take the concepts of improv out into your everyday life.

Ideas like Yes And, supporting your scene partner, and really listening have tremendous value in the corporate world, in education, and in day to day life.

Applying these concepts can be as simple as keeping them in mind as you go about life, or may include deliberately using the concepts in what’s called applied improvisation.

Regardless of what you do next, congratulations! You’ve experienced the first level of improvisation; go out and use your new found knowledge for good, humor, and funny.

So you finally decided to sign up for your first improv class? That’s awesome, congratulations.

Over the years I’ve taken a number of classes; some of have been incredible, others not so much. Here are a 10 tips I’ve learned on how to make the most out of your maiden voyage into classes on improvisation.

#1) Have an open mind.

Let’s be honest, some improv exercises are weird. Organic openings, honest emotional monologues, and even Bunny Bunny can seem weird at first. But they all have a purpose in making you a better improviser.

Keep an open mind and allow yourself to truly commit to the exercise.

#2) Don’t try to be “right.”

I like to be right. I also like to do things right. As a result, improv can be a challenge. When doing improv exercises or scenes, I used to have a mentality of “I want to do this exercise correctly” or even figure out the purpose of it and then do it “perfectly” to impress the instructor.

Improv doesn’t work like that. First, the exercises are not meant to be done perfectly. You’re going to forget a word or two when jumping into Hot Spot–that’s more than fine. Second, the beauty of improv is that there is no wrong choice, but that also means there is no right choice either. There’s only the choice you make in the moment and what you do with it afterwards.

#3) Leave your judgment at the door.

You’re going to do bad improv scenes. Your classmates are going to do bad improv scenes. Heck, your instructor may lead you into bad improv scenes (or “stupid” exercises or “dumb” sidecoaching or countless other things you may want to criticize).

In fact, if you aren’t doing any bad scenes or exercises that challenge your style of play, you probably aren’t pushing yourself.

The point is, leave any type of that judgment at the door. If you want to critique your own play later, after class (as I often do as a way to see where I need to make improvements), fine. Just don’t do it in class. It takes you away from the moment and distracts you from what’s important–being present for your other classmates.

#4) Be confident but humble yourself.

Some people enter into an improv class with loads of experience. Maybe they were in an improv group in college or have performed in theater or have done a number of shows as a stand-up comedian. Some people enter class never having done any type of performance before.

Whichever group you fall into, be confident in your ideas (they’re already awesome, they may just need to be tweaked as you go), but also be humble about your skill.

This second point is especially true for people who have improv experience. You may start to think “I’m too good for this” or “I already know all this.” Sure you might already know concepts like “Yes And,” but it can be hugely beneficial to take a step back and review the basics from time-to-time.

Use a return to basic improv as an opportunity to work on a new style or challenge yourself in a new way. Be confident in your abilities but humble yourself and do all of the exercises with 100% commitment.

#5) Get to know your classmates.

In all the classes I’ve taken the one thing more important than the instructor has been my classmates. And I don’t mean who the people are, but what’s my relationship to them, how well do I get to know them.

The classes that I’ve hated or were ambivalent about were the ones where I didn’t get to know the 15 other people who I’d be spending 8 weeks with. They were just acquaintances I saw once a week.

The classes that I’ve loved have been the ones where I got to know the people I was learning with. We would go out together after class, see shows together, or even just do bits over email. Not only does it make the class more fun, it also makes the improv scenes better.

And a bit of forecasting for you: it’s the people you stay connected to that will likely make up your first Indie team (an important next step after your first few levels of classes).

Note: The first 5 tips were more on the mindset and attitude to have while in class. The next 5 are more practical in nature.

#6) Bring a notebook (and pen).

You don’t have to take extensive notes (like I did), but write down key phrases or ideas that your teacher says that you like. Some of my favorite improv quotes include:

  • “Treat your fellow players like geniuses and poets.”
  • “Be more brave than impressive.”
  • “We want to see the t-rex with the backpack.”

#7) Bring a bottle of water.

It’s always good to stay hydrated and you’ll likely be talking and/or moving around a lot.

#8) Eat something before class.

You don’t want to be distracted by hunger while you’re focusing on becoming a better improviser.

#9) Wear appropriate clothing.

While you may look great in that suit or stunning in that dress, it will likely restrict your choices as an improviser. You want to wear comfortable clothing that you would be fine rolling around in–you never know when your improv scene is going to require demonstrating “stop, drop, and roll” or re-enacting an army “crawl-through-the-trenches” scene.

If you’re coming directly from work (as I so often did), either bring a change of clothes or be willing to spend a little more on dry-cleaning in case you get dirt on your business attire.

#10) Most importantly, have fun.

No matter what your reason for taking an improv class, you should have fun. Not just because, “yay, fun!” but because it will make your improv scenes better. When you’re enjoying your time on stage with your classmates, you’ll make moves that excite you and your fellow players. And isn’t the whole point of improv to have fun? I think so.

For the second year in a row, one of my goals was to perform at least 100 times. Last year I hit 119 performances, this year I hit 133.

Here are some stats regarding the performances:

  • 41% of shows were shortform improv, 36% of shows were traditional longform improv, 18% were musical improv, and 5% were stand-up.
  • I had 19 shows in July (my highest) and only 5 shows in both September and October (my lowest). I averaged 11 shows per month or 2.5 shows per week.
  • I performed for roughly 5,000 people in 2012. My biggest audience was in front of 400 people (our CSz Championship Show in Chicago); my smallest was in front of 4 people (at a stand-up open mic).

And finally, a show breakdown by team:

  • ComedySportz – 51
  • Mint Condition – 29
  • Silver Fox – 18
  • Grappler – 18
  • Stand-Up – 7
  • Other – 10

It’s no secret that I love puns and wordplay. At this point, it’s almost exclusively what I tweet, with 2012 being no exception. Over the course of the year, I had 319 tweets. My favorites are shared here.

  1. “How good are you with PowerPoint?”
    “I Excel at it.”
    “Was that a Microsoft Office pun?”
    “Word.”
  2. You should buy stock in Altiods because their can fits well into a 3-piece suit. It’s a good in-vest-mint.
  3. Windshield wiper fluid is the most gangsta part of a car. It’s from the hood.
  4. I asked a man “is that a cigarette you’re smoking?” He said, “Close, but no, cigar.”
  5. I sold a 50 cent lollipop to a guy for a $1. Haha, sucker.
  6. “Hey Sherlock, what’s that grade before middle school?” “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”
  7. Flight agent: “Your son is quite unruly. Do you want to check him with your bags?” Man: “Thanks but I think I’ll carry on my wayward son.”
  8. Did a winter activity last night while listening to 90’s rap. Yes, I went Ice Ice Skating (bun dun dun da da dun dun).
  9. A friend of mine is addicted to dressing like a nun. It’s such a bad habit.
  10. I’m waiting in line to get some ribs. Sometimes I hate barbequeues.
  11. At a slushie party for judges: “just ice will be served.”
  12. Too many grammar errors make me [sic].
  13. Better “late” than “never” unless you’re playing Scrabble.
  14. If you want to get a job catching lobsters, you have to be good at networking.
  15. A friend of mine was wearing a hideous looking pin on her shirt. I wanted to tell her but didn’t know how to broach the subject…
  16. My friend is going to marry a soccer player. I guess she’s a keeper.
  17. I rank playgrounds on a sliding scale.
  18. A man was accused of stealing cement but was released due to lack of concrete evidence.
  19. Before you criticize a British person, try walking 1.60934 kilometers in their boots.
  20. Deals that offer 60 of something for only 50 cents are a dime-a-dozen.
  21. In a rap battle, it’s one man verses another.
  22. Quasimodo? I don’t know who that is but the name rings a bell.
  23. If you think about it, shouldn’t “trial size” mean enough to serve 12 of your peers?
  24. If we talk philosophy at an Italian restaurant, I’ll give you some penne for your thoughts.
  25. Call me paranoid but ever since I joined twitter I’ve had this weird feeling that people are following me.

Starting in 2002, Billy Merritt (of Ninja, Robot, Pirate fame) started writing what he called “Billy Merrit’s Improv Party.” It started as a story to share his thoughts on improv and turned into a full-blown thread of awesome improv tips.

I definitely recommend reading the entire thing (though it is a bit lengthy at 50 posts). It was originally posted on the Improv Resource Center. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s probably the most active forum on improv out there.

Note: I’ve fixed some spelling and grammatical errors, but everything comes from Billy. I’ve bolded tips that particularly resonate with me.

50 Improv Tips from Billy Merritt’s Improv Party

  1. Every scene has a sound track to it. All scenes have rhythm. Some scenes rock out like Rush. Some scenes hit you like the Call of the Valkries.
  2. The Harold is a musical in a sense, You have the Overture, three songs that you revisit and a couple of rousing dance numbers.
  3. You cannot effectivly play any GAME in any scene unless you know who you are and where you are.
  4. Don’t sever your connections to the outside world, don’t become totally isolated in the community we have created, if you do, you will implode. We are conduits. We observe, take in, and record into our sense memory. We then take that information and release it on the stage. Using our improv skills we make that information dance, sing, and jump through hoops. If you stop collecting information you just have hoops.
  5. It’s a lot of work only if you make it alot of work. With each line of dialog your character’s history becomes more clear, the more clear it becomes, the easier the choices become.
  6. Wit is not something you just have, it is something that you must earn. You must earn it everyday [by continuing to learn].
  7. Everybody has an opinion, so every character you portray should have an opinion. You start with an opinion and eventually it grows into a philosophy.
  8. When in doubt talk about philosophy.
  9. You become an improviser, once you feel you have it down enough that you can improvise with anyone at any time.
  10. You can’t eliminate all bad habits. Sometimes you have to break the rules in order to further the scene and go where you never thought you could.
  11. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, don’t play it safe. How else will you make discoveries. 
  12. When a scene is started you tend to ask yourself who are these people, where are these people, and what is happening? But do you ever ask when are these people?
  13. There is no heightening from blue, just more blue.
  14. The most important thing is the Moment. You do all that work so that you can be in the “Moment.”
  15. We need to check in with each other every now and then so that we all know what is going on, but we don’t need to do it all the time.
  16. You can have a plot, but you don’t need to talk about it.
  17. How can you expect to do an improvisational scene without really knowing the people in the scene. Once you know the people, the information flows all over the scene.
  18. Not knowing where you are going to go in a scene yet knowing that it is going to come out all right is the core of great improv.
  19. Having said all that, of course there is plot in improvisation, and most of the time it works really well. But when it works well, it is not because of the players playing to the plot. It is because of the players playing to each other and to the scene at hand.
  20. Let the story come to you , don’t go looking for the story.
  21. Any chance that you can place personal items into the scenes with you, do it. Make it personal, it grounds you to the scene, and it grounds you to the truth.
  22. You should always walk away from an improv session and ask yourself, what have I learned, how can I use this information, how can I keep this information with me until I need it.?
  23. Improvisation is an art form. Anyone can paint a picture, a good picture. But it takes more than being able to paint, to be a great artist, it takes patience, it takes observation, it takes an ability to learn when there is nothing left to learn.
  24. Performing is art, it is about a sense of play, it is about growing and being allowed to fail. Producing is about business, it is about attendance, advertising, financial success. Get your art down first, develop confidence in your art , then focus on the production. Never let the production override your art. That is bad business.
  25. You repeat back to your partner what you feel is important in what they just said, then both of you know whats important in the conversation you are having.
  26. In acting you are told that your “being” comes from 4 places. The Head, The Heart, The Stomach, The Groin. Acting from the groin, that it is all about taking action. To find something in your scene to fuck, to engage, to become a part of. Coming from the gut, what does that mean? It means to react, to listen, to be affected. To act from the heart, is to act with emotion. To act with emotion is to feel the words that you are saying.
  27. It is all about being observant, seeing things and always in the back of your head saying to yourself, I can use this in a scene.
  28. To act from your head is to get in touch with your inner Robot.
  29. Getting your brain programmed for “Don’t Think” takes years of preparation
  30. An edit is not the end, it is the beginning of something new. 
  31. The key to improvisation is patience. You will not learn everything in a year, two years, 10 years. You will never learn all there is to know, once you realize that, it becomes easier to enjoy the ride. Enjoying the ride shows patience, patience is the key.
  32. Relationship and game are one in the same.
  33. Your relationship is constantly defined with each exchange of dialog. Knowing your relationship defines what you will say next, the more you know the more you have to say.  Your relationship with the location will also dictate what you will do in the scene. Relationship also has to do with object work.
  34. Finding the game is finding the pattern. All scenes have patterns. Patterns are structure. Structure is Game. 
  35. It is important to remember to look for the first unusual thing within the reality of the scene, not the reality of the actors.
  36. Words are the least important thing when it comes to communicating.
  37. It is the struggle to survive that makes living so much fun. 
  38. Rage is not about anger, it is about passion.  Never lose your rage, keep it inside like sushi. Eat it when you need to. Rage drives you, pirates make you alive, minjas make you take action, and The robots make sense of it all.
  39. What your character believes to be true can only be heightend if the oppisite is true for someone else. Philosophies must be compared with each other so that we the audience can decide for ourselves.
  40. You must constantly look for the balance in everything you do onstage, once you find the balance, then unbalance it. Create a pattern then break it. In that you will find the truth.
  41. I don’t have talent, I earned talent. 
  42. Success is Talent meeting Opportunity.
  43. Every scene you improvise should have a Rosebud in it. Something that grounds your character into the scene, makes you take notice of your life, allows you to evaluate yourself in the place that you are at.
  44. The moment you step on that stage, you own it, you are meant to be there and they were meant to watch you. That is the meaning of Stage Presence.  Stage Presence is simply the confidence to be where you are. 
  45. “Humor is not jokes. It is an attitude toward being alive without which you would long ago have jumped off the 59th street bridge. Humor is not being funny. It is the coin of exchange between human beings that makes it possible for us to get through the day. Humor exists even in the humorless.” – Michael Shurtleff
  46. The scene is already there before you do it. The characters have been living their lives, going to work, playing, falling in and out of love. You are just showing one moment in their lives, hopefully the funny ones. But it may not be funny to the characters at that time. You must play that real. If you play it real you will discover the humor in these peoples lives.
  47. Yesing a scene does not make a scene go further, it is the “And” that breathes life into the scene.
  48. There are over 100 performers that play on the UCB stage every week, of those 100 how many have given back to the space? Have painted anything? Repaired something? Lit an incense?
  49. What is a moment in scenework? The moment is something that the characters, created in the scene, will remember for the rest of their lives.
  50. Discovery = Truly not knowing were the scene is going to go, taking your idea and your scene partner’s idea and creating something both of you had not intended. Don’t drop your idea, meld it into another.