This week was a great one for improv and another one that was a development in the process of being an improviser. It started off with the same lesson i have every week and then i also did my first ever presenting gig at a comedy night but more about that later.
This week was our penultimate lesson on the 8 week comedy class that i have been doing with Stephen, which is sad because i really like the group of people that I am improvising with and it will be a shame not to see then weekly after the last lesson and the show.
This week the focus of lessons was to make up our own improv games! We started the lesson by playing warm up games including Mind Melt and freeze tag. When it came to playing freeze i felt a little bit like a pro because we played it so much in Newcastle I knew exactly the time i had to cut a scene but had to restrain my self from jumping in and letting others do it.
This week was all about making up our own improv games, and coming up with new games that could be on stage. To get us in the right frame set to do this we did the soup game again but this time threw in all the things we think of when playing a game in improv and what makes them tick. This was a great warm up to get our heads spinning and to create ideas.
The whole idea for this week was to create a name of a game from two letters that Stephen would give us and then make up what that game is about on the spot. We would then have a go at playing these made up games to see if they actually worked as a concept. The first two letters that we were given was R and K and some interesting games came out of it. There was one called Rocking Knowles (or something similar) where everyone in the scene had to talk in only Beyonce lyrics. There was one that was called something like Racoon Kings where someone in the scene had to pretend they had a racoon up their shirt the whole time and pretend that they didn’t notice it. The one i came up with was called Rumple Kicks and was to do about the movement of legs not stopping in a scene.
The next letter that we got was C and S and the idea was to play the gams again to see if they worked as an idea. One of the games was called Chatting Senile where the people in the scene forget what they are talking about all the time. Another one was called something like Catfish Scenario where someone was meeting someone from the internet for a date for the first time and they both have different quirks and then change them half way through. The one that I came up with was called Chat Shock and was about changing voices with other people throughout the scene.
It was a really fun lesson and went to show that making games up for Improv isn’t that bad to do.
Hosting a Comedy Night
This week I took the plunge into a new depth of comedy and was the compare for a comedy night. At the Hoopla Improv bar, they hold an event called LaunchPad which allows Improv troupes to test out new material and see how the audience respond.
It was the first time I had done something like that and was nervous but at the same time excited to do a different style of comedy on stage. The lights are so bright that you cannot see the audience but you have to pretend that you can which is always a bit random!
The whole room was packed out and all of the jokes that i made up on the spot got a good hearty laugh which was good because i was worried that it may be great from the acts and then tumble weeds when i went on.
After the show i had people come up to me and tell me that they had a really good night and really enjoyed the show which was really nice to hear.
Case study 1 – Jimmy Fallon
This week it only felt right to use Jimmy Fallon for so many reasons. I am a huge fan of his and find him a great talk show host, however i enjoyed his comedy back in the days of SNL.
I came across Jimmy Fallon in the film The Perfect Catch which was an American remake of the film Fever Pitch starring Colin Firth. Whilst its nowhere near as goof as the original, i really enjoyed Jimmys character in it. I started to come across his comedy on youtube when i started to research into his background.
Around the early days of Netflix in the UK, there used to be a lot of videos on there that were the best bits of comedians that used to be on SNL and there was one of Jimmy Fallon. I watched that clips show soo many times and never got bored of the skits that Fallon was a part of. Since then i have followed his career and still watch him from clips of his Tonight Show.
I think Jimmy is a great case study for any type of comedy because of his persona on the stage. He was always one of the most popular people on SNL because of his personality really being for all of the family. He is really good at welcoming all types of people into his world and is a great presenter for this! That is why he was given the Tonight Show gig after Jay Leno, because he really does appeal to the masses.
When looking at the presenting i did this week, I kept Jimmy Fallon in the back of my mind and tried to think of how he presents a show. He messes up from time to time but he doesn’t let if get to him and goes with the flow.
He wasn’t the most professional at times on SNL as sometimes he would break down in laughter in scenes (especially ones with Will Ferrell in) but it didnt matter as the audience do not judge him but laugh with him and accept his laughter because he really is a man of the people.
Case study 2 -HumanMachine
Human Machine was one of the acts that I saw at Launch Pad, the show I was hosting last week and it really is a concept in improv that completely fascinated me and is definitely going to change the way that it is performed on stage.
Albert and Alex, are an improv group where one part is computer and the other is human. Albert, real name Piotr, has coded a computer programme with over 1000 quotes from films so that when he talks to his computer with voice recognition the computer will react and choose a random film quote to answer with.
At university i did a degree in Interactive Media, and when i see things that are challenging the dynamics of a common form of art it really interests me. The fact that someone has created a new way for improv to work is really inspiring and opens the doors as to what improv can actually be.