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Goofs and Spoofs: Improv Comedy

September 21, 2020

Growing up, I never truly experienced improv. Sure, I watched Whose Line Is It Anyway? but to me, improv was always the butt of a stand-up joke. "It's lazy, it's weird, and it doesn't make any sense," they said. And I believed them.

But after watching the Middleditch and Schwartz specials on Netflix, I now know that I was very, very wrong. Improv is something special. It's funny and creative, and when done right, it's a triumph.  But what really appeals to me about improv is that it is built on trust and active listening. Comedians have to be ready and willing to layout a scene with someone else, to take charge when they have an idea, but also let others shape the moment how they see fit. Improv is truly a team sport, and it is such a joy to watch.

And now that improv is starting to get noticed, now is a good time to dive into the art. 

Looking for a little background history on how improv came to be? Check out this excellent history by Sam Wasson.

Or perhaps you want to learn how to improv. This manual by the Upright Citizen's Brigade should cover just about everything you will need to make your improv debut.

But if you're just looking for how improv can improve everyday life, check out these titles. Maybe it's just me, but I think everyone could benefit from a little "yes, and" these days. 

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Emily

Emily is a Teen Associate at NPL. When she's not planning programs or hanging out in the teen room at her branch, Emily spends her days reading, writing, gardening, trying new recipes, and playing board games. She loves most books and all dogs.

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