Humor In an Improv Show

Our improv show on May 19 was fun.  Lots of laughs and among them, the two biggest laughs of the night.  Both were the result of in-the-moment responses to what was happening in the show.

1.  The game was SURPRISE LINES (sometimes called LINES FROM THE HAT).  Written audience lines are dropped into a scene created by the players.  Players must justify the lines as a logical part of the scene.  One of the lines provided by an audience member was:  “I like big butts.”  Player Frank drew the line and delivered it during the scene.  Player Carolyn reacted:  “You promised me you weren’t going to bring that up!”  Biggest laugh of the night.  Self-deprecation with a quick-witted, immediate response.  Carolyn was listening to the other players and not script-writing in her head.  She was making what appeared to be an honest reaction to the offer made by another player.

2.  The game was CHAIN MURDER.  The audience was asked to name something they might buy at a garage sale.  Audience response:  A mattress.  The mattress became the game’s murder weapon and it also provided a set-up for a line delivered later in the show.

3.  A half-hour later, a man in the audience asked an advice question of our improv PANEL OF EXPERTS:  “How can I tell my wife that I’m pregnant?”

I stepped out and replied:  “I told you not to buy a mattress at a garage sale!” The connection of the advice question to the earlier garage sale suggestion, provided the trigger which made the joke work.  It was the second biggest laugh of the night.  Few things can beat the power of observation in the present moment.  The audience can relate because “they were there.”  And it adds as fresh touch to the humor.