Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is "Short Form" Improv?

What's the difference? I've recently discovered that the general public doesn't really know the difference between short form and long form. I just want to say that it's almost like comparing apples and oranges. There has also been some confusion between "improv comedy" and "stand up" comedy. I've noticed while promoting our shows that sometimes people are thinking of stand up when we mention the word "improv".

The word "improv" can already be confusing enough. Some people think of the chain of the IMPROV comedy clubs which have locations at major cities all over the US. These clubs usually do not feature "improv comedy". They usually have headliners that perform "Stand Up"Comedy. Of course occasionally they will bring in other famous acts too but mainly they are a stand up club. Again apples and oranges.

I will talk more about WHAT WE DO...What is "SHORT FORM" IMPROV? Short FORM Improv is what people are familiar with if they have seen "Whose Line is it Anyway" on ABC. Eight is NEVER Enough is one of the few "short form" troupes still performing regularly on the current the New York Scene. The majority of troupes in the city are based in long form improvisation. Short Form IMPROV is a series of different scenes, skits, songs, dances, jokes that each have some type of unique"game" or "gimmick". Just about every 2-5 minutes the audience members are prompted by the MC to either give a suggestion or come on stage for the game. Then the players take that suggestion to establish the characters, situations, activity, conflict and locations within the first 60 seconds and hopefully from there the hilarity will ensue.. once it is time for the skit to end, someone in the cast yells the word "TAXI" and the audience yells "YO" ...and then it's time for something NEW. Then at that point the audience is prompted again for another skit or song.. I personally like this art form because it is short, sweet, funny and to the point. The advantage to this is great because if something isn't working on stage for one reason or the other then it is OVER and off to something brand NEW and completely different.. Timing and pacing are very important and in our shows we often alternate different players each time and mix it up between either songs or skits. ...

More examples of some of our favorite "short form IMPROV" games can be found on our YOUTUBE:

PS - When is SPELL CHECK going to realize that IMPROV is a real word? It's not IMPROVE!

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