Modern American Improvisational Theater
Modern American improv is the foundation of much of the comedy we love today
Many performers in late night shows, stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, blockbuster movies, and TV shows began their careers improvising on stage. Famous examples include Dan Akroyd, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Bill Murray, Amy Poehler, Ryan Reynolds, and Kristen Wiig.
What is American Improv?
Everything you need to know about the kind of improv we do
Chicago-style improv originated at the world famous Second City, and iO Theater in Chicago. Chicago-style focuses on interesting characters tied together by a common recurring theme, or game. At American Improv we create realistic characters for the audience to identify with as they experience the heightened comedic reality of the scene.
In organic improv stories arise from the interactions of players on stage. This is different from premise-driven improv, where one person has an idea and the other actors play along. At American Improv we know that the joy of improv comes from the shared experiences and relationships of the characters on stage.
Story-telling is hard-wired into the human brain. We love to identify with a story's protagonist and live vicariously through their eyes. Our brain rewards us for making new experiences through stories much in the same way it rewards us for making them ourselves. At American Improv we value the importance of engaging story-telling.
What are the rules of improv?
See the principles of improvisation we cherish. Adapted from Tina Fey.
Respect what your partner has created and add to it constructively.
Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don't just raise questions.
Many of the world's greatest discoveries have been made by accident.
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