It's all in the delivery

Mastering delivery can lead to you be great in almost any improv scene. 

I study my funny friends on stage. Like Scott Patey, who was our special guest in Improv Against Humanity at the Vogue Theatre last night. I hosted, so I got to introduce and watch all of the inspired scenes. Scott can reliably delight an audience so I watch his trusted delivery methods. He has tried&true methods of delivering a line so that it produces laughter. Each of his characters is rich and three dimensional and they all know how to deliver a crisp line within the persona. So much of his unique comedic style comes from his delivery. 
That's Scott, delivering the middle finger as a corpse in a windmill full of corpses. Humanity! 

One of my improv teachers said to me "Being funny in improv isn't about saying funny things, it's about saying things funny." 

My advice to new improvisors is to pay attention to the times the audience laughs at your work - when you can feel them on the same page as you. Try and remember the way you delivered the line. That "innocent response", that "last word", that "horny answer".  These can become tools for your characters to use in future work. You'll get the feeling of good delivery, and you'll start getting good at delivery. 

Also, pay close attention to the way that the ending of a scene sounds. You'll often hear that the final sentence completes the scene and wraps up the entire story. So it feels as if you've just swallowed the last delicious morsel of an epic piece of chocolate cake. 

 




What are you leaning on?

Having to lean on a cane showed me what I had been "leaning" on before.

I've been recovering from a back injury the last 6 months. In October, I herniated a disc in my lower spine that caused me to lose feeling and strength in my right leg and foot.

I've made great strides and am still slowly healing week by week. There's been ups and downs, breakthroughs and setbacks, promising days and dismal ones too. There still are. 

Until feeling came back to my foot, I used a cane. It was to help me balance and to be a reminder for myself (and fellow performers) to take it easy with my body. 

For those 4 months, I performed on stage with a cane. I did about 100 shows with that cane. It changed the way that I perform:

The cane meant losing one hand that always had to hold it. 
The cane meant that the audience wondered about me in a different way. 
The cane was a constant prop. 
The cane had to be a part of my every character. 

I suddenly became aware of what I had been leaning on the whole time before the cane:

Being physical at a whim. 
Lifting people and props. 
Doing lots with both arms. 
Fitting in easily and getting a warm reception from the audience. 
Becoming whoever I wanted with relative believability. 

I had to develop a different way of improvising by not leaning on these strengths or options. I've become better at being still and staying interesting without moving too much. I've become better at reacting emotionally instead of physically. I've become better at setting other actors up - especially for physical jokes. I've become better at playing Doctor House.

Having to lean on a cane showed me what I had been "leaning" on before. Now I'm a better improvisor for it.

So, what are you leaning on? 


Rowing with the cane as I whitewater raft with The Fictionals



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My goal is to "be in the now" when I perform on stage, when I teach, and in the biggest moments of my life. These are the lessons I've learned along the way.

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