Chelsea, New York
307 West 26th St.
New York, NY 10001
(212) 366-9176

​Improv Comedy 101: What is it & How Did it Start? December 26, 2014

Chelsea, Manhattan
​Improv Comedy 101: What is it & How Did it Start?, Manhattan, New York

Improv theatre has long been one of the most popular forms of comedy. In order to fully enjoy and appreciate the best improv comedy shows at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, it is helpful to first understand improv’s history and its modern features.

Here’s what you need to know about improv:

  • What is Improv? Improv comedy is a form of live theatre performance where the participants act out characters, plot lines, and dialogue to fit a scene or story determined in the moment. The most important rule of improv is that you must agree with the other scene partners. Improv actors learn to always say, “Yes, and…” because they must agree with the fabricated story and then add to it.
  • How Did it Start? People have enjoyed different improvisational comedy styles for many centuries, but the most commonly linked direct ancestor to modern improv is the Commedia dell’arte. This was a 200-year trend that began in 16th century Europe, where troupes of performers would give improvisational shows in public squares as they traveled from town to town. Most importantly, these improv performances were determined by a scenario or story made up on the spot, much like today’s improv shows.
  • How Does it Work? The best improv comedy shows are based around fun improvisational games that get the comedic juices flowing and keep the audience engaged. The game “Party Quirks” is one such game that capitalizes on the audience’s involvement. The identities of three “party guests” are determined by suggestions from the audience while the “party host” is offstage, unable to hear. Once the identities are worked out, the host returns and must try to figure out who his party guests are merely through their actions alone. Hilarity ensues as the party host tries to guess the absurd identities of his guests and maneuver around funny misunderstandings.

If you are ready to have a night filled with laughter and hilarious entertainment, then come check out the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Call them at (212) 366-9176 or visit them online to learn more about the best improv comedy shows in NYC!

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