When you’re happy and comfortable with yourself and not so worried about trying to be a tough guy, you’ll make the most out of anything and make it work.
William Regal on what makes a wrestler successful (or an actor for that matter)
From a practical point of view, you’re much more likely to get funny from real than you are real from funny. You know? If you’re aiming for funny, it’s very hard to turn that back into real. But if you’re aiming for real, there’s usually something funny in there somewhere.
John Ratliff on Got Your Back E28.
All great improv is done in the moment. Like anyone else starting a scene, I either make the first offer, or respond to the first offer, and go from there. I don’t go in expecting anything, and find if I go in trying to do anything I either won’t succeed at it or I won’t succeed in having a good scene.
If I go into a scene with, say, TJ, thinking any variation of “OMG OMG OMG”… I’m in my head from moment one and I’m fucked. Likewise, if I’m with a rookie thinking, oh, this person isn’t good, I’ve got to dumb it down… I’m probably limiting both of us.
There’s a saying in college basketball, “Don’t play the name on the jersey.” If a small school is preparing for an NCAA Tournament game with, say, vaunted Duke University, it’s too easy to psyche themselves out on the name DUKE and their history plus high caliber of talent, and completely get the small school out of their game. Conversely, if a big school looks down at a lesser opponent and doesn’t do much to prepare for them, they increase the chances of suffering the upset loss. If you focus on the actual players and team, and matching up with them in the moment, you will have a better chance of exploiting opportunities, playing to your strengths, and beating them.
What I try to explain to UCB 201 students is that every subject should be able to be intelligently explored with comedy. The key there though is intelligently. The comedy should not be coming from the sheer shock value of the subject matter. There needs to be a take on it. In 201 students are working towards being able to reflect real life honestly and then look for the first unusual thing, the funny or interesting idea that they can build a Game from. That means that you can portray a racist person because there are racist people in real life, but that alone can’t be the unusual thing.
Being good at improv means knowing how to manage doubt and anxiety. They never totally go away but they can be handled.
Will Hines answers some reader mail on how to feel “right” before performing.