“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like and improv conversation. An ‘improverisation’.” -Michael Scott

Spring break 2016, my friends and I decided to take a trip to Chicago since most of us had yet to see Ferris Bueller’s city in real life. I scrolled through Groupon to find us some reasonably priced group activities, when I found tickets to a “All-Star Improv Night” at Second City (for just $17, what a steal). That was the aspect of my spring break I was most anticipating. However, looking back, I was much more enthralled with the novelty of the place than with the actual show we watched. There were quotes on the walls from Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, they even had Spike Lee’s hand prints on a plaque (which I believe to be one of the highest honors in this world, on par with the Nobel Peace Prize). Although, the improv was not as funny as my friends and I hoped it would be. After all, this was the place where Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Mike Meyers, John Belushi, Aidy Briant, and so many more started their careers and also where improvisation started to gain its foothold within comedy, according to Charna Halpern and Del Close in ‘Truth in Comedy’. Perhaps our expectations were slightly higher than normal (it also didn’t help that the title of the show literally had “all-stars” in it…if smash mouth has taught me one thing, it’s that all-stars need to get their game on and go play). Now knowing the guidelines of improv thanks to the UCB Manuel, I can think back and pin point why the show wasn’t a hit. There was a group of about six or seven on stage, but two of the men kept trying to steal the show. This portrayed their them as more obnoxious than organic situational comedy, as their input was geared toward being loud while flailing about. I suppose there’s a line between good comedic improv and messiness. Will I ever know how to make that distinction? Yes. I learned during that show.

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