Whose Line & Johnson

I’ve always really enjoyed the show Whose Line, and Kim “Howard” Johnson’s book excerpts made me realize the process behind the show’s short form improv sketches. Chapter seven of the book on building a scene stood out to me the most for its detailed elements of a scene, noting the importance of the relationship between players, characters, and the environment. I feel like the cast of Whose Line have worked together so long they’re able to read each other   very well. Comparing this to and improv show I’ve gone to, less experienced performers have a harder time getting into character when they’re unsure of how their team is going to act. Obviously anything takes time and practice, but watching a show where all the cast is relaxed and comfortable with each other is much more entertaining.
Johnson also stresses the importance of the event. A good point to remember is “the situation that makes this day different from all the rest,” so go into the sketch knowing that this event they are jumping into is not going to be a normal day for these characters, which is why it’s important to stay in the now and not talk about events from the character’s past or future. An improv game they play on Whose Line called “Narrate” where they act a film noir scene based on a location the  audience gives. The two characters that Colin and Ryan play are different every times, but they are so good at escalating the story based off what the other does to move the story forward. Similar to “Yes, And” like we played in class, but their stories actually turn out pretty good.


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