Improv Lesson: Make the Other Person Look Good

My improv group had a pre-show chant we would do every time right before taking the stage. The person leading would yell, “what are we going to do?” Everyone else would respond, “Have fun!” The leader would then say, “What else are we going to do?” to which everyone would yell back, “make each other look good!”

It was our way of reminding ourselves right before going on stage what the two most important factors were in having a great show: having fun, and helping each other out.

Having fun should be pretty obvious (if it’s not I’ll write more on it later!), so for now I want to focus on the second part, “making each other look good.”

An improv comedy show can be a nerve wracking affair. You don’t know what the audience is going to be like or say, you don’t know what your fellow performers will do or say, and you don’t even know what you will say! It is very easy to get stressed out or focus overly hard on yourself.

The best improv happens when people put aside those nerves and simply focus on helping each other. If you make an offer, I am going to accept and build on it. If you are taking the scene somewhere, I am going to support and go with you. If you are struggling, I will help you out and pick up the slack.

This doesn’t mean you never get to lead or make jokes or get laughs. With experience, you are able to do all this while supporting the other people on stage. Also, when everyone in the group adopts this mind set, then everyone sets everyone else up. That is a beautiful thing…

Could you imagine what things would be like if you and everyone around you (at work, at home, at your volunteer association, etc) adopted this mentality? If one everyone’s primary goals was to have fun and make each other look good? Would that make things more fun, more productive, and more successful? I would think so!

Give this a try. Go about the world seeing what you can do to have and make others look good. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results you see.

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