Improv Games

Academy Awards
Do boring scene, every time outside troupe member blows the whistle, the actor speaking must step out and do a cheesy academy-award winning monologue.

Two actor scene getting relationship, the other two are the voices inside their heads. Interplay between voices and actors, funny if theirs contradictions in this game, action-action-action.

Customs agent
One person leaves, get from audience country that they are coming from, wacky contraband, and mode of transportation. Person comes in and has to work with customs agent/other troupe members in order to guess the three things.

Dating Game (Love Connection)
Get audience member, three troupe members are the bachelors, imitate either dating game or Love connection style, get traits/occupations for bachelors, audience member is picked at beginning of show and writes their questions ahead of time.

Emotion Zones (Car)
Two actors, get location and three emotions, separate the stage into three sections and assign each an emotion, actors have to have that emotion in that zone, other troupe members can come into the scene.

Emotional Roller Coaster
Number of actors: 2, and a director
Audience participation: Audience gives a long list of emotions (these can be stretch emotions like French or stupid) and a location.
How it works: Scene starts off basic, but the director will call off emotions from his list and one of the actors changes their emotional being; the other actor plays the “straight-man” Scene usually ends with narcolepsy.

Entrances and Exits
Number of actors: 3-5
Audience participation: The audience gives each actor a word; location.
How it works: Scene starts with two actors on stage the others offstage. Whenever an actor’s word is said, that actor must make an entrance if they are off-stage, exit if they are on-stage. Scene ends when all actors are offstage (i.e. when one actor is left on-stage, he says his own word).

Every-day Olympics
Get every-day activity from audience, have two sportscasters, two competitors, and two on-the-field reporters.

First line/last line
Two person scene, other players can support. Get a first line of dialogue and a last line of dialogue for the scene, players fill in the rest of the dialogue.

Four ways to die
Number of actors: 4
Audience Participation: The audience gives a location and four ways a person could die.
How it works: The scene starts (with usually not everyone on stage), and through the course of the action, each actor must die by one of the 4 ways given. No one is assigned any of the 4 ways, the actors figure out who will die by what way as the scene evolves.

Two actors on-one off get first line/last line from audience and a location. Actors do the first scene in a minute, with third actor coming in about 3/4 the way through. Scene is then done in 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds.

Get a story from someone in the audience. present this situation three different times, rotating the actors playing the different parts and interpreting the situation differently. Can forgo with audience member story (for simplicity) and do three person scene and then rotate actors.

Lines from a Hat (Whip it Out)
Number of actors: 2
Audience Participation: During an intermission or before the show, the audience write lines of dialogue on pieces of paper and puts them into a hat. When scene stars a location is given.
How it works: The two actors do a simple scene, but must pull lines intermittently from the hat, read them immediately and incorporate them into the scene. Wackiness ensues.

Like the show, two actor’s (MacGyver and little Jimmy) must save a life-threatening situation or catastrophe, but only have three-objects told to the actors by the audience.

Minor Characters
Start off with two actors and get location/story-title – two actors start scene – another minor character comes in – when he exits – actually when anybody exits the scene, the scene follows them, try to have a coherent story-line and wrap things up with re-current characters at the end.

Movie critics
Get a name of a movie, two movie reviewer characters, introduce themselves and the movie, but not the first clip, actors perform the first clip, then hosts set-up the next clip for the actors, then the reviewers give their thumbs up or down (or other thing, preferably, up or down or amount of something, like three avocados), then preview next week’s movie (actors do a tableau) and say good-bye.

Mr. Subliminal
Get occupation for the two actors, one subconscious gets something to be fixated with, the other gets childhood trauma, two actors are the thoughts for the other two actors but the thoughts are fixated on the two topics, escalates to the point where two thoughts rank on each other and get into fight and have to be separated by the actual two people.

Audience gives topic to talk about. One person starts talking until another actor yells objection and states their reason. The judge/timer can sustain or overrule, if they sustain the objecting person starts talking about the subject. Object is to be actor talking after three minutes is up. Objections should start out normal and then get wackier/personal.

One-letter Improv
Two actor’s-get two consonants from the audience. Every sentence (or word!) each actor says must start with their letter.

Press Conference
One actor is sent out of the room. The audience gives a famous person, a problem, and something weird about the problem to the fronter. The actor comes back in, and gives a press conference, trying to guess who he is and what his problem is based on clues given by the other troupe members in the questions they ask him.

One improver leaves, and get an object from the audience and something wrong with it that normally wouldn’t think would be wrong with it, person comes in returning it but has no clue and must figure out what it is, clerk doesn’t help that much, but other improvers come in and help out.

Audience member tells about a time when they feel slighted, unjustified, improvers portray the scene, then right the wrong in a funny way.

Script writers
Get title for movie/TV show two guys are writing the script, they set up scene, other actors come up and play that scene, authors keep changing things, going back, plot twists, introducing new characters, monologues, songs, etc.

Two actors leave the room, third person gets a place to go on vacation, a famous person or character to go on vacation with, and six things that they did while on vacation. Actors come in, person presents their slides by making clicking noise to which the actors freeze into a new position, hilarity comes from how presenter explains obviously contrary pictures.

Space Jump
Number of actors: 4-6
How it works: First actor is given a simple action by the audience. He starts off by doing the action until one of the other actors freezes him, the new person comes in and starts a new two-person scene justifying the new scene by incorporating the last person’s physicality into the new scene. The new scene continues until another person freezes it and comes in and starts a new three-person scene. This continues until all the actors are in the scene, at that point, the last person who came in finds a reason to leave, and the scene reverts back to the scene before he came in. This process continues all the way back until you are left with just the one person again doing his action given by the author.

Stunt Doubles
Two actors do a scene about a (dangerous) activity, when one of the actors is about to get hurt, the director calls for a stunt double for him, an outside actor comes in and takes the physical punishment, the scene then resumes with the original actor who is unharmed. Their are two stunt doubles for the scene, and they carry previous injuries into subsequent times they enter the scene.

Number of actors: 4
Audience participation: made-up language, and topic of expertise
How it works: Two actor’s do a scene in their made-up gibberish language, the other two-actors run across the stage after each line and translate the line, thus the sub-title.

Two Utes (Film noir)
Get relationship, after each line, actor steps out and narrates like in film noir, tells things that other actor is doing/will doing, humor in this game is from forcing other people to do crazy, unexpected stuff. Also done simpler by each person sticking to saying after the other’s line, “he said while …. (insert activity).”

You sick bastard
Take audience member and a controversial or gross topic, members from the troupe come up the audience member and try to make them laugh by doing something pertaining to the topic, when they do laugh, the audience yells, “you sick bastard” If competition style, points are given to team of succeeding person. Teams should alternate in this game.

Here Comes Charlie: two-three people waiting for Charlie, they describe different traits he has, actor then comes in as Charlie and has to display those traits.

Scene with an Attitude: each actor gets an attitude for the scene like ìEveryoneís out to get meî, ìEverybodyís beautifulî, etc.

Levels/Status: either two person scene, where have eventual change in each person from high to low status, or the whole troupe mingling around in a party as either high or low status and then have everyone switch, in these games, everyone should act to the extreme, in all scenes, someone should be high and the other person low status.

Counting: actors must count off, but only one number per person, in random order, and if two people talk at once, count starts over

Walks: lead with different parts of your body, and see what kind of character springs from that kind of walk

Human Knot

Bombardment:  one person is in the center, each person around the circle thinks up of a relationship to that person and/or something that they want from that person, the director then taps random people to go in and bombard that person, and then tags new people to go in and the old person leaves.

Four Through the Door: someone leads, every improver comes up to them, they are at an information desk, as a different character, and for each round can have a different style of character (i.e. ethnic or energetic).

Name Three: name three-five things associated with a place, three-five things not associated with a place.

3-Sentence Scene: Actors take turns doing scenes with just three sentences. Other rules are that you can’t ask questions, each statement must be said with emotion/attitude, and the first two sentences must acknowledge who the other person is. Optional rule: limit the number of words in each sentence.

Protector/Predator: Everyone gets around in a circle. In their head they choose one person to be their protector and one person to be their predator. When everyone is ready, someone yells go, and everyone runs around with the objective of always trying to keep their protector in between themselves and their predator.

Hitchhiker: Two people mime driving down the road, eventually they pick up a hitchhiker. The person playing the hitchhiker has a physical and/or verbal personality quirk that the other people in the car must pick up on. Once they do, the driver leaves, and the shot-gun person moves to driver and picks up a new hitchhiker.

Job Interview: 3, 90 second scenes. In each scene, one person comes in as a different character interviewing for a job with the same interviewer. Interviewer asks them a series of question delving into their personal and professional life, finally ending off with “So tell me why you want to be an X” where X is something that this person is not qualified to do.

Scenes on a Theme: Everyone in the troupe participates, get a noun or theme, everyone performs in at least one two-person scene based on the theme or noun given. Scenes can be supported and swept to a new scene just like a Harold, but no scenes come back a second time.

Physicalization Scenes: Two person scene, actors do physical actions for location or noun given for 30 seconds before starting the dialogue for the scene.

Cocktail Party: X sets of two people at a cocktail party. Each group gives the next group their theme for the conversation. Each group converses on their theme until another group starts talking and the first group fades out. Eventually each group lets their conversation be affected by the topics of the other groups without actually physically interacting.

Motivation Scenes: Two person scenes where each actor is secretly given their motivation for the scene by the director.

Wake: One troupe member pretends to be dead. Each actor in the troupe goes up to the dead body and says their good-byes to that person. Each subsequent person must build upon what the last person said in their good-bye through the eyes of their character.


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