Coming out of Second City in Chicago, we have lots of heroes to look up to.

Fey, Sudeikis, Poehler, Belushi, Ackroyd, Radner, Murray, Farley….

You watch these people play and it’s so lovely. There’s lots of discussion that maybe improv isn’t an art form itself, but more of a tool. When you watch the big guys play, it is so clearly art. We have lots of heroes because there are all kinds of ways to play.

But Colbert is considered to be one of the best there has ever been. Colbert is a hero to so many of us because he’s a serious comedian. He’s not joking around, this guy is as serious as a heart attack.

And Keegan Michael Key is also a hero. In improvisation we play to “the height of our intelligence.” We play smart (this is why it works well for docents and tour guides!), we don’t dumb down. We don’t swear or go blue (dirty).

We play smart.

And Keegan Michael Key is a great example of playing smart. He’s so silly. He and Jordan Peele are so silly together, but they’re SO SMART.

On Colbert’s show, he and Key talked about how what they learned in improv is completely different than what you should be doing in Hollywood.

The Rules of Improv

Yes, And.
Support Each Other.
Listen.

And at the end of the video they talk about teaching improv. And what I love so much about what Colbert said is that you have to “reveal it” to the students.

This is why a knowledgable facilitator is important. Anyone and everyone can play an improv game, but not everyone can teach you how. It’s a balancing act of discovery and facilitation and freedom and rules and play and work.
Don’t leave it to just anyone. 🙂

Here’s Keegan Michael Key and Colbert talking about the rules of improv!