Why Being Authentic Matters More Than Being Funny in Improv

by Success Improv
3 months ago

Improv comedy has gained immense popularity over the years, with countless shows, workshops, and classes popping up in cities around the world. The essence of improv is to create comedy on the spot, without a script or pre-planned jokes. And while being funny is a crucial aspect of improv, being authentic is ultimately what matters most.

In the world of improv, authenticity is key. Being authentic means being true to yourself, your emotions, and your experiences. It means being present in the moment, listening to your scene partner, and responding honestly to the situation at hand. When improvisers are authentic, the comedy that arises is genuine and relatable, often leading to the biggest laughs.

In improv, there’s a popular saying: “play the scene, not the joke.” This means that instead of trying to force humor into every moment, improvisers should focus on building a believable and engaging scene. When improvisers are authentic in their interactions and reactions, the humor naturally emerges from the situation, rather than being forced or contrived.

Being authentic in improv also means being vulnerable. It means taking risks, being open to failure, and embracing the unknown. This vulnerability is what allows for truly memorable and impactful performances. When improvisers let go of their inhibitions and allow themselves to be fully present in the moment, the comedy that arises is often unexpected, refreshing, and deeply engaging.

Furthermore, authenticity in improv fosters a sense of trust and connection among the performers. When improvisers are authentic with each other, they build a strong foundation for collaboration and support. This creates a positive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected, leading to more meaningful and rewarding performances.

In contrast, prioritizing humor over authenticity in improv can lead to shallow and predictable comedy. When improvisers are solely focused on being funny, they may resort to overused comedic tropes, cheesy punchlines, or exaggerated characters, which can come across as forced and insincere. This often results in performances that lack depth and resonance, ultimately leaving the audience feeling unsatisfied.

Ultimately, being authentic in improv allows for the creation of genuine, thought-provoking, and truly humorous moments. It allows for the exploration of diverse characters, emotions, and relationships, leading to performances that are rich in depth and complexity. While being funny is certainly important in improv, it is authenticity that ultimately matters most, both for the performers and their audiences.