The Improv Diaries – Part 18 – Amy Schumer

This week was the return to improv after a two week long break (which felt like forever!!) I mean, in between this fortnight I have dabbled in improv and met up and done some practises (even creating a new game which i am so looking forward to try out in front of a crowd!) Last night the two improvers groups merged to make ‘an ultimate improv improvers nest of fun!’ 

This week was focused mainly on building a scene and how to create one from no suggestions. To get up to the main even we did a variety of mini games about mirror reflecting the person opposite you and how it would look to an audience. For this you were standing opposite someone and we would be given a big object like a plane then all of us (about 12) had to use our pair to create the shape of the plane then move around the room as a plane. When the movement and sound was added to it, it would give a great visual to the audience.

The next game we did, we have played a lot before in beginners but we were now expanding it into something a bit more different. You stand in a circle and do nothing. Someone will eventually start doing a slight movement and everyone will naturally start doing it and eventually it will end up in a huge performance and will have really high energy. The circle we did started very quiet with not a lot happening and then all of a sudden the group broke and one side were boxers and another were laughing and then it lead to monkeys whipping slaves.

We then applied these rules to short scenes, someone would go on the stage and then someone else would appear and then it would create a scene naturally. i didnt partake in this exercise as I find it can be quite difficult just to walk into a scene with nothing attached to it. A few weeks back you will remember i went on about ‘Lean For Beanz’ and the effects that going into a scene physically had. This is the problem I had with the scene. I am happy to walk onto the stage doing something physical (like a body movement) as i have something to work with at the start, i hate walking on not really doing anything as i find it sometimes difficult to develop. From some unplanned scenes i have seen in the past a lot end up being about morbid or depressed scenes and I feel it doesn’t need to they can have positiveness which a lot had last night but i feel sometimes it is difficult to build that.

Amy Schumer 

This week i have decided to focus on an American comedian that i am becoming more and more of a fan of everytime i see her. To me, I find her the female version of one of my favourite American comedians, Dane Cook. They are both edgy on stage, they both come across cocky and confident but also not afraid to take chances.

Amy has become a very huge name in the comedy circuit and its not hard to see why. Her television show, inside Amy Schumer takes the mickey out of the way society is as well as showing a different angle to females. She doesn’t care what people think and always is taking the mickey out of herself. Another reason i feel she is a great case study is the way that she represents herself on chat shows.

Every interview she does she will become a persona, whether or not it is her true self, it can be sometimes slightly emphasised and also make people laugh because of the way that she acts. A great example is her latest interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon she comes up with a whole new way of sitting on the chair which is entertaining to the audience and also a great analysis to look at in improv.

Whilst a lot of her stuff is pre-planned and written for a sketch show she is great to watch for her facial expressions and her approach to the scenes. The way that she can just twist an interview or a sketch into something that you least expect means that when thinking of it in Improv terms it is a great case study. i have seen many improv scenes in the past where status is changed or a twist comes when they are actually doing something different to what you expect and learning the expressions from such a emotional and physical comedian means that all it can do is help you build.

I think case studies like Schumer are great because she also allows you to see that there are different angles that you can possess when doing improvisation. Whether or not you are a fan, she is very good at creating characters and gives you a great insight as to how a scene can be played differentlty.


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