Yes And… Part 19 – Paprika and Homer Simpsons Brain

This weeks lesson I found a really important one for improv is don’t do improv when you are completely and utterly shattered. You brain doesn’t work right and you end up feeling like an idiot (not the right type of idiot) in scenes.

Saying that, no matter how tired I actually was I learnt a hell of a lot and that’s the most important thing!

This week was a bit different I didn’t go to the drop in but went to a training session still taught by Carleen which was really interesting and I learnt a lot of different things from it. The lesson consisted of a lot of thinking about what we were learning but I just couldn’t get into the mindset.

The first thing we did was play a speedy version of Zip zap Zop with two different noises going round the circle at the same time.

We then had to tell stories about the item of a teddy bear and think of a story from our childhood. This was where my first tired blank came – I eventually thought of  Winnie the Pooh and was able to talk all about how much I love him.

The next part was creating scenes from what we had just heard. Tired blank – what had I just heard?! I remembered one story that was Marianas and that was it. My mind went completely blank. Funny because now I actually can remember them all but in that frame of shattered-ness I just couldn’t focus and think of anything. I eventually did a scene with Stephen about Winnie the Pooh in rehab taking honey pills to try and get used to the taste of salmon which i think went ok.


After doing this we re-visited an area that i touched on with Will last week (and if you remember I wasn’t a fan) about bringing truth to a scene. The difference between these scenes and the ones that I did with Will the week before was that this time round it wasn’t about something true to me it was about making the scene true to real life. So the main concept of this which a lot of us initially forgot in the first time round was to make sure that you react as naturally as you can to what is being said. So don’t play a boring robot person but play the scene how you would react if it was everyday life. This was ok to do and once i got the gist of it I found it ok to do this scene even in my sorry lame excuse of a state.


We then went onto twisting the whole idea on its head and playing completely crazy characters as neutral  / playing it straight. So this was really random suggestions that we then had to play normal – such as monkeys in the zoo and dingbats. I went into a scene with no suggestion and was thinking of the word Paprika in the terms of Michael McIntyre’s joke about spices in the cupboard and was completely thrown off guard as the person I ended up doing the scene with, Julian, had already an idea about Platonic and it was such a random word that it completely put me off course and my whole mind went completely and utterly blank.




I  just couldn’t focus and knew i was ruining the scene and completely failing on stage. I haven’t felt that awkward in a scene since one i did in Newcastle where I felt completely off guard as well. It’s the worst feeling in the world as you feel everyone judging you and thinking ‘ come on i can do that scene’. Usually it’s easy to get rid of the thought demons when you know a scene isn’t going the way you want but this time around I was so physically tired my brain couldn’t come up with any solutions.


This week was a bad week for Improv – not because of what i learnt, i learnt a lot that is going to help me even more, but a bad week for my mental  / physical state. Lesson learnt from this week – don’t do improv comedy when you are on Deadline week at work and you are working 70 hours with only one day off in between.


Case Study – Homer Simpson’s Brain 


I know this isn’t really a great case study but it really does reflect how i felt in some instances on Monday. I felt like at some points of the lesson that my brain just wasn’t working and went completely blank.  So apart from giving a smart case study for this week here is a silly little one. Watch out next week I will make sure I make it something really interesting.



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