Improv is not just a comedy art form, it can also have an effect or impact on a persons life. Everyone has a story to tell and today we talk to another Improviser as to how they got into it and what it has done for them. Today, we talk to Steve Roe, the head of Hoopla and one of the key leaders in the Improv scene in London to find out how Improv really has altered his life for the better.

How improv changed my life

 First of all, did improv change my life?

Yes

But then again everything changes my life. I had a bowl of porridge this morning. Did that change my life?

Yes. It has made me feel warm and snug and smug all morning, as I now believe I am a bit healthier than if I had eaten a whole Easter Egg for breakfast.

But has improv changed my life more than my bowl of porridge?

Yes I think so.

First of all I’m currently sat near my wife (George) who I met doing improv with our baby who came from us.

Would I have met my wife and had our baby without improv?

No. I don’t think so. We did live near each other so we might have bumped into each other at a party or something. If she had been an “out of improv” stranger I would have wanted to get together with her, because she’s really hot and funny, but I doubt she would have wanted to get together with me as I would have just been yet another awkward bloke at party drinking too much to replace nerves with drunk.

So whatever other ways improv has changed my life I think they are quite small in comparison to finding wife and baby through improv!

But here’s some other things I think are definitely due to improv:

– I can now be an idiot at a party without alcohol. At first it would take me about 5 pints until I was mountain biking down the stairs into a mattress. After improv I now do that at will! I used to drink way too much, but after my first experience of improv I felt like it gave me a healthier outlet to let out my weird side. So for me improv has directly replaced getting pissed. Maybe without improv I would have found something else to do that, bikram yoga or something, but I think improv did the best job.

– I’m better at expressing how I think and feel. I used to keep all emotions inside unless drunk. Now I’ve found I can be more honest and open with people in my life. Again I might have worked that out without improv but I think improv did a good job of accelerating that in my 20s.

– I have a different job. My job used to not be in improv, now it is, which is awesome. I definitely couldn’t have been working in improv without improv, so nice one!

– I know more Americans and Canadians. I never meet any Americans and Canadians in real life, but in improv I know loads and I like them all I think they are a great influence on me. I feel like I know Americans better than people from Cumbria.

– Public speaking is a doddle. I used to be awful at public speaking. I liked the idea of it but the second I got up I would glow red and forget everything. After improv I’m like “public speaking? Saying something you already know about and have thought about that doesn’t have to be a show?? Easy!”

– I’m better at talking to people at wedding receptions. I used to hate wedding receptions. Those circle of people at tables, I never knew what to say and they seemed to go on for so long I couldn’t work how anybody could possibly have anything to talk about for that long. So I’d drink in the hope this would make me more interesting, but it would just make me really sleeeepppppyyyy, so I’d drink more in the hope I’d snap out of that but that wouldn’t work either. After improv I just open with “do you believe in aliens?” or something and see where that takes us.

So I think improv did change my life more than a bowl of porridge. It gave me better (and weirder) social skills, more confidence, more North Americans, more honesty, an alternative to drinking too much, George and Baby Jack!

Thank you improv