Who is your favourite improvisers? They can be famous or unknown – they can be your friend! Think about it now who your favourites are and I Will list mine.
Ryan Styles – I remember watching Ryan from a very young age and laughing a lot at his physical humour – I always adored Ryan Stiles for his very wacky style of improv. It is one of those things that even when you watch it years later it still stands up and makes you laugh out loud.
Jeff B Davis – I only came across Jeff B Davis when I saw Whose Line Is It Anyway? Live in London a few years ago. He is a regular on the new revamped American version of the show, although I had never heard of him before. When I walked away from the show, I became an instant fan of his because he thought out of the box, he always approached every scene with a different concept to others and that is where I found the humour really laid.
Bev Fox and Ian McLaughlin – These were the two improvisers that I was initially trained by when I got into Improv. To me they will always be my Obi Wans as I learnt so much from them both.
Tom Walton – Tom is a member of Bev and Ian’s group The Suggestibles and he is one of the first improvisers I watched that made me realise that I really adore out of the box improv. Toms reactions to scenes are always wacky and highly physical on stage and it is one thing that i absolutely adore and always aim to be.
Suki Webster – I adore Suki Webster she is so fun to be trained by and she is one of those people that can just mould into characters at a click of a finger.
it wouldn’t be a list without Punders – I know this comes across as bias but I wouldn’t be in a group with these guys if I didn’t admire them as improvisers .
James – james is so fun the improvise with as he thinks out of the box and he will go the distance with any scene no matter what it entails. He is fantastic at characters, movement and owning the stage.
Michael – I can guarantee it now, put me In a scene with Mike and I will spend a lot of that scene trying my hardest not to laugh. MIke is naturally very funny and it great at accents and sound effects. When your In a scene with MIke you can push it to the wacky and you know you have got to a point where even he realises the silly as there is usually a certain glint in his eye that he does every time without fail. This doesn’t mean you stop pushing the silly it usually is a sign to push it as far as you possible can and he will support the crazy.
JBB – I always seen james as two things – the Punders cheer leader and everyone’s best friend on stage. You can put james into any situation and he will be there to support you no matter what. He always is aware when to play the straight man in a scene and he does it very very well. He is also team moral support. Off stage he is like a lovable bear – always supportive, always pushing everyone to be their best and he metaphorically throws glitter and joy into people’s lives.
Have you thought of your favourite improvisers yet? Now you have them there in your head, just like I have done above WHY they are your favourites.
I find that this is an important thing when doing improv or anything creative really, you need your inspirations because what they do on stage should be something that you take notes from. Not as in copy but inspire you.
I have always loved writing and when I was at college I aspired to design magazine layouts as it was something I enjoyed – my tutor advised me to scrap book magazine layouts I find inspiring – I did and 11 years later I still have it. When i started doing motion graphics in television I started to write down television shows I loved the graphics for and found admiring ( Bear Grylls mission Survive, Episodes, Have I got news for you, Russell howard’s good news title sequences) and to this day I do the same for editing ( Sherlock, Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix Version, Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals ).
These scrap books are really helpful, I use Pinterest a lot for ideas as well in everyday life and even graphics and cooking. Inspiration is sometimes looked as a bad thing because people think you are trying to copy what they do – this doesn’t mean you copy what they do it just means that you want to find your own inner person within these things.
When I am on stage in improv and I want to channel my inner physical and think about how I can Up the anti I think ” how would Ryan Stiles or Suki Webster approach it” when I want to think outside of the box I think of Tom Walton or Jeff B Davis.
Sometimes one stage you can be put into a situation where you need to work out how to resolve or come up with a reaction very quickly and for that I think of my Obi Wans – Bev and Ian. Thinking of them resolves everything.
I hope this article helps but the net time you think of your favourite improviser think about how they inspire you on stage.