January is a bit of a mixed time in the UK – the beginning of the month is full of celebration and saying goodbye to Christmas, no-one has been paid for ages, the weather cannot decide what is wants to do and everywhere you look every one is slowly wilting away thanks to flu and cold. Sadly this week the dreaded cold took me over the day we rehearse and I could not make improv this week. I hate missing Improv but sometimes your health has to come first no matter what.
So this week there will be no updates on what we learnt in rehearsal, however I have found it an interesting week learning things away from improv. Last week, we were exploring the ideology of characters and ways that you can create them out of nothing. This week I am going to combine my case study into my writing as it is all relevant.
This week I have been listening to Conan O’Briens podcast that featured the comedian Dana Carvey. For anyone who is an improviser I really recommend listening to this episode of Conan Needs A Friend as it has some really insightful stuff about character development that can be transferred onto the stage within improv.
The one thing I loved about this episode is the amount of characters that both Dana and Conan create in a matter of an hour. The one thing that I really walked away from this episode is that a good character is created from a quirk that you give that person – it doesn’t have to be true but having that one quirk will automatically create a persona of that person. The accent comes sort of afterwards.
For example, Dana Carveys version of Jeff Bridges is that he is always hungry or that he has just eaten a huge meal. It may not be what Jeff does but having that one little quirk on a celebrity makes all the difference and really highlights the character.
I have attached a few videos below just to show you the talents of jut how great Dana is at characters and maybe give you inspiration for your next improv show. I know he has definitely given me a lot to think about…