Sunday, October 10, 2010

CliffsNotes for Truth in Comedy

Truth in Comedy by Charna Halpern, Del Close and Kim Johnson is arguably the most widely-known and influential book about improv comedy. Here, for the convenience of those looking for a memory refresher or too lazy to read a 150 page book, is an outline of the major points from each chapter. Print this out and tape it to your mirror.

Chapter 1
Be honest
Don’t go for jokes
There’s nothing funnier than the truth

Chapter 2
Let humor arise out of the situation
Take the scene seriously
Agreement is the only rule that cannot be broken
Connections cannot be avoided, don’t force them

Chapter 3
Respect choices made by others
There are no bad ideas
There are no mistakes – everything is justified
Treat others as if they are poets, geniuses, and artists and they will be
The best way to make yourself look good is to make your fellow players look good
YES, AND – accept and build

Chapter 4
Make assumptions – don’t ask questions
Look for the game within your scene and play it
Listen and remember
Listen for the whole idea in a statement
Avoid preconceived notions

Chapter 5
Stay in the moment – what is happening now will be the key to discovery
Nothing is ignored – follow the unexpected twist

Chapter 6
Keep it simple – less is more
Avoid exposition
Start scenes in the middle
Take the active choice to forward action
Be specific – avoid generalities
Listen for the game move
Welcome the silences – there is action in thought

Chapter 7
Take the unusual choice
Listen to your inner voice
Reflect others' ideas

Chapter 8
Commit to the physical
Let your environment affect you
Be specific with your objects

Chapter 9
Reveal yourself through your character

Chapter 10
Find your function or role in every game

Chapter 11
The suggestion is the inspiration to discover the theme

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