Weekend of Regret got ourselves booked at an indie show this Thursday at 10pm, while we’re in town for the Chicago Improv Festival. They’re looking for more NY teams, so let me know if you’re interested!
I’m going to write an article about “improvy” moments in movies. Not moments that seem to be improvised, but story decisions that seem like the kind of decisions that an improv education would encourage.
I have two main examples:
How in Teen Wolf, the movies treats the emergence of a werewolf…
I think Ghostbusters is a great example of “Yes, And”. Every step of the movie could’ve been justified to death or fought over, but instead the film accepts everything as a normal progression. The film starts with “quack scientists kicked off campus” and ends with “scientists battle ancient Sumerian god on roof of high rise.”
Last year author Douglas Coupland predicted that within the next 10 years: “We will still be annoyed by people who pun, but we will be able to show them mercy because punning will be revealed to be some sort of connectopathic glitch: The punner, like someone with Tourette’s, has no medical ability not to pun.”
Turns out some researchers already think “bad humor,” including excessive punning, is a disease. MSNBC reports:
Witzelsucht (the Germans just have the best words for everything, don’t they?) is a brain dysfunction that causes all sorts of compulsive silliness: bad jokes, corny puns, wacky behavior. It’s also sometimes called the “joking disease,” and as Taiwanese researchers phrased it in a 2005 report, it’s a “tendency to tell inappropriate and poor jokes.” We’ve covered all sorts of strange disorders of the mind in earlier Body Odd posts: one disorder makes you believe your loved ones are strangers, another convinces you that your hand has taken on a life of its own. Now, we give you a brain disorder that actually causes a poor sense of humor.
The trouble with elegant solutions is that they are created in an elegant world. Gears click together effortlessly, ideas flow without interruption, and friction fades away. In the elegant solution, equations balance, simplicity persist, and logic reigns supreme.
But the summer of problem solving ends, as all summers must, and we’re abandoned to the winter of application. Datasets are imperfect, edge cases arises, and all those beautiful, perfect little systems we’ve planned turn into a mess of conditionals and clean-ups. The pretty little world of crisp logic and simple algorithms is revealed to be nothing more than a sandcastle built during low tide.
Now your project is weeks late and every day staring at code just brings wave after wave of complication.
Oh, and the client wanted an igloo, not a sandcastle.
(Related: Is there a contest for beautiful and/or pretentious writing about software development? )
“Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.
As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.”—Excerpts from the obituary of one Michael “Flathead” Blanchard.
Reblog and describe the best improv scene you ever saw.
God, so many.
The Fwand Freeze: I barely remember the context (ants hiding from an exterminator?) but the entire team stood silently frozen for probably 3 or 4 full minutes. No one made any attempt at a joke, no one bailed. Just a team completely committed and totally confident they would pull off something amazing, without worrying about what it was.
Omelette Vision: Back when they were still getting stray 7pm spots (probably 2007), Billy described a Gypsy watch: a watch that ‘steals’ time. Not time travel, but ’steal’ time. The distinction was made but not explained. They continue doing scenes until the final scene, where a ski montage takes place. Right at the conclusion of the montage, Billy returns using his Gypsy watch to steal time back and bring us to start of the show. It blew my mind that you could manipulate time and form so easily and opened my eyes to the possibilities.
Two Man Movie: Improvised Network, to the point of recreating exact camera angles. Their love of the film and getting to play with it just oozed out of every scene.
“Del told me a great thing when I first started out at Second City, he was art director. I used to get by winking at the audience in my behavior and making smart jokes. And Del pulled me aside one day, after a show, and said ‘Some day you are going to look into a mirror and say “I’m so cute and I’m only 45 years old.”’ And it sort of sobered me up and taught me there was more than just scoring with the audience, it wasn’t about just getting a laugh. Del taught us the dictive [sic] that if you concentrate on making everyone else around you look good, it makes everybody look good. …which works in life as well as it does on the stage.”—Harold Ramis at Del Close’s Death Party (via improvoker)