After talking to a number of Berlin's great stand-up comics, it became apparent that there was a real demand for an improv course organized specifically for stand-up comedians. Enough people were interested that the course has now been added! You can register on the courses page. Anyone who was previously signed up for another course, but would only like to take the new Improv for Stand-Ups course can get in touch on the contact page to be removed from the other course.
What's the deal with the Improv for Stand-Ups course?
The unique constraints of longform improv have motivated the development of a lot of innovative ideas with valuable uses outside of improv. Stand-up comedy is just one obvious area that can stand to benefit from them, but probably not for the reason one would expect.
Stand-up comics live and die by writing, honing, practicing, and executing a tried and true act, so it's no wonder that they would be apprehensive about an improvised performance, but the more significant difference between stand-up and improv is that stand-ups perform alone. An improviser lives and dies by their team. A natural-born, incredible stand-up can easily be just that and have great success, but improvisers must master collaboration before they have any chance at success.
Collaboration demands communication and clarity. It means that improvisers have a powerful incentive to articulate their ideas to others on their team. That motivates a strong culture of theory and I would argue that this is why longform improv has produced the most effective comedy educational institutions available. Improvisers have had no choice but to break an extremely complex art into a set of ideas that can be easily communicated and put into practice.
For decades longer than longform improv has existed, virtuosic stand-up comedians have been able to go their entire careers with their own approach to comedy and no need to explain it to anyone else. Most of them didn't bother and now that knowledge can only be gleaned from recordings of their performances (if any exist). Improvisers on the other hand start openly discussing their approach on day one and are almost assumed to eventually teach improv.
The Improv for Stand-Ups course is meant to take the lessons that are articulated in solid improv training and share them with stand-up comics such that the parallels are obvious and implementation can be immediate. It will address performance behavior, idea generation, and approaches to comedy, forcing students to ask themselves "What is funny?" The course will include writing exercises in addition to performance.
I should add that of course improvisers have something to gain from learning stand-up comedy as well. I've had only a little experience with it myself and found it terrifying...Which means I need to do more of it. That said, it would have been a lot worse if I wasn't comfortable improvising. I haven't given up yet, but personally I love collaborating with a team and that's part of the reason I can't stop improvising.
As always, get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions. Hope you like the new course.