Laughter's a funny thing...

The formula is simple: gather together one group of adults in a safe, friendly space, add some easy, non-competitive games and laughter will follow, as night follows day.

I’m sure that most of the folk who come to our workshops wouldn't describe themselves as ‘comic’, and we always make it clear that you don’t need to be ‘funny’ to do comedy improv. It’s not like stand up. Deliberate jokes or one liners don’t work. They might get a quick laugh, but they’ll kill the scene or certainly derail it. We need improvisers to stay in character to keep the reality of the world they’re co-creating, however surreal that might be. It’s not panto either, so other than providing suggestions to inspire the scene, there is no obvious audience participation, beyond their laughter. But that laughter is key.

What makes comedy improv funny? It’s hard to pin it down. It can be everything and seemingly nothing. Something ordinary becoming extraordinary or vice versa. Sometimes, the humour comes out of the blue, sometimes it builds, organically. There might be a particular combination of situation and character, object and profession; it might be the result of an unexpected status switch. Most often it seems to come simply from the relationship between the characters. But, whatever the origin, a significant factor must be that it’s all being made up in the moment, evolving second by second.  And that’s where the audience comes in - whether it's 50 people watching a show or just a handful of fellow players sitting back while we improvise a scene. 

As performers, as soon as we hear that first laugh, we‘re like puppets on strings. The sound of laughter in some magical way seems to influence our next action or line of speech. Another laugh and we respond again. At its best, it is a beautiful symbiotic relationship between the performers and the audience – a unique creative collaboration every time it happens.

And, for my money, there’s nothing quite like it!



Improvised Comedy Night


Saturday 29 June

The Cardigan Arms, Leeds

Join our resident improv group "Without a Hat", plus guests, for an hour of unscripted comedy. We'll be making up scenes and playing short form games - and it'll all be made up in the moment!

"Fast moving and entertaining"

Optional extras:

  • try out some easy warm-up games with us from 7.15 - 7.45
  • take part in our audience jam (after the show)
  • or just sit back and watch the fun from 8 to 9pm.

Entry is FREE, but please book your tickets in advance, so we know you're coming and can send you more info nearer the day.

Register here.

Cardigan Arms, 364 Kirkstall Road, Leeds LS4 2HQ

Improv Saturdays

Games galore and laughter unlimited...

Join us for a whole heap of stress-busting games and learn the fundamentals of comedy improv in a friendly, supportive environment. Come as you are - you don’t need to be funny, the laughter just happens.

“I haven’t laughed so much in years!” Robert, Leeds

Sat 22 June
10am to 12.30pm  £14
Clifton Village Hall, Otley LS21 2EX

Dates for your diary for upcoming Improv Saturdays:
28 September, 26 October, 16 November, 14 December

And don't forget our next Improv Jam in Otley:
Sun 7 July, North Bar Social 7pm
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