More than 250 shows worth of knowledge boiled down to these 13 thoughts:
13) Watch improv. Running Crashbar Improv, I had the opportunity to watch 3 hours of improv a week. That was a huge advantage in my development as an improviser. Also, watch your teammates play with other people. Take yourself out of the equation and remember how great they are and how lucky you are to play with them.
12) Have teammates. Be on a team that practices. Do you love this thing? Then do it a bunch! There are a lot of great improvisers but not a lot of great teams. Aspire to be a great team.
11) Stage time is so important to getting better. You have to make every mistake on stage. The key is to learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them.
10) It’s an honor to perform. No one owes you anything, which is probably why my friends and I started this show in the first place. Treat stage time like the gift is.
9) Breaks are opportunities for your audience to leave. Use them wisely. That said, no one should be expected to watch more than 70 mins of anything.
8) You can probably get anyone to do your show but sometimes you’re better off not. Most top level groups don’t bring people but they keep people there and wanting to come back. Before you reach out to them, make sure you run a good show. Do you start on time, call good lights, have enthusiastic hosting, etc.? If so, hit up your heroes. If they’re available, they’ll probably do your show.
7) Don’t hate. I went through a phase where I picked apart comedians and improvisers I perceived as being above me. It never made me better. Not one bit. Then when I believed I had achieved a level of success in my career, it all went away. I felt validated so I was able to enjoy these performers and learn from them. If you’re feeling down or hating someone you perceive as getting all the breaks, find a way to validate yourself. Look at that sketch/video/tweet/improv group you made. You made that! That’s awesome. Sure it’s not perfect but that’s okay. Keep doing it! Keep making art.
6) Surround yourself with hardworking people.
5) Why should people come to your show? Why tonight? Continue to find new and exciting ways to answer those questions.
4) Know why you’re doing your show & check in regularly to make sure you’re meeting your goals and/or whether your goals have changed. If you’re not trying to make your show better, you’re making it worse.
3) Borrow from others. See something you like? Take it and make it your own. Just a few of the things we stole from UCB & TNT were to keep admission cheap/free, post a line-up outside the venue & have a jam.
2) Be excited for your show and never apologize for it. If you’re not excited why should anyone else be?
1) My only regret is I wasn’t more friendly.
Lastly, on a personal note, I want to say thank you. When we started doing this show 5+ years ago I had only done a handful of improv shows in my life. It was something I was starting to fall in love with but I wasn’t comfortable doing it. I was extremely nervous and uncommitted when performing and I want to thank you all for teaching me. Thank you for laughing when I made strong, committed choices, justified my unusual behavior, played it real and thought “if this is true, what else is true?”. You taught me how to improvise. You showed me to trust my training. I can never thank you enough. Now go out and support live comedy! -Casey
Casey Feigh produced Crashbar Improv with Lilan Bowden, Will Doughty, Jacob Womack & Diana Wright from July 10, 2008 – December 8, 2013. It was the best thing he ever did.