3 Things I Learned At Improv Class

Here at ROK we frequently say that you should constantly be working on ways to improve yourself. To that end, I recently enrolled in a beginners improv course to see what effect, if any, it would have on my conversational and social skills, as well as on my confidence. While the class definitely paid dividends in each of these areas, it also turned out to be a lot of fun—so much so that I’m planning on taking another early next year. Below I outline what an improv class is like, and share the top three things I learned.

Improv—short for improvisation—is the art of producing spontaneous, acted scenes, usually between small groups of people. They can be comic, serious, or something in between.

Who Goes to a Beginners Improv Class?

You will likely find a fairly motley collection of people at your local improv class. Some will be aspiring actors, perhaps with prior training. Others will be stiff, slightly desperate office drones, in search of a creative outlet. Others still will be directionless millennials, just coming to understand—dimly—that their post-humanities degree cubicle job is entirely with out value or dignity, and that this is their lot until they die, and that it is therefore pleasurable to forget by hollering and whooping for a few hours, indulging in adult “play.” Most will be friendly, though, offering you the chance to widen your social circle if you so wish.

Put aside your reservations about the irredeemably chodey reputation that improv has in some quarters. This is largely unjustified, and anyway, there is a lot to be learned from it.

What Happens At Class?

An improv class usually caters for between ten and fifteen students and is run by a tutor. The tutor may or may not be a failed actor who is compelled to make a living this way. Or they may be a bright-eyed, hippyish former drama student who is really into connecting with her inner child and one day hopes to be in a Gap advert. It depends.

The tutor will lead the class through a series of warm-up games and exercises, before gradually getting small groups of people to enact scenes in front of the rest of the class. They will give instructions along the lines of “imagine you’re all on a plane and  . . . the plane is made of jelly!’”

These scenarios may be devised by the tutor or the by the rest of the group. To imagine what this is like, think back to drama class at school. Yes, I’m, afraid all of that “be a tree” stuff is out there waiting for you. This time, though, it will be with a bunch of adults in some shabby disused rehearsal space in the arty, rent-controlled side of town.

To get the most out of improv you should put your cynicism aside. In real life I am by nature someone who is more comfortable with serious conversations, and who can find “organized fun” a little embarrassing. But the purpose of taking an improv class is to expand the limits of your character, so you should go in prepared to shed your inhibitions.

I made a pact with myself to forget about my normal limitations for the two hours I was there and just open myself up to a new experience. If you do the same, then improv will definitely pay dividends, improving your confidence and social skills. Here are three specific things I learned, and how they can be applied in everyday life.

1. Say Yes to Everything

One of the fundamentals of improv is saying yes—that is, not blocking the flow of a scene by dumping on someone else’s idea. So, if someone says “we’re on a spaceship made of cheese,” then rather than telling them it’s a crap idea, you should say “yes” by eagerly taking the bait and running with it, building on and extending what has been proposed.

This can work very well in normal conversation. Say you are talking to a girl in a nightclub, and she starts talking about something that bores you, like her holiday in Florida. Rather than shutting her down and trying to change topics, try latching onto what she has said and mining it for humorous possibilities or extending it to the point of absurdity. In the case of the Florida comment, you could talk about the two of you overthrowing Mickey and Minnie Mouse as the king and queen of Disneyland. Anything stupid and fun to create vibe and keep the conversation going.

If you’ve done some improv training you’ll find you will quickly become more adept at this as your brain starts to find quirky little connections faster.

2. You Don’t Have to Worry About Being Funny or Clever

In improv, you are taught not to sweat being the next Steve Martin or Nietzsche. Not everything that comes out of your mouth is going to be a perfectly-formed Wildean bon-mot, or earth-shatteringly intelligent. The good news is, this is the same for everyone, so don’t worry about it. When you take the pressure off yourself to be impressive, you will find that your mind works more efficiently and that strangely you are more able to come up with those conversational gems than when you are trying too hard.

Again, this works really well when you are in a social setting such as a club or bar. Give yourself permission to say stupid and even boring things sometimes. It really doesn’t matter—your main aim should simply be to keep the conversation going. When you practice this a few times you’ll be pleasantly surprised about how entertaining you can be when you’re relaxed.

3. The Awesome Power of Sustained Eye Contact

Having to act in scenes with people in character for sometimes up to ten minutes at a time, in particular with people who had had acting training, really honed my ability to hold eye contact without embarrassment for long periods of time. In any kind of acting, the ability to be still and self-contained is crucial. The class really helped me with this. Even after a few short weeks, I now find that I am able to look at people more steadily and unwaveringly then before. This really helps in all types of interactions, from meeting girls to holding successful business meetings.

I can’t recommend improv enough for instilling and honing these basic social skills. I am certainly glad I took the class and I look forward to beginning again in the new year.

For more on using simple social skills to meet beautiful women, click here.

Read More: The Most Important Trait that Leads to Male Success 

59 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned At Improv Class”

  1. Jeremy Piven improved this scene in PCU, and it probably wound up being the most memorable quote of the movie. “Your going to wear the T-shirt of the band your going to see? Don’t be that guy.”

  2. Dafuq?
    Don’t even know where to start here.
    “In the case of the Florida comment, you could talk about the two of you overthrowing Mickey and Minnie Mouse as the king and queen of Disneyland.”

        1. So basically you’ll only engage women in reasoned, logical discourse about weighty topics of profound interest and importance?
          I predict your idea of taking less pussy will come true, if that’s the case.
          Perhaps I’m assuming incorrectly, can you enlighten me as to what precisely you mean? How would you communicate with women in order to gain her interest?

        2. Well, you have me dead to rights on your first point. I almost never engage women on weighty topics (unless it is telling them to loose weight)
          Maybe I reacted too quickly and without due thought. The improv class just struck me as something — well, something odd. However, taking into account it’s source and the several good articles I have seen from the author I will spend some more time thinking about it.

        3. He’s not saying learn to love improv. He’s just saying learn a few useful skills from it.
          Thinking on your feet, keeping a conversation moving regardless of how boring her desired topic is, accepting that everything you say won’t be super cool or super funny and not worrying about it because everyone says stupid or boring stuff when talking to someone at some point, etc.

        4. Heh, no problem brother.
          Maybe I reacted too quickly and without due thought. The improv class just struck me as something — well, something odd.
          Yeah, I get that. You couldn’t pay me to attend one of those classes, however I do think that being able to ‘talk on one’s feet’ is a great skill to have. This is why I recommended a bar tending job on my first post. Much less embarrassing, far fewer artsy fartsy types (whom I have come to loathe, except a few of their women here or there) and teaches you other life lessons as well.

    1. Think of it like this. A lot times when you are talking to a random girl, you are going to be talking shit. If you can hold a straight face while talking about Mickey and Minnie with a group of strangers, you won’t have any trouble using a bullshit excuse to talk to some hot chick.

      1. Fair enough…still, one would better serve themselves by learning this with actual field practice than by being in an improv class. I’m not really prepared to argue the death out of this. If some people find improv enjoyable then so be it. It just struck me as odd.

        1. Field practice, absolutely. Improv is just something to consider on the side, if you’re so inclined. It puts you on the spot, which helps with confidence.

        2. Well as I always say, the best way to learn how to fight is…. to fight… although I’m a lover not a fighter…

  3. I can get laid without stooping to such degrading depths, but have fun at your improv class.

  4. There is something to be said about the being able to hold a good conversation, and that in itself requires having good improvisational skills.
    If you can’t converse with a woman, you’re probably not going to get her to fuck you either.

    1. Without an impromptu escalation the more you talk to a girl, the more you dig yourself in the friends zone. Better whisper to her ear with you cock inside her vagina.

      1. Now I know where I’m going wrong. I’ve been whispering to her vagina with my cock in her ear.

  5. I know a computer programmer in NYC who used improv to overcome his crappy public speaking skills.

        1. This would explain why I had the sneaking suspiscion this morning that my computer controlled toaster was staring at me.

        2. Your computer controls your toaster?
          That’s where it starts man. Shut the power off before it’s too late!

      1. He says it’s been night and day. Part of the issue as well was that he is an immigrant and his accent compounded the issue. He continues to perform for fun, I guess the improv club puts on shows every now and then.

  6. Very interesting! Presumably this article and its advice would really help out introverts, especially new converts to red pill who are still struggling with blue pill stammering around women.
    If you don’t feel like hanging out with dejected Millenials and artsy fartsy types, a job as a bartender can quickly teach you the same skillset, usually supplemented with a healthy education about people which develops into a realistic cynicism about human nature. Comes in quite handy in life.

      1. Yep. They’re already tipsy, they look to you as the guy who keeps feeding them tasty sugary drinks (ugh) and who they can flirt with while feeling “safe”. By the fourth appletini you are now the hot guy who all the other girls are looking at (through bleary eyes) which provides immediate social proof despite the fact that they’ve forgotten all those women are looking at you because they’ve ordered a drink. Many of them will slip you their number with your cash tip, even with their boyfriend sitting right next to them. Quite shamelessly really.
        You can be slightly overweight and short and still get laid as a bartender in the right kinds of bars, assuming you can throw out conversation and humor and keep your frame as the man with the plan. If you’re tall, good looking and in good shape you can write your own ticket with nearly any woman who ambles up to the mahogany. Throw in the ability to get people to talk to each other (instead of you) by sparking conversations between them and you basically have nearly a dream job.

        1. I dislike sweets in general, to the point that I can even detect sugar in ketchup now and have to really search to find things without sugar in them. It makes me retch, literally. Think it’s something genetic, I stopped eating birthday cakes at age 4, the family started buying me birthday pizzas, I simply refused cake/icing. It’s a me thang.
          Plus, well, sugar drinks are for pussies and women. Scotch straight up, or beer, cold. heh

        2. I agree. I actively avoid sweet things generally now. There is no need for so much sugar in food and you can consider sugary drinks to be a major factor in the obesity epidemic.

        3. if you dont want to have sugar but still have a sweet tooth, id recommemd trying stevia. its a sugar alternative that numerous studies have shown to actually be benefitial.
          3 things to note though:
          1. it can lower high blood pressure, so if youre already on blood thinners talk to a doctor about it
          2. dont buy brands like truvia bc they dont use the portion of the plant thats good for you. i personally buy bulk stevia powder off amazon
          3. its something like 100x sweeter than sugar so a little goes a long way. and too much makes it taste very bitter.

    1. There shouldn’t be any negative as the art form is 100% positive in that you can only agree or add. In the PUA lingo, it is Agree & Amplify. There are some absolute weirdos that take part but that’s generally any form of expression.
      I take courses now & love it.
      Building off of Troy, here are two additional take aways.
      1. It doesn’t fucking matter-create whatever you want and have confidence behind it, people will believe it. If you can visualize it then display it. You fail? O’well, no one will care because you were grounded in your belief. Don’t half ass it and you are bullet proof.
      2. Presence-Be congruent with whatever you are displaying. Commit your energy and mind to the display and again, you are bullet proof.
      Lastly, the biggest benefit of Improv is getting you out of your head. In today’s day & age, that is invaluable.
      Hard up idiots lolknee and Mr. Salami can knock it all they want. I’ll be at the bar, running the room.

  7. From the “Charisma Myth” when it comes to conversation skills:
    If you are listening:
    .Don’t ever interrupt anyone. If someone interrupts you when you are talking, let them(in this case make your senteces shorter).
    .Always mantain eye contact
    .Smile(or at lest imagine that you are smiling)
    .If you are feeling that you need to wait for your turn to speak or when you start disctracting with what he/she is saying, refocus on the moment, focus on the present(if you are meditating you can focus for a sec in your breath).
    If you are speaking:
    .People remember more about the feeling of the conversation than the topics one was talking about. Be the guy who don’t talk negative shit, let others associate you with someone relaxed, enjoyable, easy to talk guy.
    .Speak slower, lower your intonation at the end of the sentence
    .Make eye contact
    .Don’t focus on yourself, focus on the one you are talking to(people love taling about themselves)
    .If you are gonna explain something/talk about something, try using methaphors or pictures, things like that are easier to remember than just plain boring anecdotes.

  8. Nice. I’ve done improv classes and a live show and I definitely agree, it helps with confidence enormously. Transfers very well into other aspects of life like game, business and everyday conversation.
    If you think you can’t learn to think on your feet and be spontaneous, you’re wrong. Give improv a shot.

  9. Good stuff. I’ve thought about taking improv…but I’m worried that I’ll say stuff that’s too politically uncorrect/red pill and people will think I’m a racist/sexist/mean guy

    1. So what? First rule, stop caring what people will think. Want to really turn a woman on? Be an unapologetic sexist who manages to make her giggle and laugh.
      Fuck what other people think. The purpose isn’t what they think, it’s what they feel. You can have a conversation about Zyklon B and death camps, and if you can make it humorous and entertaining, the women will be like putty in your hands.
      And remember, if what you say makes them hate you, well, hate and love are very closely related. A flip of a switch here or there and you go from “awful sexist biggot!” to “OMG, he’s such a real man! I want my vagina around his cock!”

      1. Here’s one to consider Troy. How to handle women who approach you with gushing compliments. I just had an American woman (quite attractive) approach me in a coffee shop and tell me my “outfit was amazing”. I was so surprised I was rendered speechless.
        Thing is, I am usually quite suspicious of these kinds of compliments from American women, as though they might be “fishing”.

        1. That was kind of my assumption but she didn’t really carry it further. I continued to talk but she almost seemed to retreat. Possibly she felt a little embarrassed (the barista got involved with the compliments). Have to say though if she had at least offered her name I would have asked for her number.

  10. This is a minor point, but there is something about that cover photo which makes one disinclined to read the
    article. I know its not fair to conflate an essay with its image, but unfortunately the presentation does create an initial impression—either good or bad.

  11. Nice post. Since it started up way back in the Mystery days I had always thought PUA/The Game was expensive, new-aged bullshit, and that what matters–getting a girl you approached engaged and smiling–is a skill that could be learned through more traditional means such as acting or comedy training.

  12. Troy ! Thanks for reading the commentary sections and providing solutions to our problems mane.
    Cheers to you!

  13. Man….
    This brings back painful memories for me.. When I was a freshman in high school I was “the new kid”. I signed up for drama class because I thought it would be fun. I quickly learned that drama class is introvert hell. I was painfully shy in those days and being in a class full of cool kids and hot chicks made it even worse. I looked like a blundering dumbass in the solo exercises but the group improvs were sometimes fun and I made people laugh. However, I would not recommend drama class if you are introverted.

  14. “Put aside your reservations about the irredeemably chodey reputation that improv has in some quarters”
    I will not. The glory of Improv derives from the fact that pretty much everyone can agree it is aggressively horrible and thoroughly lacking in the department of having a good time.

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