Posted By on December 19, 2006

“Two New Ideas for Improv Games”

.: It’s 12:55 in the morning, and I’m tired. I’ve tried to sleep for the past two hours but to no avail. I’m too disoriented to read a book, so I’ve decided to share with you two new improv games I developed with Susan and Dallas a few days ago.

.: The first game is called Book Interview. Basically, two people play an interviewer and an author on a sort of book review television show. The interviewer asks questions which hint at the book’s subject matter, and the author has to create an elaborate story on the spot to match the hints. So, for instance, the interviewer could make up a title like “Feathers in the Quicksand,” and the author would have to explain just what in the heck that means.

.: The second game, which to me seems much more difficult, is called Psychic. Inspired by Sylvia Browne’s disastrous faux pas, one player (the “psychic”) has to perform a cold-reading routine where they pick another player (someone who knows a guy whose name starts with “m,” for instance) and ask a bunch of psychic-like questions. The chosen player then proceeds to contradict every single statement made by the psychic, who then has to backtrack and offer “explanations” for the seemingly contradictory statements in the most insensitive manner possible. Something like,

Psychic: I’m feeling pressure all over me, sort of like wind, and it’s really cold. Did she die in a blizzard?

Person: No, she parked the car in a garage and left the engine running.

Psychic: Well, did she have the air conditioner on full blast? It’s common for suicide victims to get really hot before they decide to off themselves. She might have had the air conditioner on to cool down, and that’s why I’m feeling this windy pressure.

Person: No, her car didn’t even have air conditioning.

Psychic: Are you sure? Because I’m feeling a cold, windy pressure…

.: Of course a game like that can only go on long enough before another player has to play the Montel Williams role and intervene. Alternatively, a game with the premise of “making shit up on the spot” could just as easily be called Bill O’Reilly.

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