- Jason Mantzoukis (cited by Improv Obsession)
Improv Artvice and Improv Obsession are pretty much married.
Hmm. Not a fan of advising people to “be interesting”. That’s where people (especially those just starting out) start to go to crazy town. People never find their first instinct interesting and they’ll go to absurd lengths to reach for the bar of “interesting”.
Specific, yes. Maybe I’d be more into “Be committed and be specific”. I’ll watch just about anything if the performer is fully invested in the choices they are making.
If you’re concerned, all you need to do is have a quick discussion about what makes things interesting. And this is the answer in a nutshell: By virtue of being a different human being from me, you are interesting. I want to know how you’re different from me and how you’re similar to me.
Like: How do you act on a first date? Is that how I act? Yes? Wow, I’m not so alone! No? Whoa, I just learned something. That’s interesting.
I get the semantic problem that crops up. Johnstone tells us to be mundane, be boring. Trying too hard to be original makes us do silly, crazy, unrealistic things. What Mantzoukas is saying is that those mundane, realistic things can be incredibly interesting because we find real humans incredibly interesting.
And if you’re doing something that is interesting to you, then it will be interesting to us. I don’t want to watch someone on stage bored by their own thing; I want to see someone passionate, fired up, and excited by their shit. That’s interesting!
I agree with Vinny’s hesitation and concern in advising people to do something “interesting”. I feel like there should be a footnote that clarifies “interesting” to mean “do something that is interesting TO YOU”. If you say do something interesting, people (perhaps more beginner level improvisers) may be more inclined to play what they THINK other people want to see, rather than honoring their own comedic voice. Though, coupled with the idea of being specific, being interesting will hopefully come from a unique, individual place.
First of all, I’m definitely #teambeintersting.
Second, I’ve received this note in class before, from Miles Stroth, who received the same note from Del Close. The thing is, hearing the note “Be interesting” in class is a lot different than reading it in a Tumblr feed.
You’re doing scenes and some of them are funny and some of them are silly, but to be stopped and hear the note, “Be interesting”… it really hits you. It’s as if, “Oh, I wasn’t being interesting before?” Or, “I can’t just do silly scenes anymore.” And I have to stop and think: well, what does that mean? What do I think is interesting?
And Miles admitted he was baffled at the time he heard the note from Del. “What is interesting?” Then he added: “I’m not going to say. Just do some scenes. And be interesting.”
Our scenes were better for it.