My first meeting with Mike Schur, one of the two creators, about Ron Swanson, we almost opened the meeting by saying, “Well, this guy has a kickass mustache.” And I don’t usually wear a mustache. I think Mike had once seen me at an audition forThe Office with a mustache, so that was where we started.
There was a side of my demeanor—I’m not always stoic and expressionless like Ron, but sometimes I am. So I think Mike took that plainspoken, no-bullshit side of me, and liked that color a lot. They found it incredibly hilarious that someone would have a wood shop and make things out of wood for fun so they laced that into the character.
Comedy Hack Day, a 36-hour hackathon where participants from both the comedy and tech communities worked together to create some future funny business, appears to have been a crapload of fun.
The big winner of the event is ShoutRoulette, which connects opinionated users to other people with the exact opposite opinion, allowing them to shout at each other. Each member wins a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and entry into the New York Tech Meetup. Other winners include the McKayla Is Not Impressed Chrome Extension (a meme generator), and Spacebar to Money Shot (um, don’t ask.) Even ScatRoulette wins something: The Chris Gethard Memorial Award, which consists of a hug from the judge that goes on for an exceedingly long period.
This is a branch of the Second City improv theater that launched the careers of Steve Carell and Tina Fey among many others. I had no idea they did public workshops until seeing them at our event a few months ago — the audience loved it.
Second City Communications applies the wisdom gained through improv comedy to help companies be more innovative and creative with their thinking. What Yorton has learned is that many folks in the business world simply lack experience thinking in uncritical ways. “People are expected to be good at this stuff, but it’s an unrealistic expectation given the amount of practice they get. So it’s not surprising that people aren’t really comfortable with it.”
Here are seven tactics to help spur uninhibited expression. With any luck, it’ll be raining innovative ideas in no time.
“Fred Armisen and I are obsessed with the minutiae of a situation. What is fomenting the most discomfort in a relationship? It’s usually where someone’s belief system kind of goes off the rails. That’s where we want to start exploring, because that moment is where you feel almost your worst.”