Improv emphasizes showing over telling, a principle that often manifests in a technique known as “the invisible game” on Key & Peele. The central joke of these scenes is ladled out, beat by beat, but never spoken of. “The audience loves to figure things out,” says Key, who has extensive professional acting experience and a unique physicality honed by emulating silent masters such as Chaplin and Keaton. “They love it when a performer leaves a trail of bread crumbs for them, and they get to participate in the comedy.”
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.