Learning at Second City & the Power of Yes And
I’ve spent the last four years learning improv and comedy writing at the Second City Training Center and it’s been an invaluable resource that I highly recommend to anyone. In case you aren’t familiar, Second City is the same place where the careers of Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, and John Belushi started (to name a few). Not a bad lineup, huh?
Over the next few months I am going to impart the wisdom that I’ve learned studying the highest comedic principals that Second City teaches. This will cover anything from how taking an improv class can improve your sales skills, to the 11 funny filters you can use to create a joke, to how to create a parody Twitter account and write humor on the Internet, to how to write headlines like The Onion.
Before I can dig in deep I have to start at the beginning with the one comedic fundamental that is core to everything I’ve learned at Second City. It’s the two most important words in comedy: YES AND.
One of the reasons why taking classes at Second City is so awesome is because it’s a super supportive environment. YES AND stands for support and having each others back. It’s knowing that when you start a scene or go on stage that the others up there will ride or die with you Fast & Furious style.
And when I say ride or die I mean if one of your castmates starts the scene at the zoo and says to you, “monkey want a banana?” you act like a monkey who’s going bonkers for banana’s like it needs more cowbell. You say YES to the idea and then you build on top of it. It’s unconditional support.
The beauty of YES AND is that the principal of it works not only with improv and on stage but in every day life. The more that you build up people’s ideas instead of shooting them down the better your relationships will be and the fuller life you’ll live.
This can apply to every day conversations, supporting a friend or family member on a new venture, to the way you treat people. When the other person knows that you are there for them more smiles happen and the world becomes a better place.
Keep this YES AND principal in mind with everything else I’m gonna teach you in the coming months about comedy from Second City. I promise you it’ll be worth it and have a positive impact on the way you see the world and live your life.
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