Games We Play
You'll likely see a selection of these games at our shows. But with improv, expect the unexpected, and we're always looking to add to our arsenal of games!
3-Headed Broadway Star
Three performers sing a Broadway-style song, with each performer singing one word at a time, in turn. The title of the musical and the song are audience-suggested. The song is occasionally sung to an audience member seated in front of the performers.
Three performers act as a single person, an expert on a given subject. Each performer says one word at a time, in turn.
Performers enact a given scene in which each sentence must begin with the subsequent letter of the alphabet, beginning with an audience-suggested letter. The performers must go through the entire alphabet once in 90 seconds or less.
A scene is started with three performers. The emcee interrupts the scene several times, and at each interruption all actors in the scene get switched. Performer A becomes Performer B, B becomes C and C becomes A. They take over the character and physical position of the person they are switching to.
One or two performers act freely while another is given a playbook. That performer responds by reading an audience-provided character from the playbook.
Alphabet Tag Out
Performers enact a given scene in which each sentence must begin with the subsequent letter of the alphabet, beginning with an audience-suggested letter. The performers must go through the entire alphabet as many times as they can. When a performer does not use the subsequent letter, the audience will buzz them out, allowing a new performer to tag in.
Four performers sing a song about a member of the audience, to a blues tune, one line at a time. The second and forth lines of the song should rhyme. Four lines make one verse; after the first verse, a second verse is started by performer number 2; and so forth. After four verses every player has both started and ended a verse and the song is over.
Bong, Bong, Bong
All but one performer leaves, while the remaining performer gets a suggestion of a common expression. The first performer is given a set amount of time to communicate this suggestion to the 2nd performer, using only mime and Gibberish. The 2nd performer then communicates (what they have understood) to the 3rd performer, who does the same to the 4th performer,etc. If they believe they know the expression before the time limit, they yell Bong Bong Bong. At the end, all performers line up and explain what they believe the expression to be.
Three performers take on a persona of their choice as contestants on Jeopardy, while a forth portrays Alex Trebek. The contestants call out the categories and dollar amount, the audience provides the "answer" for that category; the performers then have to make up the questions based on the original category and the audience "answer." "Alex" decides who buzzes in first, and if their question is correct. In Final Jeopardy (after 4 or 5 questions), "Alex" picks the category. As in Jeopardy, each performer will give their question and dollar amount.
Two or three audience members come up on stage. During the given scene, a performer may, mid-sentence, tap the audience member, who will then give the performer a random word to work in to their sentence.
One performer is a contestant on a dating-type show. The other three performers are the possible dates who are given odd personalities or characters by the audience or emcee. Following two rounds of questioning, the contestant must guess who the others are.
Famous Last Words
A scene is performed, starting with a line of dialogue provided by the audience. At the sound of a bell, the two performers in the scene leave, two new performers come in starting a new scene using the last line of dialogue from the previous scene.
Foreign Film Dub
Two performers enact a scene in a foreign language chosen by the audience, while two other performers "translate" into English after each line.
Two performers begin in audience-suggested positions and must begin a short scene based on that position (though they can then move freely). At some point, one of the other performers calls "freeze", at which point they tag one of the two on-stage performers and take their exact physical position, and begin a new scene. Performers continue to replace each other and perform short scenes.
Half Life/ Double Time
Based on an audience suggestion, a scene is performed in 64 seconds. That same scene is then performed again in 32 seconds, 16 seconds, 8 seconds, 4 seconds, and finally in 2 seconds. Using the essence of the 2 second scene, new performers then come in and create a new scene in 4 seconds. They will then expand that scene to 8 seconds, 16 seconds, 32 seconds, and finally 64 seconds.
Three performers enact a given scene; one performer can move freely, while another cannot use his arms, and places them behind his back; the third provides the arms for the second, placing his own arms through the second's armpits. The performers are provided with a table full of props, some of which are occasionally messy. They are also commonly provided with aprons or other protective costumes.
Irish Drinking Song
The four performers sing an Irish drinking song about an audience-suggested subject. The performers each sing a line, in turn, in an eight-line stanza beginning with the first performer and running two rotations through the performers. The second performer begins the second eight-line stanza, and so-on to complete four stanzas. Each stanza typically has a rhyme scheme in which the second and fourth performers' lines rhyme. The first and third performers' lines don't typically rhyme.
Two performers enact a given scene. Two other performers or special guests stand in for props during the scene.
Two performers enact a scene, but they cannot move on their own. Instead, two audience members must move them into different positions during the scene.
Dialogue is provided by the audience and written down by the host. The players then enact a scene using the audience provided dialogue only, but chaning the emotions and/or meaning of the dialogue.
Number of Words
Two or three performers act out a given scene. Each is also assigned a number, which is the exact number of words each must use at a time.
One performer hosts a party at which three guests will arrive one at a time, prompted by a doorbell sounded by the emcee. The guests are assigned odd personalities or characters by the audience. As the scene ensues, the host must identify what each guest is portraying. When their quirk is guessed correctly, a performer finds a reason to leave the party.
One performer is giving a press conference while the others ask questions as reporters. The subject of the conference is either a known figure giving some sort of announcement (e.g., Santa retiring) or some sort of unusual achievement (e.g., the first female Pope). The subject is not informed of their identity, and must deduce it from the questions that the reporters ask.
Two performers enact a given scene speaking only in questions, while the other performers wait in two lines, one behind each of them. If either performer speaks in a non-question, or takes too long to respond, the host or audience sounds a buzzer and they are replaced by the performer behind them.
Two or three performers enact a given scene. A bell sounds at various times during the scene; the performer who had the last line must then provide an alternate line. The changed line is commonly itself "changed", leading to either confusion, or a punch line under the comedic rule of three.
Scene played in rhyming verses. The idea is that the first performer offers a line, and the second performer rhymes to that. Then the second performer offers another line, with which the first performer needs to make a rhyme. Performers that hesitate or forget to rhyme are buzzed out by either the audience or the emcee, and replaced by another performer. The idea is to keep the story going, so performers that can`t find a good rhyme to advance the story should be buzzed out rather than putting the story at risk.
Scenes From A Hat
The audience submits written suggestions which are placed in a hat. The host then draws from the hat, and any of the performers, who stand off-stage, may enter and develop a scene based on the suggestion.
Scene To Music
The performers enact a scene involving style changes as the background music played changes.
Sit, Stand, Lean
Three performers enact a given scene; at any given time, one must be standing, one must be sitting, and one must be either bending over or leaning. Whenever one changes position, the others must change to maintain this requirement.
One performer presents a "slide show" based on a big activity, perhaps a trip through the jungle or the construction of a home. The other performers become what`s in the slides, and the "expert" has to describe the tableau. The idea is that the story is built both by the presenter, and by the images the other players present in the slides.
Two performers act onstage while a pair of audience members are chosen to provide the sound effects; one for each performer. The performers must adapt to the sound effects given by the pair of audience members.
Three performers enact a given scene. Two of the performers are limited to using only two specific given lines each.
Two performers act out a given scene. They are each given several slips of paper with amusing lines written on them suggested in advance by the audience. Periodically, the performers pull a slip of paper out of their pocket and must include the line in the scene. It is the performer’s task to justify the lines in the scene.
A game in which the audience provides the name and function of a new item that will be on sale soon. One of the performers acts as an ad exec and brings this new item in for the other performers to discuss how best to sell. They will come up with a package design, slogan, spokesperson, jingle, and anything else to help make the product real. Often this ends by having the performers act out a commercial. The commercial may be used throughout a show.