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Improv Games I Think I Invented

Daniel Jacobsohn
Apr 12, 2019 · 3 min read

What follows are some Improv games you can play. I had an intermediate to advanced group of players in mind.

Something Always Goes Wrong

Players: variable
Description: Perform the same well known one act play each night. The troupe must be prepared to do the whole play all the way through and perform it well. At some point during the play something goes wrong, on purpose. From the point of this incident on, the actors must improvise the rest of the play.

Repeat, After Me

Players: variable
Players line up. The first player sings a line from a song. The next player sings a line from a different song that responds to or builds on the previous line. Eventually one person won’t be able to quickly come up with another line. At that point they leave and each person sings the line they started with. After each player sings their line, the first player must sing a new original line that both lyrically and tonally make sense with the lines previously sung. The next player builds on that original line with their own original line. Repeat.

Mise En Abyme

Players: variable
Perform a very short scene (timed — under one minute) based on a suggestion. Get a new suggestion and new performers. Do a new very short scene (under one minute again) that must reference the previous scene. Keep doing this. Note: you only have to refer to the last scene (this isn’t some crazy memory game).

Computer 2

Players: variable
Play an Improv game. In advance, set up a computer and projector or large screen that can, at random intervals, pop up messages that give the actors instructions. All instructions are ways that computer mediated conversations can go haywire. Examples:
-the next word you say should be as if it was predictive text from a phone
-you’re actually phishing
-bad speech to text transcription
-interference or poor quality
-act out a GIF to respond to the current scene situation

What I really Mean To Say

Players: 2
Get a suggestion to start a scene. At any time, a player can say, “what I really mean to say…” followed by a statement. The other player hears and reacts to this. Insert as many of these as makes sense for the scene.

Alien Probe

Players: variable
Players split into two teams and act out a scene in which humans meet the aliens for the first time. Team human is, well, human. Team alien must act as a team and speak in gibberish. The gibberish should have a consistent sound, defined by the first player. Aliens and humans can interact in any way — friendly, hostile, romantic, whatever makes sense for the scene.

Epic Of The Ages

Players: variable
Get a suggestion for a scene. Play the scene some time in history. It could be ancient history or last week. When the scene is done, start a new scene in the current time. Players should not assume they knew anything about the previous scene, but should incorporate aspects of it that are relevant to their current scene. For instance, if the first scene shows the first domestication of sheep, the next scene could be about a company deciding to offshore their sweater factory. When the current day scene is done, players perform a scene from the future that incorporates aspects from the current day scene.

Speaking On Your Behalf

Players: 2
Players get a suggestion to start a scene. Perform the scene as normal, except that each player speaks for the other person. Could get complicated quickly, and could be a competitive game, swapping in players as one falters.

The Consultants

Players: variable
Players split into two teams. One team gets a suggestion for the name of their company. They act out a scene from the company. At some point, members of the other team enter as consultants, hired by corporate to ‘fix’ the company. Hilarity ensues.

It’s totally possible that you came up with one or more of these ideas first. Very little in Improv is completely original. If so, let me know and I’ll credit you.

If you liked this, I wrote another list of games I think I invented you might want to read.

Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash (modified by me)

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