Support Within the Improv Community

We recently sat down with Switch Member Alan Linic to discuss a topic of support within the improv community. Us improvisers work together and see each other night after night at different venues, but do we actually support one another’s efforts? Alan chimes in on this. trust-fall

1. Howdy

G’day sir. 

2. Lets get it. How do you feel about the improv community?

It is certainly a strange place, but nothing else really compares. It is a collection of individuals driven by
love and compulsion—we love each other and the art form, and feel compelled to do the work of play.

3. Do you feel supported by your peers?

Like all of us who have gone through training programs and/or are on independent/house teams
in Chicago, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented improvisers in the
world. These folks have made me a better improviser, a better person, and have given me a million
opportunities. Of course, the relationships I’ve built are not all equal with each other, but overall I feel
very lucky and supported.

4. Why do you think some people (improvisers) are unsupportive?

I don’t think people are unsupportive, but I do think that sometimes the “eye on the prize” mentality
can blind us to some degree. There are times when I feel like it’s easy to feel competitive with each
other, but I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to allow that to get in the way of remembering that the
people we compete with are also all people we play with, and that playing well with others comes first
and foremost in terms of being a good performer.

Another thing I sometimes see is people avoiding seeing shows or playing with specific people if they
feel that they are inexperienced or not as strong. First of all, I strongly believe that everyone we meet
has something to teach us one way or another. Secondly, none of us would be wherever we are now if
not for people around us—stronger than us, more experienced than us, with different perspectives than
us—helping out. They could be anything from a coach to a teammate to a favorite performer. Seeking to
elevate others is a powerful way of working muscles in yourself that would otherwise be neglected.

5. What are your suggestions on strengthening the community we belong to?

I think it’s important to remember that since we’re all in this together; taking care of each other extends
beyond what we do in our scenes. First and foremost, I would suggest going to your peers’ shows
whenever you can, and go with the mindset that you’re in the show. Want your friends to succeed, and
celebrate when they do. Fail with them from your seat when they fail. I believe we learn more easily
from watching and being there for each other when we are watching our teammates and friends.

Also, whenever you have a positive thought about someone as a person or as a player share it with
them! I feel like we keep our complimentary thoughts to ourselves too often—it feels good and brings
us all closer together if we know that our fellow improvisers are watching us and appreciating our styles
and moves. It takes almost no time or energy to tell someone that the character they did or the callback
they made or the scene they initiated made you laugh/surprised you/taught you something.

6. Check ya later home slice?

G’bye. 

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