Creating Sketch from Improv – My Day with Kevin McDonald

I’m super late in posting this. Last summer I took a weekend trip to my friends, Dorian and Krissy Lenz, improv theater in Phoenix-National Comedy Theater. I visit about once a year. Last year, I had the privilege of visiting the weekend Kevin McDonald from the Kids in the Hall was leading a workshop.

We learned the tricks of the trade as many of the Kids in the Hall sketches started as improvisations, often bad improvisations. At the beginning of the workshop, we broke up into groups of four and quickly performed an improvisation.

I’ve learned that improvisers┬ácan be incredibly judgmental people. I am certainly on that list. Almost immediately upon entering the classroom, I began separating the good improvisers and the bad ones. I’m so horrible. Fortunately, humility got the best of me, and I let fate decide my team. My team consisted of myself, a main stage performer and two novices.

We banged out a good improv based on the suggestion of Hunchback. Once our basic improv was set in stone, we were given three opportunities to refine it as a sketch and perform it in front of Kevin and the other classmates.

One thing I learned is to stop telling people how I would do it. Sure, I’d make a suggestion but ultimately the individual performer has to be comfortable with his/her performance and I’m just meddling if I expect more.

That night, all of us performed the sketches, and our hunchback sketch was the last sketch of the night. Check out the video and if you’re ever in Phoenix and want to see some amazing comedy, check out National Comedy Theater in Mesa.

Kevin McDonald Workshop – Turning Improv Into Sketch

I’m planning on writing about this more in the future, but this little featured on the NCT Phoenix website is a great overview of what we did over the weekend. Plus you get to see my fat self on screen.

The workshop was about learning create sketches from improvised scenes. I learned about about trust and teamwork, especially working with people who have performed improv for a long time and barely at all.