Blog

How to increase “Entertainment Value”

blog, Classes Blog | Comments Off

What’s most important to you?

friends animated gif on Giphy

We work hard for our money, right?   And although we Americans love to just throw money away, we don’t see it as throwing it away if it makes us happy.  A good restaurant, a great movie, a unique oddity “as seen on TV” that we must have!!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it only feels like we are throwing money away if we didn’t like it.  The price of a movie hasn’t changed much over the last few years – but you and I have both walked out of movie or comedy show saying “that was a waste of money”.  If you don’t like it – the Value of your entertainment goes down.  LOVE IT?  Would you pay double?

Whatever makes you happy, right?

I’ve taught improv comedy classes for over 13 years.   Below is a conversation I regularly have with my advanced improv students:

ME: “What does our audience want?”
THEM:  “To be entertained”
“How do we do that?”
“um…  We make them laugh.”
“How do we do that?”
“um…  we say or do something funny.”
“So if you make them laugh, it’s guaranteed they are entertained?”
“um… not necessarily.”

 

So, if we are in the business of entertaining all ages – how do we do that?   I think most improv groups, comics, writers, poets, musicians, (insert more entertainers here) on an professional level give the audience what they want.  It’s gotta be a lot more than they expect, because “making them laugh” isn’t entertaining enough.

For the purpose of my point, I will use movies.  However, books, TV, commercials, plays, etc. all can be used as well.

I love a good movie.  I think everyone can relate to movies, because there are good movies, great movies and terrible movies!  Let’s look at these and analyze why we love them… I’ve come up with 3 denominators.

Consider the following:

1.  Action! 

the matrix animated gif on Giphy

Shoot em up, blow em up!!  Car chases, adventures, fighting, superhero’s, etc.   James Bond, Ironman, Die Hard, Mission Impossible stuff!!  Last year Ironman 3 grossed 408 Million dollars…  We love it and can’t get enough action in our movies.

Action moviesWe need action in our entertainment to feel that we are getting things done.  Even in Cast Away… There was Action.

2.  Emotion  ;O)

tumblr_lmktuaDrRG1qd9x6to1_250Sappy, lovey-dovey, chick-flick love stories.  From The Notebook to Sleepless in Seattle – our heartstrings yearn for feel-good movies.  Love story and fantasies that give our routine, daily life, a little dose of hope.

Romance Movies

3. Details

Friends803BrandNewInformationIt’s information about what’s going on, who’s involved and where it’s happening.  Documentaries have hours of interviews, facts, figures, opinions – the details that peak our curiosity and arouse our intellect.  Details help us understand what’s going on…  period.

DocumentariesBut “Details” are not just for documentaries…  they are necessary for ALL films, stories, skits, etc!   Exposition: who, where, what, when, how & why?

If you are missing details you are bound to get a bad review!!

Every movie has a variety of these three

Think about it…   what is your favorite movie?  Why?  Because it provides you with just the right amount of action, emotion and details (depending on the genre) and they present it with engaging characters and story to support the right balance of those elements.  If an action movie has too much sappy romance or a chick-flick doesn’t have enough detail – are you satisfied as a viewer?

russell crowe animated gif on Giphy

So what does all this have to do with the Entertainment Value of an improv comedy show?

Let’s go back to our conversation:

“What does an audience want?”
“To be entertained”
“How do we do that?”

 

Let’s insert information we just learned:

“We provide audiences with a show where each scene has a variety of Action, Emotion and Detail – all wrapped up in fun, energetic improvised skits.  Since they are coming to a comedy show, we add in the fundamentals of humor.  Every scene should have details that helps them understand who, where and what is going on; a range of emotions (how do I feel about what was just said or done); and action that keeps them visually stimulated and anxious for what’s next.”

 

When you give the audience

MORE than they expected,

the “VALUE” of the entertainment

is increased.

Joker Card – Annual Pass 2014

blog, Live Shows, Shows, Special Events | Comments Off

January 1, 2014 – January 1, 2014

7117 E. McDowell Rd.

View MapMap and Directions | Register

Description:

How would you like to have access to nearly 300 JesterZ improv shows in 2014 – All for ONE low price!!??

ONLY $100 until Dec. 24 (Regular Price:  $125)

JesterZ Improv Theater is busy all year round with Main Stage performances, Understudy shows & student showcases.  The JesterZ Annual Joker Card gives you access to all weekly shows.

Catch all the crazy shenanigans again and again.  Awesome can add up!!  Imagine the unlimited laughter you now have available to you!  Come as often as you like.

PLUS:  30% discount for the rest of your party!!!  Bring as many guests as you want and enjoy 30% discount on your tickets!!

Fine Print:  Valid 01/01/14 – 12/30/14 on most shows (Not Valid:  Valentines Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Years Eve).  Card must be presented at box office along with ID of card holder.  Non-transferable.  Reservations must be made online or by phone.  30% discount can only be used when accompanied by Joker-Card admission.

Register

GIFT CERTIFICATES

blog, Home, Live Shows, Shows | Comments Off

November 30, 2013 – December 30, 2014

7117 E. McDowell Rd.

View MapMap and Directions | Register

Description:

JesterZ Gift Certificates are HERE!!  JesterZ Gift Certificates are the PERFECT gift!  Give the gift of laughter!  No limit!! No Expiration Date!!

Here’s how:

  1. Purchase the amount of Gift Certificates you need
  2. Decide how you want to receive the physical certificates (email receipt is NOT certificate)
  3. You give away to your besties, neighbors, coworkers, enemies, etc.
  4. They redeem online for the desired show
  5. They present the physical certificates at the box office when they arrive
  6. They have the funniest night of their life
  7. You are a hero, they hoist you on their shoulders and sing praises to your awesomeness !!

 

Gift Certificates are valid for all general admission JesterZ improv shows and may NOT be redeemed for special events (Christmas Day, Valentines, New Years Eve, Etc)  You must submit a reservation in advance by registering on the event calendar and surrender the physical certificate at box office upon arrival.  JesterZ Improv is not responsible for lost or stolen certificates.

Register

New Feature: Friday Funnies!

blog | Comments Off

That’s right! We’re starting a new feature called the Friday Funnies!

Every Friday, check our blog for the funniest finds from around the interwebs!

This week is devoted to those crazy pint-sized humans we call kids!

It’s getting cold outside & this little girl is as fascinated with ice as any Arizonian might be!

We love family, but this pic is hilar:

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 6.02.11 PM

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at a pic on the internet
of an overly dressed up child, you’ll for sure get a kick out of the pinterest board
My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter!

quinoa

Image via Daily Mail

And finally, we normally try to stay away from “poop humor” at our theatre
but this lil guy’s struggle was too funny not to share!
Plus, I think we’ve all been there ;)

Top 10 comedic GREATS

blog, Classes Blog | Comments Off

Over the years, friends, reporters, patrons and students have asked me “Who are your favorite comedians?”  So I thought I’d share with you, my Top 10 comedic “GREATS” of all-time – the ones that inspire me, each for different reasons – but they all have one thing in common – Clean Comedy:

  1. Carol Burnett – quite possibly the strongest comedian hands down!! From her variety of characters to her deadpan delivery
  2. Tim Conway – his responses to everything, his comedic timing was flawless.  and most importantly his PTC Integrity award recipient for life long clean comedy.
  3. Bob Newhart – dry, straight forward and proof that comedy is a serious business
  4. Dick Van Dyke – his physical comedy, facial reactions and he “has fun” with all he does
  5. Red Skelton – his wide variety of characters and facial reactions
  6. Bob Hope - every stand up performances in his USO tours is better than any stand up comic today
  7. Lucille Ball - her delivery, her facial expressions and emotional reactions
  8. Laurel & Hardy – true “straight man / funny man” team…  the masters of slapstick and the use of silence
  9. The Marx Brothers – The use of their other talents to compliment their funny (singing, dancing, musical instruments)
  10. Bill Cosby – his clean stand up career, his “everyday people” style, and family values he incorporates

and although he missed the mark on “clean comedy” I must give recognition to Robin Williams – quite possibly the fastest comedic brain EVER… his mouth cannot keep up with his ideas.

When I tell my students to study comedic actors, I tell them to avoid MANY of the comedians of today.  If they want TRUE comedic genius – watch any of the above list…  they understood “why” audiences laughed.  There was no “shock” value in their work.  They understood what it meant to set up a joke, set up your partner for a punchline, etc.

I may also say that this list is just the list for the clean comedians that inspire me.  I have a separate list that includes more recent greats like Dan Ackroyd, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Monty Python, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, etc. etc. – the list goes on and on and includes more recent comedians.  That list will be made another day.

Who inspires you?  Who are your favorite comedians?  and WHY??   Go to our facebook page and give us your list!!

Gettin’ Spooky!

blog, Media, Video | 1 comment

Mandy & Paul teamed up to bring you a spooky spoof Halloween song
based on Karmin’s hit cover of Look At Me Now!

Our Spoof:

Original Video:

 

Gettin’ Spooky Lyrics:
{written by: Mandy Nielsen}

Jack o you light my flame
Like a mad scientist you dissect my brain
Jack o you make me twitch
Pointy hat pointy shoes
Yeah I cackle like a witch
Jack o yeah you call me your boo
Like ghost in my mind yeah
You play me like a foo
Candy corny I may be
You’ll never escape me
Everybody knows I’m spooky
When I’m rockin Halloween
Chorus:
Oh Halloween

Oh Halloween

We’re gettin spooky
Oh Halloween

Oh Halloween

Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Trick a trick a trick a treat

 

 

Oh whoa spiced cider
Oh and all dem creepy spiders
Crawling up my back
Drop dead in the middle
Of a zombie attack
A trick for you and treat for me
I’m CBrown all I need is a rock baby
You’re pumpkin king
Im your girl Sally
Hocus pocus just focus
Cover town like locus
Ladies what we be meowing at the moon
Black cats arched backs
They won’t forget us soon
Guys yeah you be howlin at the moon
Fangs bared beard haired
That 12 don’t mean noon

 

Chorus

 

Now I’m gonna holla at my villains
I got Ghostface I got Cujo I got Jigsaw I got Ursula and Freddy Krueger
My boys Candyman and Hannibal Lector
Michael Meyers and then there’s Vector
Nurse Ratched won’t fix you up
But Sweeney Todd will cut you up
Don’t forget Elphaba and Norman Bates
Leatherface and my little friend Scarface
Dracula Lars Billy Joan Crawford
Mort Rainey and then Elly Kedward
Rasputin Reverend Harry Powell
Walter white and Hal 9thouw
Ben Willis and Cruella DeVille
If she doesn’t scare you no evil thing will
Daddy Darth Vader Hans Landa
Scar Leonard and Hans Grubba
Goldfinger Gunnery Srgt Hartman
Dr Christian Patrick Bateman
Jason Friday the 13th was in 1 2 3 and 4
That girl from the grudge and
then of course there is Dark Lord Voldemort

 

Chorus

Psycho
It
Troll 2
Tricka Tricka Tricka Treat

Mission IMPROVable!

blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off

missionimprov1-700_0

 

Mission IMPROVable: AAA Teen Driver Safety Event

This mission, should you choose to accept it, is guaranteed to educate, engage and entertain families about teen driver safety!

We are stoked to be doing an event for AAA in honor of October’s National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26). The two-hour event will include a primer on rules of the road and tips on driving skills. It also will address risks, statistics, Arizona’s graduated driver license law and provide tools and resources. We, the Jester’z, will incorporate comedic elements to educate and guarantee that you will have a great time!!
Tickets are $5 per person for AAA members; $10 per person for nonmembers. Parents or guardians are highly encouraged to attend with their teens.

Details for Mission IMPROVable:
Scottsdale

When: 2-4 p.m. Oct. 26
Where: Jester’z Comedy, 7117 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale

To register for the Mission IMPROVable event, call Mike Duhame at 602-241-2945 or emailMDuhame@arizona.aaa.com.

Atmosphere Actors!

blog, Special Events | Comments Off

Atmosphere 8

Lately the Jesterz have been having a ball
getting all dressed up for different gigs
as atmosphere actors!
Not only can we be hired to perform
an improv show for any event,
we are also for hire to dress in theme
for your event to enhance the fun
and interact with your guests!

Check out some of our favorite costumes
we’ve got to wear:

Atmosphere 7

Atmosphere 4

Atmosphere 5

Atmosphere 3

Atmosphere 6

Atmosphere 1
{being a paparazzi is soo fun! we take pics of your guests
and make them feel famous!}

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 3.27.56 PM

Interested in spicing up your event?
The sky is the limit!
If you can think it, we can do it!
And if you can’t think of the perfect thing,
we are full of ideas and excited to collaborate with you!

Contact us directly at 480-612-7377!

Improv Camp for Youth!

blog, Classes Blog | Comments Off

Youth Summer Camp - June 9-13

Price: $250.00

Start Time: 9:00 am
End Time: 4:00 pm

Start Date: June 9, 2014
End Date: June 13, 2014

Registration Details

OR

Youth Summer Camp - July 7-11

Price: $250.00

Start Time: 9:00 am
End Time: 4:00 pm

Start Date: July 7, 2014
End Date: July 11, 2014

Registration Details


LAST YEAR:

We had a GREAT Improv Camp this summer
and oh man, did we have a BLAST!
Youth (ages 10-17) from all over the Valley
came ready to have a great time &
JesterZ Improv was prepared to make that happen!

The week long camp focused on the fundamentals of improv
and was packed with games and exercises
to get these young adults more comfortable on stage
and collaborating as a group.
Some kids came with experience while others
had never even been on a stage before,
but by the end of camp you’d never be able to guess which was which!

IMG_5846

The youth worked in pairs and groups to practice improv basics like:
YES, AND:
validating your partner’s ideas while also contributing your ideas
ACTIVE LISTENING:
responding honestly to what is said to you
instead of thinking of what you’ll say next
EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS:
basing scenes on exploring different relationships
rather than “stuff and things”

Each of these prepares them not only to be successful in scenes,
but also in real life!

IMG_5684

They also learned to push the boundaries of their own creativity,
maximizing their skill set while stepping outside of their comfort zone.
Many of the teens were surprised to find they were
able to morph into different characters
and adapt to various settings more successfully than they imagined!


IMG_5750

The teens had a blast playing with props and
learning to think outside the box!
We were constantly amazed with the ideas they were able to come up with!
They’re so smart and funny!

IMG_5708

Everyday we created a safe place for creativity,
where no one was allowed to judge each other so that everyone
was allowed to have the most fun they possibly could.
The teens were so receptive to showing respect for one another
and the support they learned to show each other
on and off stage was truly inspiring!

IMG_5753

On the last day of camp, we had a showcase for all the parents
to come, kick back and be amazed at their kids’ genius!
The teens learned how to perform in a standard improv show
in front of an audience and the show was a hit! Nonstop laughs!

IMG_5808
IMG_5775
IMG_5807

With a different mix of learning, creating, playing and performing everyday,
we didn’t let these kids have one second of boredom!
We couldn’t be prouder of how they excelled in only one week of training!

SIGN UP FOR THE 2014 TEEN IMPROV SUMMER CAMP HERE!
June 9-13 & July 7-11, 2014

IMG_5607

What gif?

blog | 1 comment

In life, we are taught to be polite. This is not a bad thing,
but it does often push us to skirt around issues for fear of hurting one another’s feelings.
In improv, we are taught to be honest. A sincere reaction,
whether positive or negative, to that honesty is essential to a great scene.

So WHAT IF we could be honest in life like we are on stage…?

When a co-worker asks you to do something Friday afternoon:

When your family from out of town decides to stay an extra day:

When your fitness instructor asks how you’re feeling after class:

When somebody says your favorite tv show is boring:

When you are forced to play Settlers of Catan at game night:

When someone asks you to help them move:

When you run into someone who says they know you from high school:

When somebody asks you what you want for dinner:

When someone says they don’t like your favorite color:

When a couple uses a baby name you’ve been saving for your own someday:

At a wedding, instead of sitting in the back trying to look cool:

When somebody else at work eats the last of the bagels:

On a blind date:

When somebody invites you over for dinner and serves you something that smells weird:

When people ask why you don’t watch Downton Abbey:

When two gorgeous people have an ugly baby:

When somebody tells you how many calories are in your favorite snack:

When someone walks too close to you at the grocery store:

When you have to go outside during the summer for any reason:

When someone on Facebook you haven’t talked to in years comments on one of your photos:

When somebody tells you they don’t like Harry Potter:

When people at the grocery store stare at you when your child has a meltdown:

When someone tries to convince you to try juicing:

 

When someone skeptically asks you how you know something:

When somebody let’s you merge in traffic:

When your spouse says they won’t judge you if you eat a third slice of cake: