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Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual Paperback – 2013
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The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual is a comprehensive guide to the UCB style of long form comedy improvisation. Written by UCB founding members Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, the manual covers everything from the basics of two person scene work (with a heavy emphasis on finding "the game" of the scene), to the complexities of working within an ensemble to perform long form structures, such as "The Harold" and "The Movie". A practical "how to" book, the guide provides exercises throughout to help the reader master each new concept and technique introduced. While the manual is written to be understood by beginners with no previous exposure to improvisational comedy, experienced improvisors will find it to be an excellent resource for honing their skills, clarifying concepts, and generally taking their work to a higher level.
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Top customer reviews
If you perform / write sketch or improv, then this book is for you. I have read at least a dozen improv books. Prior to this the best book I had read on improv was Scene: From the Inside Out by Mich Napier. I love that book. This is book is easily as good if not better. They teach slightly different methods and approaches.
This may sound silly, but the actual physical weight of the book was fantastic. The book is heavy and feels so good like it is packed with knowledge.
The contents of the book are rock solid. There are exercises to practice. Reasons and explanations about what to do and why and HOW. The structure is clearly explained. SUCH a good book. I have read so many improv books I was skeptical that they would have much to add. They have much to add and do so in a clear and concise way. If I was starting improv and looking to buy a book, this would be my first.
In my opinion, I really enjoy the almost-academic approach to improv the manual provides. It not only explains the "WHAT" but the "WHY", breaking it down into more granular, micro-concepts. But, that's not for everybody; it can get tedious and overwhelming.
I would highly suggest, nay, mandate, that if you purchase this book, you should be taking improv classes. Alone, you'll find the UCB Manual invaluable at helping you understand the concepts and language of great long-form improv, and the many forms it can take. But it won't help in a real-time performance without having actually put these concepts into practice; it's akin to telling someone how to skydive and actually jumping out of a plane. If you expect to read this manual, show up at a Improv Jam night, and crush it, you're likely going to end up disappointed.
Yes, and this book is great for my Aunt Maida who sitting here with me in the park by the ice cream stand.
Yes, and this book gave us ideas for improv.
Yes, and one idea was to steal the ice cream stand.
Yes, and we're being escorted out of the park by the police.
Yes, and we're in jail, but we made new friends.
The only reasons I'm not giving it five stars:
(1) The example of two characters having a one-night stand gets exhausting. I felt at various points, they abused the example with somewhat overloaded or jerry-rigged dialogue to illustrate a point, rather than creating or referencing a better example that felt more natural or cohesive.
(2) The authors are very fixated on a single type of opening. There are many openings or games groups can use to get on the same page or gel with one another, and I felt like they discounted the idea that different openings work for different people.
While it may not be a substitute for rehearsal, taking classes and actually seeing performances done in long form, this manual provides a wealth of information that provides a base and a language for building your performance. There is truly no better book on the subject.
Most recent customer reviews
Content was good though.