A solid Hey Everybody example. Watch it. What do you notice?
1. Repetition is heightening. Laura didn’t need to do anything more than repeat “I’m a North Carolina State Mom” to get a laugh at the start of the second pass of the game. In fact, the audience also laughs with a sense of relieved release – it has been made clear to them that the sequence they witnessed is being made into a pattern. With the rigid repetition they know they’ve been here before and they’re along for the ride.
2. The audience’s attention goes to the player who doesn’t speak. That’s important for a hesitant improviser to keep in mind – if they are reluctant to contribute in a Hey Everybody, every moment they’re quiet just puts more pressure on the moment they finally jump in.
Now, knowing all attention is on her because she didn’t speak in the first pass, Shah patiently waits for her turn at the end of the second pass and flips the pattern. While everyone else was in fact a helicopter parent, Shah’s a bad parent. This brings us to…
3. Flipping a pattern is one of those great powers that comes with great responsibility. It worked for Shah because everyone else’s individual filters were aligned behind the helicopter parent bit – if there were more varied directions the game couldn’t have been cleanly flipped. It worked because whatever she said was going to carry extra weight because she hadn’t spoken yet. It worked because she was patient; she waited for the end of the second pass and then spoke with the calm of a confident character that made her earlier absence seem purposeful. It would not have worked if she rushed. And if you try to flip a pattern and it doesn’t work to earn your edit then the whole group has to continue with a few more passes to integrate your change – it can work, but if you were looking for an edit with your flip then all you did was ensure the scene has to go on longer than it would have if you’d just heightened the pattern rather than trying to flip it.
More Hey Everybody example videos: