Jokestapositon, a warm-up

Everyone in a circle.dinge berry jersey

Starting Player starts with a Self Contained Emotional Statement through the filter of being a “crazy” character-type (a pirate, a monster, a nun.. see nonMECE list HERE.). For example, (proudly) “The full moon’s rising and with it my transformation.”

The Player to their right interacts through the lens of a “normal” character-type one affiliated with a “normal” location (a checkout gal at a supermarket, a bum in a bench, a trader in a Wall Street pit… see Life for MECE  list.). For example, (proudly) “We have a 24 hour concierge for whenever you need to stay or fetch.”

That’s it. Just two lines of dialogue. Then it’s the second player’s turn to chose a caricature. And play continues around the circle.

What’s the point? I like when improvisers make “crazy” choices.  What I don’t like is when improvisers “deal with” the crazy choices for the rest of the scene – either by working to make sense of the choices or just talking about how crazy the choice is instead of committing to the characters representing the choice.  Bottom line: The juxtaposition is funny TO THE AUDIENCE; the juxtaposition (however “crazy”) is NORMAL to the characters.

The juxtaposition can be the “joke.” Don’t worry about word play (as I often have to in writing “improv” scenes). A nun’s “Bless me oh Lord, for I have sinned,”on stage with the trader shouting, “Sell! Sell! Sell! Suckers,” is all the joke (or “sense”) the scene needs.

Don’t confuse “interact” with “conflict” or “negotiate.” Player Two should not seek to “call out” the absurdity of the situation. Let’s not have any, “You’re a vampire? I’m a life guard. We’re on the beach,” scenes. Both characters should strive to just “be” in the space, and their improvisers should strive to treat their existence there as “normal” in this world.

More Examples from The Johnsons

  • “I am the Angel of Death!” “Okay, looks like you pre-ordered the chicken.”
  • “Mice, mice, mice. I want mice.”  “No running by the pool.”
  • “Argh, these potions!  So many ingredients!” “You’re not getting out of your homework, young man.”

And, lastly, here are just a few more images I found when I Googled “funny juxtaposition images.”  Enjoy!


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