Here’s my current suggested reading list. Each category is listed in the order that I’d recommend reading them, if you asked.
These are affiliate links, which means I get a kickback if you buy them after going to Amazon directly from this page. So far I’ve earned almost $4!
Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation
— Kim “Howard” Johnson, Del Close, Charna Halpern
Art by Committee: A Guide to Advanced Improvisation
— Charna Halpern
Improvise.: Scene from the Inside Out
— Mick Napier
Improvising Better: A Guide for the Working Improviser
— Liz Allen & Jimmy Carrane
History/Spirit of Improv & Comedy:
The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close
— Kim “Howard” Johnson. The Del Close biography of record.
Guru: My Days with Del Close
— Jeff Griggs. Memoir of Jeff’s time with Del Close in the last ~10 years of his life, with some history. Wonderful, wonderful book. Griggs taught my Level 1 at ImprovOlympic — my very first improv class.
Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times Of John Belushi
— Bob Woodward. John Belushi biography. Controversial in some quarters.
Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests
— Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller. History of SNL, completely told in oral history from exhaustive interviews with people involved.
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts
— Tom Farley & Tanner Colby. Chris Farley biography. Brilliant, moving. Recommended to me by Nikhil Rao, lent to me by Josh Krebs.
Group Improvisation: The Manual of Ensemble Improv Games
— Peter Gwinn. A book-length list of improv exercises, each with explanation and a dose of theory. Pete Gwinn is a genius improviser, founder of Baby Wants Candy, and writer for the Colbert Report or the Daily Show. I forget which.
He taught my Level 3 at ImprovOlympic.
Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part
— Michael Shurtlieff. Replace the word “audition” with the word “scene” throughout this book, and it’s a brilliant book on improv.
Improvised New York — Pitizens (and friends of mine) Liz Quinn & Justin Zell started this podcast in 2010, and it has evolved into a regular and fascinating series of interviews with legendary improvisers from all over the country. I guest co-host episode 35, Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable by Ptolemy Slocum.
Why Improv? — bite-sized documentary. My friend Micah’s documentary project from six years ago, reconceived from a feature to a series of short, single interview clips. The clips are presented here on the project’s blog.
i began shooting and editing a feature length documentary over 6 years ago.i interviewed over 160 improvisors in the chicago area.i asked each the same three questions:why do you improvise?why do you improvise as opposed to other theater?why do you improvise when most improvisors don’t get paid?
many things happened over the past 6 years and the project has gotten away from me.
so, in the interest of actually getting it out there, i am creating a blog on which i will release the interviews, with minor editing for time and content, once a week.
it is my hope that i after i get them up perhaps people will want to use them or reference them, or perhaps just learn something, anything, from watching them.
Last updated 3/12/15
The below are some additional Amazon affiliiate links for purposes of my own. Feel free to peroose.
Sharkk ergonomic mouse
Snark SN-5 Guitar Violin Uke tuner
Snark SN-6 Ukelele tuner
Lanikai Ukelele tuner
Welltop ergonomic mouse, blue
Brother HL-L2340DW Compact Laser Printer with Duplex Printing and Wireless Networking
Headphone extension cord 6ft – Monoprice
Stuffed ender Dragon