The Comedy Bar has been bumpin’ since late last week with an incredibly busy line-up of shows for this year’s Big City Improv Festival (that’s #BCIF13, on Instagram and Twitter). Not only has the young fest, now in only its second year, served up a veritable cornucopia (festive) of the city’s finest performers, but its out of town guests are a mix of undiscovered gems and medium-to-large deals from the global comedy community (Jet Eveleth, my personal dream come true, is performing this weekend with Holly Laurent, and MadTV Alums Jeff Richards and Phil LaMarr did a slew of shows last weekend). Shows continue tonight and ain’t stoppin’ til Saturday. Personal recommendations include Jet and Holly, PB&J, and Bad Dog Theatre Company’s friendly-to-newbs classic, Theatresports. To celebrate and maybe inspire you to head down and check out the action yourself, we’ve put together a few tips that apply to both improv and everyday life.

Say Yes.

You can’t do improv without saying yes. “We’re knights in a medieval castle.” “Nope.” AND SCENE. It’s over. ‘No’ is fear; you can’t go anywhere with no. Not to blow your minds too hard but this is true in life as well. Give yourself some credit and say yes to your ideas. Give other people some credit and say yes to theirs too. You can sort out how those ideas work together as you go along.

Smile in the poop.

Sometimes life gets weird or shitty. Sometimes you’re onstage and someone tells you you’re a badger now. This was not the plan and it’s kind of awkward for everyone, but it’s going to be way more awkward if you don’t go with it. Fighting it will only make things worse, plus it stops you from going on a forest adventure and meeting the badger of your dreaaaaaaaaaaaams! Life is poop sometimes. Get comfy in there.


No one likes that guy who’s just waiting for the conversation to quiet down so he can speak again. If someone is talking to you, focus on what they have to say and respond to that, not to what you’ve got queued up in your head as the next topic of conversation.

It’s okay to be scared.

Change is scary, I get it. But getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks can lead to amazing, surprising rewards. Or it can lead to total failure which is actually knowledge and growth in an embarrassing disguise. (It only stays embarrassing for as long as you let it. Move on, pals. And say yes!)

Ticket info for BCIF here. All shows at Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. W.