The next time you see someone doing improv comedy, you might want to not only sit in awe of their ability, but show some respect for why they’re doing it. That’s because you’re looking at a performer who uses brilliant thinking skills to create comedy while not making a big pile of dollars. This isn’t to say some couldn’t if they’re lucky enough to get some lucky breaks.
AOL Jobs recently wrote a piece about the life of improv comedians with truly eye-opening insights. Those interviewed made it clear how improv is more of a calling than a chance to make money. They interviewed Bethany Hall, an improv comedienne who’s worked many years with the famous Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City where other improv comedians have cut their teeth. In the interview, she stated a surprising fact: Despite working there 30 years, Hall isn’t paid for her improv work. In fact, most improv comedians get paid little if anything at all.
There’s a lot of irony to the above when you consider improv comedians can do more as a service to people than professionals making big money. Who else can engage you and take you away to another world while also giving you substantial belly laughs? It sounds like something that should be in higher demand.
Because this is the arts, there’s an immediate and wrong assumption that it isn’t worth paying substantially for it. Only if the improv comedian is lucky enough to be in a movie or TV series will there be a chance to earn a substantial paycheck. Otherwise, most non-famous improv comedians have to work other jobs in order to survive. Yet, the fun part of their life begins at night when they go on a stage to perform.
Does Working Another Job Help Provide Material?
Are improv comedians at an advantage being able to work another job to survive? Consider the material they’re able to gather working in a normal career and being able to absorb the nuances of how people are in the real world. This can add real fuel to their improv performances that become all the more hilarious. It’s a situation most people who go to see an improv comedian don’t think about.
Here at RISE Comedy Playhouse in downtown Denver, Colorado, we let these improv comedians come in and express themselves whenever possible. So the next time you see one perform here, show some respect for what they give you with the thought they aren’t padding their bank accounts. It’s rare when someone can stay inspired in the arts without getting paid well, and it requires true focus and inspiration.
Contact us about our upcoming schedule for when our next improv comedians will be performing. We’re an open bar, so feel free to join our improv comedians on that hilarious wave of taking you away.