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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » To Adlib or Not? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Vegasvent
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I was watching a portion of TACROWL's concert video and saw some excellent interaction(adlib) with members of the audience. Do any of you find it easier to throw in some adlib during your performances or do you maintain a straight bead on the prepared script? If you have seen some of Master Jeff Dunham's shows you will notice that he sometimes gets thrown off of the script when strays. Of course he has about 2hours of material in his head. What is easier for you?
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tacrowl
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Duane -
Honored you liked the video. I answered your post under Animals or People Puppets - but thought I'd respond here since you started a new heading.

I've had years of performing experience in a variety of markets. This has given me a ton of jokes and experiences that for some reason wait in my head ready to jump out. My show is really about the interaction, I like connecting with people. So I use these "ad-libs" when the situation is right.

Consider it scripting by "chunks". When I jump off topic, the hard part is sometimes creating a segway(sp?) to get back on topic smoothly.

As you said, Jeff is a master - and has honed that working night after night at comedy clubs. It seems to me Jeff had a write up on the Vent Haven site about an ad-lib workshop. As I remember, it was well worth reading.
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tacrowl
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The correct spelling was: segue - I was too tired to look it up last night.
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creativemac
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I can't say I'm good at ad-libbing for fear of getting off track. It's something I do WANT to get better at, as it adds greatly to your show. At one performanace a lady in the audience said something in reply to a joke and my figure (Jake - Axtell Old Story Teller) responded to her in kind. After the performance, she came up to me and said she liked that the figure talked to her (guess she didn't realize, that he's not real).

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Bob Baker
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Some of my biggest laughs have come from situational ad-libs. I think it works when you know your figure's character so well that the lines just pop out of his/her mouth. For me, this is always when something goes wrong in the show or something totally unexpected happens. The audiences recognizes what has happened and appreciates it. That's why it's hard, I think, to re-create those moments in a later show.

Bob
Ony Carcamo
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One of the best ways to practice ad-libbing in front of a live audience is to do improv games.

I've incorporated improv games in my adult comedy vent act, and they proved to be challenging for me (because I need to think for TWO characters--myself and my figure) and quite fun for the audience--because they are involved in the games.
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Steve Petra
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I'll second Bob Baker's comment about knowing your character. At a recent school show I clumsily knocked my Brain puppet to the floor. As I restored him to his right position the character demanded to see his lawyer 'cause he's suing me me "brain damage"!
The audience roared but more significantly, one of the teachers wrote in her evaluation of my show how the ability to ad lib heightened the value of the performance.

How do you prepare? Well knowing your character is a must and I like Ony's recommenation - improv games!!
tacrowl
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Good advice from Bob, Ony & Steve. Knowing the character is important, improv can help develop the art - thinking funny is important too. It is a developed talent that comes from being in front of audiences. The more "experiences" you have to draw from, the better your ad-lib skills will become.

BTW - Just re-read Jeff's article on VentHaven, listed under tips & techniques. Covers the topic very well.

Steve - funny save - I really like your gargling fish too! You are one of the most creative guys I've seen.
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Ony Carcamo
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Not all improv games can apply to a vent act, because we have limitations in movements, number of participants, etc. What I did, I got help from my comedian friends who do improv and together we chose/developed games that will suit my act.

Improv provides freshness to my act because with it I sure would perform something new whenever I do my shows.
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Neale Bacon
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My show uses a lot of adlibs, but (I think) it was Jack Benny who said The best ad libs are rehearsed.

I have had great lines happen as an adlib and then it stayed in the show as an adlib.

I also agree that the better you know your characters, the more you can "riff" or go off script.
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Vegasvent
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Steve the "Brain damage" save is great. I've actually unintentionally adlibbed and then continued using the lines in my act. Bob, you're right, sometimes I find it difficult to recapture the timing that was created by the moment of sponteneity. Neale, Jack Benny was a definite master of timing. He could get uproarious laughter with just one word timed at the right moment.
Magical Phil-Kidzshow, LLC

"My Wife says that either all of my Stuff goes, or she does......" "Boy, I'm sure gonna miss her cookin'."
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