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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy for Die-Hards Looking to Progress
...
This book is primarily dedicated to "The Harold," the standard of long-form improv. It's a difficult form to master, but one that can impress, entertain, and even touch both audience and actors profoundly on stage. There is a shortage of quick, easy games in this book. Even those that are detailed exist to help build on the Harold. This book is really meant...
Published on July 23 2002 by Kevin L. Nenstiel

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much WANK!
I found this book a waste of time. It was a real chore to get through as the authors spend half of the book blowing sunshine up Del Close's _______( fill in for yourself). The HAROLD is a form of improvisation for the self - centered. As I was reading its description I could ask myself only TWO questions: As a performer -why would I want to alienate my audience with my...
Published on March 21 2002 by Reba


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much WANK!, March 21 2002
By 
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
I found this book a waste of time. It was a real chore to get through as the authors spend half of the book blowing sunshine up Del Close's _______( fill in for yourself). The HAROLD is a form of improvisation for the self - centered. As I was reading its description I could ask myself only TWO questions: As a performer -why would I want to alienate my audience with my own self-indulgence? As an audience member - why would I want to watch something like this?. The authors discuss this improv form as though it is some sort of mystical, exclussive cult activity. No thanks. Keith Johnstone's IMPRO and IMPRO FOR STORY TELLERS are the only way to go if you are interested in improvisation that your audience will remember long after they've left the theatre. If you are more interested in the inner workings of your own mind - stay home and do a Harold with your friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You know Who??, March 10 2004
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
I think this book is a complete waste of time and merely serves as a lure to get people to take classes at the Improv Olympic theater in Chicago. It is incoherent and all it suffices to do is drop names the entire time. Wow, so famous people studied at IO then we all should. A complete ego stroke for owner Charna Halpern, but nothing new is taught here. Do yourself a favor, save the money on the book and actually go take classes. This is paperback trash.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If who you know makes you funny..., Jan. 31 2004
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
the author of this book is a laugh riot. I had a hard time getting past the name dropping and self congradulatory, over the top story telling. The information that comes later in the book is pretty good, having studied with some of the people Ms. Halpern refers to as if she gave them birth. You are never, however, going to learn the "Harold" from a book. Go take a class and get out on stage. Stage time is everything.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy for Die-Hards Looking to Progress, July 23 2002
By 
Kevin L. Nenstiel "omnivore" (Kearney, Nebraska) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
...
This book is primarily dedicated to "The Harold," the standard of long-form improv. It's a difficult form to master, but one that can impress, entertain, and even touch both audience and actors profoundly on stage. There is a shortage of quick, easy games in this book. Even those that are detailed exist to help build on the Harold. This book is really meant for those who are ready to graduate to the next level of improv.
Many people don't like the Harold, but all long-form comedy improv, at some level, uses some variant of the Harold. If this isn't what you want, spend your time and money finding out more about Paul Sills' Story Theater (which is, of course, not covered in this book). Be warned, though, Story Theater often isn't funny, and appeals more to art afficianadoes than "WLiiA" fans, and isn't as renumerative.
Most of the book is given over to an explanation, not of performance standards or guidelines, but of the philosophy underlying improv in general, and the Harold in particular. If that's not what you want, go get another book. The standards in this book, moreover, are really intended for larger groups. The four-player format of "WLiiA" would be unable to keep up with a full Harold. Be sure you have enough actors ready to do the next big thing before you sink your money into this book.
This isn't a beginner's text for amateurs, it's for those who have a committment to creating improvisational art. If that's you, this is your book. If not, you're in a bad way spending money on this puppy. Know yourself and your team before you invest your earnings on this slim volume.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A focused, helpful improv manual, Nov. 8 2001
By 
Alexander Zalben (Long Island City, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
So frankly, most acting books, or books that try to tell you how to "do" art make me want to hit myself over the head, repeatedly. The first half of this book is no different.
It spends a lot of time initially setting ideas up, and talking about what a great guy Del Close was (which he was, but still, it gets to be a bit much). But it all starts to pay off in the second half, when we get into the specifics of the Harold.
Harold is a form of improv unlike any that I've ever seen and participated in, and not to be glib, but it takes improv to the level of art. This book clearly sets out exactly how to perform the Harold: what the idea behind it was; how to interact with your teammates on stage; and how to put together the final product. It's no substitute for actually getting up and doing it, but it's not meant to be.
The book is straightforward, easy to read, and pretty short. Its style is that of an elaborated outline, which makes it simple to follow, as well as to check back for relevant parts when you need them in rehearsal or class.
Truth in Comedy is of course a must have for anyone taking or thinking about taking improv classes. For everyone else, it's a quick read that might make you think differently about improv as an art form. Also, it's pretty funny. Yeah, that too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great tool for improv and acting, Nov. 21 1999
By 
P. T. Connelly (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
Truth in Comedy starts off with a rather immodest amount of name dropping and self congratulating, but after those first few chapters, things take off.
The book is intended to be a rough guide to teaching and performing "Harold," the signature improvisation form of the Improv Olympic theater in Chicago. While the text focuses heavily on the structure of the form, it also holds page after page of advice and tools for any improviser or actor. The lessons in agreement, trust (in yourself and others), and teamwork can be used in any improv form (shortform or longform). And it definitely can teach us actors a thing or two about performing a scripted show.
One of my few complaints about the book is it lacks concreteness. The author alludes to the phenomenon of group mind, the beauty of connections, and the wonder of "finding Harold." Despite giving examples, the reader is left with a "you had to be there" feeling, which, unfortunately, I don't think there's a way around. Harold is very much a "you had to be there" experience for both audience and performer. It's difficult to capture in words and in print the joy of seeing a spontaneous occurrence that takes both the performer and audience by complete surprise. I've found myself frequently recounting shows I've seen to uninterested or confused expressions, while the night before I was doubled over in laughter.
So, to sum it all up, if you're interested in learning Harold (especially if you're a student at the Improv Olympic) or picking up some very useful improv tools, give this book a gander. And if you have an old copy lying around, take another look. It's rare that I open this without finding something to inspire me or pull me out of an improv rut.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A manual for a new American artform!, July 2 1998
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
Truth in Comedy is, in someways, a companion piece to the Chicago-based school operated by two of the book's authors. The book conveys the sense of joy and wonder that comes from creating comic genius and order from audience chaos. Charna Halpern and Del Close both still teach "The Harold" at the ImprovOlympic school/theater and the book (if you're planning to read the book while taking a "Harold" class, add TWO more stars!) Instead of quick comedic games designed for one-liners and "jokey" schtick, Truth In Comedy teaches a form that strives for art. Based on a single audience suggestion a team of improvisers follows the outline of The Harold to create a play with interweaving plotlines and characters for intelligent and hilarious comedy (think of a completely improvised Seinfeld epsidoe, or Pulp Fiction.)
Just one more thing: The photos in the book picture some veterans of the ImprovOlympic who are now somewhat famous in Comedy. Keep a look out for Andy Ricter (Late Night With Conan O'Brien), Adam McKay (Head Writer for Saturday Night Live), Miles Stroh (creator of 'Miles to Go'), and lots of others!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Chemical Engineering 403; Prereqs - none;, Aug. 22 2003
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
This book has one major gaff. It tries to squeeeeeeze in the improv basics, while it teaches the advanced "Harold". I mean, improv basics are scaterred throughout this book like debris in an O'Hare downdraft. For example, environment, objects and emotion aren't covered until the end of the book. What's a new improviser to think?
I wish the progression of this book was more logical: Improv basics, short scenes, long form.
Long form improv is made up of short scenes, despite the mantra of disgruntled long formers who blast short form as "jokey". Long form is an advanced skill, with a foundation in the basics of short scenes, like it or not. (Long form proponents who pooh-pooh short form are a lot like haute chefs who scorn vegetables and meat.) Likewise, the authors here become so carried away with the magic of associations between long form scenes, that most of their confused neophyte readers would barely be able label who they are in a single scene.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, and . . ., Nov. 26 2002
By 
Sean D. Francis (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
To be honest, I don't know why I wanted this book. I had been spending a lot of time at ImprovOlympic and was even thinking about taking classes there, but I feared my wit wasn't up to snuff. Maybe I thought the book was a surrogate method of learning.
What I discovered is the book was a wonderful manual not only to 'how to improvise' but 'how to brainstorm', 'how to work in groups', and 'how to lead.' Little things like, never deny the reality being created and always add something, the 'Yes, and...' of the book, could be applied to many crisis management situations. Never debate what has been stated, always move forward.
Where is the comedy? That was something I was amazed to learn from this book. Don't worry about it. Sometimes people won't laugh, what is important is what is being created right there at that moment on the stage with the other actors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The improv manual you're looking for, Feb. 18 1997
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation (Paperback)
Folks, there are two kinds of improv - the annoying kind and the enjoyable kind. This book is the only description of the enjoyable kind now in print. It's simple, straightforward and funny, and may change the whole way you think about comedy and theatrical presentations. The bad kind of improv, that is, the short, "we're under great pressure to be funny here" kind that leads to some clever punch-line on which lights are blacked out, is described in numerous books. The Harold, or long-form, is where it's at, as anyone who's seen both kinds of improv will tell you. (It's a shame the form is rarely practiced outside of Chicago.) Watching it is pure pleasure, because you're seeing players who support each other perform at the top of their intelligence and creativity. And doing it, well, there's nothing like it. This book will get you started
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Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation
Truth In Comedy: The Manual For Improvisation by Kim "Howard" Johnson (Paperback - May 5 1994)
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