Have you ever seen the show, “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”
When asked what we do, we sometimes answer with that question. Although, frankly, that show can only be seen in syndication now. It’s not the best reply. It had a very successful prime time run on ABC, from 1998 to 2004. Several incarnations of this show have aired since then, most recently on the Game Show Network, “Improv-a-Ganza”.
Really, Nogginjog’s culture is much more expansive than what that simple reply suggests. It could be argued that our culture is firmly entrenched in modern psychology and sociology. Specifically, Nogginjog gives credit to a social worker and theatrical director, Viola Spolin, for creating many of the improvisation games and exercises that spurred the massive interest and innovation of improvised theater.
She designed the games to be used for children of diverse backgrounds. She was hired to teach theater to inner city children; some of them couldn’t even speak English. These games were hugely successful. In fact, they were so successful that many adults started playing them.
Viola Spolin’s work, in the 1940’s and 50’s, started “The Compass Players”, which later formed “The Second City” in Chicago. Many of today’s most famous comedians have trained there or at other places inspired by “The Second City”. The list is long. Improv has become the backbone of modern comedy. If you look at the biography of your favorite comedic actor, chances are that they will have had improv training.
Improv started to crossover into business skills training almost as soon as it was developed for the theater. The skills attached to comedic improv training directly apply to the skills required in business. Improv performers constantly practice listening, creativity, awareness, speech, engagement, and more. These are sometimes called “soft skills” in business. Yet, a professional would be hard pressed to succeed without them. These soft skills are at the heart of our “Professional Development” service.
In comedy improv, “Yes, And” has become the golden rule. It is the binary code of healthy team performance. When improvisers are on stage in front of an audience, they want to know that they will be successful. They need to feel confident about what they will bring to the moment. And they need to feel confident in their partners on stage with them. The power of “Yes, And” is in creating amazing “Team Dynamics”.
“Yes, And” has naturally been used in business training as well. It provides a positive and engaged formula for interaction, or as Nogginjog calls it, interplay.
We love what we do. It is possible to conduct business and have a good time doing it. At Nogginjog, we are very thankful for the supportive community and culture of comedy improv. We hope to represent it well through quality instruction and business practices.