Short Form vs. Long Form

Short & Long Form don't work all that well together. This has to do with the difference between short form and long form improvisers.

In a scene, if a short 'funny' is made, it generally ruins the scene for the long form improviser – he/she wants to concentrate on one subject and is thrown off track by the 'funny'; consequently, the scene dies. If two short form improvisers are in a scene and a short 'funny' occurs, neither of them is bothered by it and they continue the scene in short comedy format (i.e. you say something funny; I say something funny); however, they probably will never reach long form comedy. Now, really really good improvisers could do both (I don't think that most people have that ability, including myself).

Also, the reaction of the audience is different to the two types of humors. A short 'funny' laugh gets a lot of laughs. However, the audience stops concentrating on the scene; this eliminates the possibility for long form comedy. I get the same feelings from long comedy that I get from a good play. I get the same feelings from short comedy that I get from a good joke. The feelings are clearly different and may not be entirely compatible.

Charna Halpern, writer of Truth in Comedy, clearly is hooked on Long Comedy (That's what the Harold is all about). I have also changed my mind to preferring Long Comedy (This does not mean that Short Comedy is not good, it just is rather limited – yet funny). Also, SAK theatre, as they performed at ImprovStock 1994, which was the funniest show that I've ever seen, focuses on Long Comedy. Some Long Comedy games to play are The Harold, The Dream, and Three Monologues. For encouraging players to experiment more with Long Comedy, I suggest pushing Three Monologues as a game. Then, after much experience, you can move on to The Harold (First, read Truth in Comedy).