When I was in High School drama club working on the semester’s play, we would warm up by doing improvisation exercises. They helped us loosen up our mouths, minds and even bodies. We would also play incognito games – little games you continued to play as you went. Just like in Carol Burnett Show – every time she pulled her ear she was saying hi to her mom.
Playing games before and during a podcast can keep you on guard. It prepares you for your next move and it keeps you moving as you podcast. You can have a lot of fun before a podcast and put you in a good mood. You can also play some of these games by yourself if you don’t have a podcast partner.
Improv Games for One
There are hundreds of improvisation games for groups of people. So what games can you do as a solo podcaster? Here are some cool games
- Numbers game – Close your eyes. For each number, envision the following ten numbers. Then put numbers together by using the items in question. If you come up with a number like 543, then you talk about how you have to put on gloves to get in the car to drive to the stool store.If you want a real challenge, try putting a story together using Pi (3.1415…)
- = Tree
- = light switch
- = stool
- = car
- = glove
- = gun
- = Dice
- = skate
- = cat
- = Bowling pin
- Dictionary Word – Pull a word out of the dictionary and use it in your show. Try to make the word challenging. A lot of people will ask their audiences for the word. Use it 1-2 times. Don’t use it too many times.
- Sevens Game – This is a drinking game but it definitely makes you think. Count up avoiding 7s and multiples of seven. Say: 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10.. (skip seven). Multiples of 7 are 14,21,28,35,42,49… etc. Also completely ignore 70 to 79 and 700 to 799 (if you count that high).
- Hello “Name” Game – This is a 2-person game but you can do it with one. The first person says “Hello…” and comes up with a name (Hello Ann). The greeting will return with another name. Continue to go back and forth with hellos and new names changing. Never use the same name twice.
- Remember the card game – Shuffle a deck of cards. Flip the first card and recite it. Flip the next card and recite the two. Continue to flip cards and try to remember the order of cards as you go. Can you remember all 52 cards?
- My Grandmother’s Trunk (an Alphabet Game) – in this game, you say “I unpacked my grandmother’s trunk and I found…” Each item begins with the next item in the alphabet. Try not to say similar items – mix it up (don’t say Apple then banana then carrot). Apple, boat, canon, dirt, etc…
Can you say “Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore”? How about “Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers”? Maybe make up your own tongue twisters.
Tongue twisters can help you losen up your mouth. It can also help with your pacing. Say a twister as slow as possible, the next as fast as possible.
Read from a Joke Book, Read a Chapter
The first is to simply read about 10-20 jokes from a joke book aloud. Try and find a joke that makes you laugh. Try to make the jokes funnier by accenting certain words. Add pauses and more.
If you don’t want to read jokes then just pick up any book and read 1-2 pages aloud. Once again add pauses and accents to bring drama to the book.
Other Improv Games
What other improv games can you think of? If you have 2-3 people in your podcast it can be easier to have fun with these exercises.