Is Improv Helpful, Silly, Or Just Hilarious?

I have to confess, I love improv (improvisation)! For one thing, it can be funny! Additionally, here is a question for you: Is improv helpful, silly or just hilarious?


Hi, Dr. Stephie here. I have a confession to make. I love improv. It’s funny, but let me ask you a question. Is improv silly, helpful, or just hilarious? Years ago, I attended a conference where the speaker talked about improv and how it can help your communication. I thought that was quite insightful because he said that when you do improv, you have to advance the story. You can’t just say, “No, no, no. What the last person said that didn’t happen.”

Let’s say two giraffes go into the kitchen. And because naturally, their necks are quite tall, they poke a hole through the ceiling. At that point, the story is handed off to the other person.

The second person can’t just say, “No, no, no. They didn’t poke a hole into the ceiling. The giraffes were actually ducking down. That’s how they prevented that hole from happening.

The person has to go with the story.

Let me ask you, how often do we not do that in our communication? 

We fight with the other person saying, “No, no, no, you are wrong. This didn’t happen,” or “This is not the way it is.” 

What if we could apply the rules of improv, and have improv not just be hilarious but possibly helpful in our communication?

Let’s play this out a little bit. Let’s say here’s your 14-year-old son. This example is entirely coincidental since I have a 14-year-old son. 

Let’s say I say, “Please bring the recycling bin to the recycling can.”

My son says, “Yes, mom, and may I have 15 minutes to do something else I want to do?” 

Instead of saying, “No, you can’t have those 15 minutes,” I might say, “Yes, you can have the 15 minutes. Because I gave you the 15 minutes, you will also bring out the trash, please?” 

Do you see how that goes? So there is no saying “no” involved. Instead, we build on each other. 

I wonder how well that might work. I’m going to test it and report back. 

I’m Curious

I invite you to consider how you can use improv to further your communication. Or, at least, it can be funny.


  1. Jacquelyn Martin on at

    I like the concept. If it works with 14 year old sons, I cannot help but wonder if it will work with husbands?

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      That is a great question. I think mostly “yes.” LOL