Better Yourself At Home With Solo Exercises!

Over the last couple of years we here at Universal Improv have talked about all the things you need to do to be a better improviser.

Take classes, watch shows, and perform improv on stage. All crucial to becoming a great improviser.

On top of all of that you can also better yourself by practicing improv alone. Doing solo exercises or games are not a replacement for classes, it’s simply another way of making you an even stronger improviser. Like going to the gym, the more reps you put in…

So for your betterment we put together a list of a few exercises to try and do at home:

Dada Monologue

In the Merrian-Webster Dictionary the word, Dada, is defined as “a movement in art and literature based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional artistic values”.

In short, it means “nonsense”. Which is perfect because that’s what this exercise was designed for.

Start doing a Dada Monologue, making no sense at all. Look around the room and clock a nearby object. Begin by saying that object’s name. As you talk, avoid staying on any idea too long and switch it up.

Here’s an example I’m doing right now:

“Bicycle rides through cheese make one dog biscuits. You are scratching blossoms during bed time. Posters in the closet remind us of hugging bears in the arcade. Houses full of baby chickens never leave the oven on. Monkeys live in mansions to show how fluffy pillows are. Can you be so full of mustache hair in the summer?”

The second you start to make sense switch it up. In this example, when I thought of “bears in the” my first thought was “park”. Hence why I made a strange choice to avoid the obvious.

This is a great exercise to free up random associations. It helps jog your mind and wake it up to possibilities you may not consider.

Word Association

Look around the room and see an object. Say the name of that object out loud without pausing. Immediately start talking about the object. Describe it or if you want to make it more personal try talking about an experience you’ve had with it. After 10 seconds find another object and start talking about it, without pausing.

This exercise shows that you can literally talk about anything. You are able to express how you feel and relate to the object. Lots of times new improvisers think they have nothing to say, but I guarantee you will surprise yourself with how much you actually have to say. Do this with at least 10 objects.

Counting to 100

Stand in the middle of the room and pretend like you are a great speaker giving a very important speech. Imagine thousands and thousands of people are listening to your every word. Only instead of using words replace them with numbers. Start counting out loud as if you are giving a great speech like JFK or Kanye West ;-). Give your speech variety and take your time as you continue to 100. And keep in mind that when you hit 90 your speech will be wrapping up.

This helps hone your general performance skills by forcing you to commit. It’s also a great way to put importance into what you are saying, making this moment in a improv scene mean something. Plus, it allows you to not focus on the words, but helps bring your emotional life into the spotlight.

Film Dialogue

This is my absolute favorite and the most fun to do on this list. If you’ve seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? then you will know what this is.

Watch a film. It can be any film. Turn off the sound, and improvise the characters’ dialogue. I highly recommend working with an older black & white film. They tend to move slower and gives you more time to improvise between characters.

It’s fun and can be hilarious!

This exercise forces you to keep improvising without stopping. It will be challenging at first and you might start off with doing only one character’s dialogue. But keep at it and do this exercise for roughly 20-30 minutes. And take note of how your characters’ points of view remains in tact and heightens throughout.

And feel free to experiment with tv shows, cooking shows, the news.


So if you want an extra work out at home then I strongly suggest that you do these exercises a couple of times a week to stretch your improv muscles.

Remember: You can always find ways to improve your improv.



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