The {Insert Something Funny} Players

Improv Handbook

By Dave Hitt

In 2001, we started The {Insert Something Funny} Players, a short form improv troupe in the Albany NY area. I scoured the internet for improv games and advice, and pasted what I found into a Word document that became our first handbook. It was about 80 pages long.

Over time I added new games and information, and rewrote most of the descriptions. When we tried a game, I made notes on what worked and what didn't. I added tables of Film and Theater styles, Emotions and Ask Fors, along with notes on various aspects of performing. As the group grew and matured, so did the handbook. It's now 140 pages long.

Because of the way it was created, it contains a mix of original material, verbatim text from other sources, parts that have been lightly edited and parts that have been extensively rewritten. I can point to a few things and say "that's mine," but can't tell for sure where most things came from or what they looked like originally.

Most of this came directly or indirectly from the improv community. Now it's time to give it back. It's offered here, as is, free of charge* for anyone to use however they like. Use a little of it, use all of it, chop it up and rearrange it, edit it, do whatever you like with it. It's in a Word 2000 format, so it should be easy to edit and change. There is only one limitation: you can't sell it.

The handbook should be used as a starting point, not a bible. Nothing in it is gospel, except for the Woody Allen quote. This was our manual, based on our players and our audiences. It can be yours, but not until you experiment, change things around, edit it, add to it and discard some of it. What worked for us might not work for you. Your troupe may do poorly with our favorite games, and very well with games we didn't like. For instance, we used "185" and "What Are You Doing?" as warm-up games, but didn't perform them publicly. Other troupes make them regular part of their repertoire.

If you find this helpful, please take a moment to drop me a line at

* This manual is being distributed as Beerware™. If you use it in any way, and we ever meet in the real world, you owe me one beer, or other refreshing beverage of my choice.


ISFP Handbook (zip file).


Creative Commons License

The ISFP Improv Handbook by Dave Hitt
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Like this? Find more at DaveHitt.Com