Guess what subject the following is about: “I'll say 'You're always supposed to say yes to everything.' And they get confused because saying yes means not saying yes to the character but to the actor. So, if I say to you, 'Father, can I have a piece of bread please?' 'Get back in your cage.' There are many students who will say, 'Oh, he denied you,' but no you didn't deny me. You said yes to me. I'm saying to you 'Hey, here's my idea. You're going to be an abusive father who's starving me.' 'I got it.'” That's from Improv Olympic co-founder Charna Halpern on the subject of comedy improvisation, which is like a religion among many talented performers. This week kicks off I.O. West's big 8th Annual Los Angeles Improv Comedy Festival. Workshops — sample title:” Get Out of Your Head and Into the Scene” — will be led by some of the best in the biz, including Halpern, Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet, Dave Hill, Michael McCarthy, Bridget Kloss. Performers include Neil Flynn (The Middle), Danny Pudi (Community), Angela Kinsey (The Office), the aforementioned Mr. Stonestreet, Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo), Adam McKay (many funny movies), Ian Roberts (Reno 911) and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), who will also present the Chris Farley Award to EJ Scott. Teams are coming from all over the country to show off their improv and sketch skills, so expect the best of the best.

June 7-12, 2010

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