Author Archives: Syracuse Improv Collective

What I Learned From My Level One Improv Class

Pass the Sound & Motion!

The Level One students prepare to amaze the audience at our February Bank Show

Our first round of Level One improv classes just ended this past weekend. I am a little sad these great students are out of my care now, but real happy they registered for level two. I knew that teaching Level One would be fun, but I did not anticipate how much I would learn from the students.

As the class grew more comfortable and made friends together, I watched them dive into scenes with a spontaneous courage; they displayed greater trust and listening than I had felt in my own performances for several months. It was inspiring to watch so much fresh talent ride the raw joy of improv and create truly funny scenes.

I asked the class what they learned from taking level one improv. Here are their responses:

“Improv level 1 helped me learn to be more open. The reasons I took the class were to learn to think faster and feel more comfortable communicating with people in a fun and safe environment.  I learned that by letting go of my own agenda and my own rules for how I wanted a scenario to unfold naturally increased my response time.  Plus it helped me feel like I had a really great connection with whoever I was working with, which helped me feel more comfortable communicating in class as well as out in the rest of the world.” – Karen Kwasnowski

“Improv taught me that I don’t always have to plan and overprepare for everything in life. If I just show up with a good attitude and work with the people around me, things will get done.” – Manu Shergill

“I learned that I am a failure. And that there are other people in the world who enjoy failing just as much as me. And also that it makes sense to band together with these people, and fail together.” – Jim Green Ed. Note – Our class mantra is ‘We suck, and we love to fail!’ 

“I learned that improv is really about effective communication. If you are not listening to the direction your partners are offering, and are focused on your own vision, you won’t hear where the story is going. And to be able to build on the story, you need to clearly relay your vision to the others. The clearer the messages are, the further you move together.” – Jill Tibbett

“I learned to slow down and to try follow the flow of others. I noticed that I tend to take control of  the situation way too much and that I need to curb my nature in order to allow others to express themselves.” – Bob Goodfellow

“I found improv class influenced every part of my life in a good way.  I am able to see people’s offers in life much better.  I see that simple is fun and funny, which is great.  I am way more open to the ordinary as a launching place for fun and frolicking. I loved improv level one.” – Becca Scanlon

Thanks again to these students and the rest of our class for a great six weeks. I wish you all well for Level Two and will gladly see you around in the future.

Level One classes will be offered again in a few months. Stay tuned to this space and follow us on facebook for more info.


BANK SHOW 2/5/16

Ladies and germs, head on down to The Vault for an evening of LoL’s, LMAO’s, and hehe’s.

Four Great Improv Acts:


Just $5 gets you all this and some hahaha’s. Come to 451 S. Warren Street at 8 PM. See you there!

December 11 Show! And Classes!

The next SIC Bank Show is upon us. Come down to the Bank this Friday night for wild entertainment, including great acts like:

Eat The Cake 2
No Friends Just Benefits
musical guest Tin Can Toucan Twin Cantina
and also Satan’s Closet.

Meet us at The Bank – 451 S. Warren Street, Syracuse – at 8 PM. Be there with bells on (not literally, please).


Classes are back in session! This is a great opportunity to try something new, expand your creativity, and meet new friends, all while having a load of fun. And it’s inexpensive. Whether you want to perform on a team or safely step out of your comfort zone, join us. (Improv classes are a great Christmas present, too…!)

Head over to the classes page to learn more and register.

improv group

AFSP Benefit Show!

Our next Bank Show is Saturday, November 7, 2015. All proceeds from the show will benefit The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’ll take place at the Bank located under Open Atelier Architects on 451 S Warren St. The show begins at 7PM. Doors open at 6:30PM.

While progress has been broadly made to combat depression in America, there’s still a prevailing fear and shame associated with mental illness. Some people ignore biological and environmental circumstances, claiming it’s a measure of choice and character. The more we can educate the public on mental health and suicide prevention, the more we can make a difference.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention funds research, creates educational programs, advocates for public policy, and supports survivors of suicide loss and those at risk. Come join us for an evening of improv, stand up, art, and music to raise money a valuable cause.

Performers include:

Quick to Blush – an improv quartet
Sarah Benson – a stand-up soloist
Heavy Metal Heatwave – another improv quartet
Fugulele – an all-ukulele Fugazi septet

Improvised Art by Meghan

There will be a $5 minimum donation, a $10 suggested donation, but there is no donation that is too large.


Return of the Return of the Bank Show


Salmon are spawned in pools and then rivers being them to another place and they swim around then their urge to return to the place of their… spawning… is SO strong that… they swim back up to the pool… and then they die.

You know, this metaphor would work a lot better if we knew about fish* and nature and stuff. But we don’t. We know improv. And we know how to do shows in abandoned banks. And as long as there are abandoned banks, we will return to them to spawn. If by spawning we mean putting on a kick-ass show for cheap.

Your menu for the evening:

Amateur Squad – A sumptuous melange of Rochester improvisers.

Satan’s Closet – A front-forward Syracuse improv team, bold and unpredictable

Hazmat Love – A not at all unsafe delicacy that is absolutely approved for human consumption. Trust us.

Fugulele – Gluten-free, aged 20 years, redolent of rebellion and ukuleles

Bring a chair, maybe bring a little refreshment, bring $5. We’ll bring lights and funny people.

*PIGEONS! Should have gone with homing pigeons.

Thumbs UPstate 2015: Improv Has Found a Home


Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival
May 1st and 2nd, 7-11 PM
Location: Jazz Central
441 E. Washington St., Syracuse


We want this year’s festival to be really special. Faithful readers will know this is the second time the festival venue has changed. The third time is truly charming, and it will take a horrendous disaster to separate us from Jazz Central.

We have performed at Jazz Central before; it is an excellent, intimate space well suited for improv. Come out with us for a couple of magical nights of comedy!

Team registration is nearly full – please apply within the next week if you haven’t already – we will publish the bookings within ten days.

Stay tuned for more awesome info about the festival!

Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival 2015: Back to our Roots


Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival
May 1st and 2nd, 7-11PM
Location: The Bank.

Return with us to our Collective roots – this year’s festival is being held at The Bank on 451 Warren St. The Collective’s first home for jubilant, moving and hilarious improv, The Bank is the perfect location to remember why you love improv – or meet up for the first time.

ALSO: we will prime the pump with a Bank Show at The Bank on April 3rd (8PM).

Now is a great time to register to perform. We are still accepting applications from improv teams, local or otherwise, to rock this fun festival. Register your team here.


Disclaimer: Bob Dylan is not booked to perform at Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival.

Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival 2015

First – come out to the CNY Playhouse at Shoppingtown Mall on March 6th for our monthly Bank Show! $5 gets you a night of fun improv at 8 PM.

Enjoy the comedic stylings of No Friends, Just Benefits – Heavy Metal Heat Wave – Satan’s Closet and HAZMAT Love



Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival returns April 3rd & 4th at the Landmark Theatre!

Join us in our jubilant celebration of improv, featuring talented performers from CNY and beyond.

The event will showcase 16 improv comedy teams who will ‘WOW’ you and make you laugh pleasantly!

For the first time, the festival will play at the historic Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse, from 7 – 11:30 PM on 4/3 and 4/4. Tickets will be $12/night, or $20 for both nights. Performers get in for $10/person, with a team cap of $50.

If you and your improv team would like to perform at this year’s Thumbs UPstate Festival, please complete and submit the form below ASAP.

We are thrilled to bring this annual show to the Landmark. See you there soon!

Hughie Stone Fish’s Musical Improv Workshop

STONE FISHThis one is hot and there’s no time! We’ve got an opportunity to learn some musical improv from this Californian dude. Check out the deets below! Then register here!

Hughie Stone Fish is a songwriter, composer, and performer with a Bachelors of Music in songwriting from Berklee College of Music. When he’s not at Second City getting philosophical about the similarities between songwriting and improv, he’s producing hip hop tracks, making videos for his YouTube channel, playing honky tonk piano, and promoting his album Siren Songs. His workshop will focus on improvising full songs from one word suggestions through the use of strong comedic points of view, a heightened understanding of song structure, character development, and performance technique.

When: Saturday, November 22, 12p – 3p
Where: Solvay Tyrol Club, 213 Lamont Ave, Syracuse