I am asked all the time where lawyers can find a good book on improv….

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 11.29.17 PMI am asked all the time where lawyers can find a good book on improv. Well, here they are, courtesy of the fine folks at the Magnet Theater:

Recommended Improv BooksReading Improv books can be a great supplement to a solid improv education. Improv books give us additional lessons that may not have been touched on by our instructors or coaches.
Below is a list of improv books I’d recommend.

Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual

A comprehensive guide to the UCB style of long form comedy improvisation. Written by UCB founding members Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, the manual covers everything from the basics of two person scene work (with a heavy emphasis on finding “the game” of the scene), to the complexities of working within an ensemble to perform long form structures, such as “The Harold” and “The Movie”. A practical “how to” book, the guide provides exercises throughout to help the reader master each new concept and technique introduced. While the manual is written to be understood by beginners with no previous exposure to improvisational comedy, experienced improvisors will find it to be an excellent resource for honing their skills, clarifying concepts, and generally taking their work to a higher level.

Truth in Comedy

by Del Close, Charna Halpern, Kim Johnson

If there is one book you have to read, it’s Truth in Comedy. It is the book about long form improvisation. It is also full of lessons about improvisation by Del Close, the founding father of long form. This will teach you best practices in improvisation.


by Mick Napier

Improvise is an interesting book. On one hand it may be one of the most important books I ever read about improv, on the other it may be the most dangerous books about improv ever written. Where Truth in Comedy begins with the conventional rules based approach to improv, Improvise throws it all out the window. Mick Napier’s approach is to stop thinking of what not to do and start focusing on what to do. A great book after you have spent a little time improvising.

Guru: My Days with Del Close

by Jeff Griggs

Written by Del’s intern at the end of Del’s life, this book recounts the inner working of a eccentric genius. This is a fantastic book that isn’t a memoir of Del, but allows people who never got a chance to meet him, experience his quirkiness.

The Second City Almanac of Improvisation

by Anne Libera

Great if you’re interested in the basics, as taught by Second City. An interesting read from every standpoint.

Art by Committee: A Guide to Advanced Impro…

by Charna Halpern

An interesting read. Consider this book to be an extension of Truth in Comedy. Comes with a DVD showing iO improvisers.

Acting on Impulse: The Art of Making Improv…

by Carol Hazenfield

A great book if you want to start a group and need some ideas on exercises.

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