Truth in Humor: How Improvisational Comedy Can Help Lawyers Get Some Chops

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 1.14.12 PMThe Harold is a “long form” improv activity first developed in the 60s by theater director / teacher Del Close. Long form improvisational activities allow actors more time to develop believable characters and organic storylines. Whether the performance is a comedy or a drama is entirely up to the cast members.

Long form improv can last from 10 to 45 minutes (or beyond)! If done well, it can be absolutely mesmerizing.

And Long-form improv has many benefits for attorneys. Here is an article:

Truth in Humor: How Improvisational Comedy Can Help Lawyers Get Some Chops

by Steven Lubet and Thomas Hankinson 1


A physicist, a biologist, and a mathematician are sitting in an outdoor café and observing a vacant house. After an hour, two people walk into the house.

A little while later, three people walk out. “There must have been a measurement error,” says the physicist. “They obviously reproduced,” says the biologist.

“If another person goes in,” says the mathematician, “that house will be empty again.”…..


Lawyers can learn a lot from improvisation theory, and it isn’t just a matter of thinking on your feet. As we will explain, the key concept in both disciplines is the creation of a new, temporary reality. In improvisation, the cast must draw the audience into sharing the constructed reality of the stage, such that they can actually “see” the objects and characters portrayed, without the use of props or costumes.

In trial, the lawyer must draw the jury into sharing the re-constructed reality of past events, such that they “see” what happened, even though they were not present to witness the original actions. Improvisation theorists and teachers have developed principles that guide performers in creating and maintaining a constructed reality in which the audience participates. And these principles of improv – especially the version known as “long form” – can be of great use to lawyers.



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Improvisational Theater Skills for Lawyers