Games

The Big List o’ Games

(Click on one to see how it’s played)

Warm Ups:
1-2-3 Scream Laughing Chain Alien Tiger Cow
Man Overboard Big Booty Massage Circle
Big Wind Blows Passing Sound and Motion Alien Tiger Cow
Bippety Bippety Bop Popcorn Game Electric Company
Predator/Protector Falling Scorpions
Front to Front to Front Slow Motion Samurai Fuzzy Ducky
Song Circle Get D-O-W-N Sound Circle
Greetings Toothpaste Tag Group Stop
Yes, Let’s Kitty Wants a Corner Zip Zap Zop

Exercises:
Alphabet Circle Go Baby If You Love Me/Jake Your Mom Is Dead
Hitch Hiker Backwards Scene It’s Tuesday
The Bench Game Jump Characters Black Box
Machines Bus Stop Mirror Image
Bus Stop Temperature Change One Word Story Card Status
Pass The Clap Corridors (not “Car Doors” or “Quarters”) Rope
Counting Focus Sounds Good To Me/OK/I’ll Go With That Disc
String The Beads Energy Ball Three Line Scene
Environment Build What Are You Doing? Free Word Association
Yes, And

Structures:
185 Open Scene Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie Lines
Oscar Night Asshole Oxygen Deprivation
Add On, Take Off Pan Left Alphabet Game
Party Quirks Blind Freeze Poet’s Corner
Boris Pop-Up Book Challenge
Porpoises Undulating Wildly Cheese Wheel Questions
Clap Talk Gibberish Remote Control Columns
Restricted Space Dan Glauber Family Special Show Me That
The Dating Game Sitting, Standing, Bending Death In 60 Seconds
Slide Show Dehotp Sound Effects
Ding Split Screen Dubbing
Stage Directions Emotional Boundaries Story Story Die
Emotional Transfer Strips Entrances and Exits
Stunt Doubles Excuses Subtext
Eulogy Subtitles Gripes
Superheroes Hands Three-Way Dubbing
Heaven and Hell Torture The Actor Hijacker
Translator Improv Puppets Two Mookie, Three Mookie, Four Mookie
Jump Emotions Typewriter Jump Locations
Uses In A Minute Jump Styles VCR/Forward, Reverse
Letters What’s Next Machines
Wide World Of Sports McGyver Words In Transit
Murder Mystery World’s Worst Mutants
Xeno’s Time Paradox

1-2-3 Scream: Everybody is in a circle with their heads down. On the count of three, everybody raises their heads and deliberately looks at another person in the circle. If two people end up looking at each other, they scream as loud as they can and leave the circle. Everybody then puts their heads back down and repeats. Play until only one or two people are left.

185: The host gets a bunch of objects from the audience and the players form two lines on stage. The host yells out the first object and the player at the front of the first line comes forward and says, “185 (the objects) walk into a bar and ask the bartender for a drink. The bartender says I’m sorry, but we don’t serve your kind here. And (the objects) reply…” The player then completes the witty punch line off the top of their head. If the audience approves of the joke, they player moves to the end of their line and the player at the head of the other line comes forward and must make a joke with the same object. If the audience does not approve, the player is eliminated and the host yells out the next object that the player at the front of the other line must make a joke with. Play until only one player is left.

Alien Tiger Cow: Everybody is in a circle, and there are three things that people can be. If they are an alien, they hold their fingers up to their heads like antennae and make alien noises. If they are a tiger, they use their hands to imitate claws and growl. If they are a cow, they extend their fingers and place them on their stomachs like and udder, and moo. One the count of three (like rock, paper, scissors), everybody picks one of the three to be. Which ever one of the three is the minority (i.e. three people are aliens, five are tigers, two are cows, so the cows are the minority), all the people imitating that must leave the circle. Play until one or two people are left.

Alphabet Circle: Everybody is in a circle. Starting with the letter ‘A,’ everybody goes around the circle saying a word that begins with that letter. If a person cannot think of a word or says a word that has already been said, move on to the next letter, all the way to ‘Z.’

Alphabet Game: Two people are onstage and are given a letter of the alphabet. The players then have a regular scene consisting of 26 lines of dialogue. Starting with the offered letter, each successive line of dialogue must begin with the next letter of the alphabet. For a variation, time the scene and try to get through the alphabet in just two minutes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie Lines: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a vast warehouse of priceless one-liners and memorable, nonsensical phrases. This game plays upon this fact. Everybody lines up and the host gets a list of objects from the audience. The host then offers them to the players one at a time and the players come up with cheesy lines (in an Arnold voice, of course) that Arnold might use after killing somebody with the particular object. For example, if the object was a citrus fruit, you might mime killing somebody with an orange and say, “Orange you glad I didn’t prolong the pain?” or “I’ll Vitamin C you in hell.”

Asshole: Two players are onstage and three audience volunteers are chosen. The job of the volunteers is to choose three rules that the players must live by in the scene (i.e. always touching their noses, can’t say “me,” etc.) and yell “ASSHOLE!” if either of the players fails to hold up their rule during the scene. The players then enact a scene and try to maintain their composure amid constant taunts of “ASSHOLE!”

Add On, Take Off: Three people start offstage and one person starts onstage. The first person starts a scene and after a little bit, a second person enters, starting a new scene. After a while, a third person enters, and then a fourth, all starting new scenes. After the four person’s scene has carried on for a bit, they must justify leaving and exit. At that point, the three person scene picks up again until the third person to come on justifies leaving and exits. This continues until only the first person is left on stage.

Baby If You Love Me/Jake Your Mom Is Dead: Everybody is in a circle with one person is in the middle. The person in the middle approaches one of the people in the circle and does one of two things. One is that they can say, “Baby if you love me won’t you give me a smile?” to which the person in the circle must respond, “I’m sorry baby but I just can’t smile.” The other is that they can say, “Jake, your mom is dead,” (or a rhyming variation, such as “My shoes are red,” or “I live out in a shed”) to which the person in the circle must respond “Solid,” and raise their right fist in the air. The object is to get the person in the circle to smile. The person in the middle may do anything to get the person to smile except touch them. If the person smiles, they move to the middle of the circle.

Backwards Scene: Two people are onstage. They then play a scene backwards (both the dialogue and the physicality) until a good “starting point” for the scene is reached.

The Bench Game: A bench is onstage and one person is sitting on it. That person chooses a distinct character. A second person then enters, also as a distinct character. The two interact for a while until a third character enters. At that point, the first character must justify leaving and exit. Play until everybody has been in the scene.

Big Booty: Everyone is in a circle. One player is Big Booty. The others, going clockwise, are numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on. Big Booty establishes a 4-beat rhythm, saying Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty (followed by a rest). You can repeat this until everyone gets the rhythm. The game then goes as follows: Big Booty passes the buck to someone else, saying (for example) “Big Booty, number 7” (this takes 2 beats, one for saying ‘Big Booty’ and one for saying ‘number 7’). Number 7 then passes (in 2 beats) to, say, number 2, saying “number 7, number 2.” It continues until someone makes a mistake. If and when that happens, everyone says (in the rhythm), “Aww Shit, Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty,” The player that made the mistake moves to the right of Big Booty and becomes the highest number. Everybody else changes their numbers accordingly and Big Booty starts the game again. The buck can be passed to Big Booty as well, such as “number 3, Big Booty.”

Big Wind Blows: Everybody gets in a tight circle with one person in the middle. The person in the middle puts their feet together, crosses their arms over their chest, closes their eyes, and makes their body rigid. The person then leans over and begins to fall. The circle should be tight enough so that the people in the circle can catch them and prevent them from falling. A trust exercise, the people in the circle should gently push the person in the middle around the circle and not let them fall. It is up to the person in the middle to keep their feet planted and trust that they people on the outside of the circle will not let them fall.

Bippety Bippety Bop: With everybody in a circle, one person goes in the middle who is ‘it.’ The person who is it goes around to others in the circle yelling “bippety bippety bop.” If the person who is it manages to say “bop” before the other person can say “bop”, the other person becomes it. The person who is it may also yell anything they want, but if anybody says something aside from “bop” in response to “bippety bippety bop,” they become it. Variations are that the person who is it may also yell “elephant,” “palm tree,” or “jello.” If “elephant” is yelled, the player who is picked makes a trunk (holds their nose and squeezes their other arm through) and the people on either side form the ears. If any of the three players screws up, they become it. If “palm tree” is yelled, the player who is picked puts their hands up as if they were a palm tree and the players on either side hula dance. If “jello” is yelled, the players who is picked shakes their booty as if they were jello, and the players on either side link hands to form a bowl. For advanced players, other scenes (such as “marlon brando,” “fall of rome” etc.) may be offered.

Black Box: Everybody is in a circle and one person runs the game. There is an imaginary black box full of stuff and the person running the game tells different people to pick things out of the box and asks questions about them. They might ask how much the object weighs, what color it is, how it smells, if it would be good for flipping pancakes, etc. After a while, the person running it tells them to put it back in the box and moves on to another person. The point is for the person who reaches into the box concretely realize an imaginary object they literally pull out of thin air.

Blind Freeze: Two people start a scene and everybody else forms a line with the person at the head of the line facing away from the scene. Whenever they want, the person at the head of the line yells “freeze,” the scene freezes, and the person at the head of the line replaces one of the two people in the scene. The scene then unfreezes and the person who just entered the scene starts a new, different scene from that same pose that was frozen. The new person at the head of the line then turns away and waits to yell freeze, and so on.

Boris: Two people are onstage in an interrogation scene. One is the interrogator, the other is a suspect. The interrogator randomly throws unconnected elements to the suspect, who needs to incorporate these and get himself into (even more) trouble. And then there is Boris, who is a nasty, huge, but invisible thug assisting the interrogator. Every time the interrogator does not like the suspect’s answers (and also when the suspect does not incriminate himself enough), the interrogator calls on Boris to torture the suspect, prodding him to confess or incriminate him even further. Some points to mention are that the crime is not established beforehand, but is eventually “revealed” through the torture. Also, as Boris is imaginary, the suspect only mimes being tortured by Boris. The interrogator may tell Boris what to do (i.e. break his leg), but it is often more fun to leave the choice of torture to the suspect.

Bus Stop: Two players are sitting on a bus stop bench. They then act normal for a few minutes. The point is to just be perfectly normal, and not do anything you wouldn’t really do at a bus stop next to a complete stranger. It can be kinda freaky.

Bus Stop Temperature Change: One player is sitting on a bus stop bench. They may make no noise. The weather starts out perfectly normal, but then slowly moves towards some extreme, such as very hot, very cold, very windy, etc. The player, through mime, must react accordingly.

Card Status: Four people are onstage and a host picks four cards out of a deck. The cards are then attached to their foreheads so they can see other’s cards but not their own. The cards dictate their status in the scene. The idea is that since they don’t know their own status, it must be endowed by the others in the scene. This works best if a setting where status is important is used (the Pentagon, summer camp, etc.)

Challenge: There are two variations of this game. The first is where everybody gets into two teams on opposite sides of the stage. The host gets something for the teams to debate (white versus blue, shorts versus pants, etc.). One team starts and gives an argument. If at any time a member of the team that doesn’t have the floor wishes to object to what is being said, they may clap their hands and say “Challenge!” After they are recognized by the host, they may present their argument. If the person giving the original argument objects to this challenge, they may clap and say “Counterchallenge!” It is then up to the host to arbitrate and decide who takes the floor. The game continues like this for 4 or 5 minutes and the audience decides which team wins. The second variation is similar, but more conducive to smaller groups. Everybody gets in one line and the host gets from the audience a topic on which all members are experts and will debate. The challenge/counterchallenge rules still apply, but there are no teams. As such, there is no winner to decide either.

Cheese Wheel: One player goes onstage and three players exit the room. The host gets three things from the audience: a place, an occupation, and a weapon. One of the players come back into the room and, using only gibberish, the player already onstage must convey to the entering player what those three things are. When the player coming onstage gets them all, they kill the player already onstage with that weapon. The next player then comes onstage and things continue. At the end, line up the players in the order they entered and, starting with the last to enter, allow them to say what they thought the three things were. Keep in mind that the point isn’t necessarily to exactly get what all three things are, but to make the process entertaining for the audience.

Clap Talk Gibberish: Two players go onstage and enact a normal scene. When the host claps, the players must carry on the scene, but they must speak in gibberish. When the host claps again, they go back to speaking normally. This works best if the host heightens things by increasing the frequency of the claps as the scene progresses. It’s interesting to notice the amount of physicality in the scene depending on if the players are speaking normally or in gibberish.

Columns: Two players and two audience volunteers are onstage. The volunteers cover their ears so they cannot hear what is going on around them. They players run a normal scene, but every so often, instead of completing a sentence themselves, they will tap one of the audience volunteers. The volunteer then blurts out a random word or phrase and the players justify it and act as if they themselves had said that thing.

Corridors (not “Car Doors” or “Quarters”): Everybody forms two lines (say line A and line B). The person (person 1) at the head of line A steps up; it will be their duty to establish a scene. The person at the head of line B (person 2) crosses over and enters their scene. Meanwhile, the new person at the head of line B (person 3) moves up, ready to establish a new scene. Person 1 and 2 have a brief scene which is terminated when person 2 goes to the end of line A and person 1 exits and crosses over to the scene that will be started by person 3. While person 1 and person 3 are having a scene, the new person at the head of line A (person 4) moves up to establish a new scene. After person 1 and 3 have a brief scene, person 1 goes to the end of line B, person 3 crosses over to a scene with person 4, the person at the head of line B (person 5) moves up, and so on. It sounds a little confusing at first, but it’s a great exercise once you get the hang of it. Email us if you still have any questions regarding how to work this one.

Counting Focus: Basically everybody in the room decides a way to focus intently and feel the group energy, such as closing their eyes and holding hands or laying in a circle on the floor with their heads to the center. Then, one by one people in the group count (as a group) from 1 to 20. If two people say a number at the same time, start back at 1. This sometimes takes a while.

Dan Glauber Family Special: Five or six players are onstage and the host picks an audience volunteer. The volunteer comes onstage and chooses real members of their family for the players to be (sister Sally, mother Chris, the volunteer them self etc.). The players then enter a scene and act as the member of the family. If they say or do something that the family member wouldn’t really say or do in real life, the volunteer rings a bell and the player must do or say the thing differently until the volunteer doesn’t object. It works well if the scene revolves around something like a family dinner. The players may enter and exit, but the idea is that by the end of the scene, the players will be enacting a possible encounter in the life of the volunteer’s family.

The Dating Game: Three people go onstage and act as contestants on The Dating Game. An audience volunteer is chosen as the person choosing the contestants. The host gets offers for the occupations for the three contestants. The host then facilitates the questioning of the contestants by the audience volunteer (one round of three different questions, then one round of one question for all three) and the contestants must integrate their occupational characteristics into their answers. In the end, the audience member chooses which contestant they wish to go home with.

Death in 60 Seconds: Six people are onstage in two groups of three. The first three people enter a scene and within sixty seconds, all must somehow die and justify their dying and the deaths of the others. Then the second three enter, coming upon the dead bodies, and must also somehow die and justify their dying within another sixty seconds.

Dehotp: Three players go onstage. The first sits cross-legged, the next kneels behind them, and the third stands behind them. Together, they form the omniscient oracle-like being, Dehotp. Audience members pose questions to Dehotp and Dehotp answers their questions by each of the players providing one word at a time. When they are answering a question, they players wave their hands at their sides. At all other times, they have their hands together and heads bowed as if they are praying. All responses are ended by the players saying, “Dehotp…has…spoken.” Sometimes it is necessary for the host to provide clarification for vague responses, but not always.

Ding: Two players enact a normal scene. When the host doesn’t like something that one of the players says, they ring a bell or yell “Ding,” at which point the player must change what they said. The host may keep dinging until they are satisfied and the scene may continue.

Disc: This game may involve as many people as necessary. Imagine the stage as a large disc that is very carefully balanced at a point in the very middle. People may enter and leave just like a normal scene, but the point is to keep the disc “balanced” at all times. If a person enters from one side, somebody should be on the other side to balance. If a person walks towards the center, another person should move in to keep things balanced. The object is to maintain a coherent scene while keeping the stage balanced.

Dubbing: Four players are onstage; two as mimers and two as dubbers. The mimers act out a scene and move their lips but cannot speak. Rather, the dubbers provide the dialogue for their miming. It works best if one dubber only speaks for one mimer.

Electric Company: Everybody is in a circle. They establish a 1-2-3-4 beat by clapping their legs twice and then their hands twice. Once the beat is established, person one starts by saying any word during the 1-2 beat of leg claps. The person to their side, person two, then says another word during the 3-4 beat of hand claps. Then, during the next 1-2 beat of leg claps, everybody says the two words as if they were a compound word. During the 3-4 hand claps, everybody says “Duh-dah.” For example, it might go something like this: “Bike…house…bikehouse duh-dah.” Immediately after the group says “duh-dah,” person two comes up with a new word on beats 1-2 and person three comes up with a new second word on beats 3-4. This continues as many times as you want. The key is trying to get the words in without messing up the rhythm. As you get better, try to increase the tempo.

Emotional Boundaries: The stage is physically divided into three or four sections. Each section is then assigned an emotion. Two players enact a scene, but must experience the emotion corresponding to the part of the stage they are standing on. They can move around the stage and have abrupt changes in emotions, but they must always embrace the emotion of the part of the stage they are standing on.

Emotional Transfer: Two players go onstage. The host gets two different emotions for each of the players. The players then enact a normal scene, displaying the emotions that they were assigned. Over the course of the scene, the players must gradually display less of their own emotion and more of the emotion of the other player. Play until the transfer is complete and the players are only displaying the emotion that the opposite player began with.

Energy Ball: Everybody is in a circle, and there is no talking. One person starts out with the “energy ball.” This is an imaginary orb that can be anything they want. They mold it into an object and interact with it. The point is to try an make the others in the group able to figure out what the object they have made is. Once they feel they have done this, they pass their object to another person in the circle, and that person molds it into a new object. And so it goes.

Entrances and Exits: Five players are onstage and the host gets a word for each of them. Two or three leave and the remaining players begin a scene. If a player’s word is spoken, they must leave and justify their exit if they are onstage or enter and justify their entrance if they are off. The game ends when everybody has been spoken off of the stage.

Environment Build: The stage starts off completely empty. One person then goes on stage and establishes only one element of the environment (the first element is usually a door). One by one, people go onstage establishing one new element at a time. However, every person that goes onstage must interact with every one of the elements that have already been established. People should only go onstage if they are completely sure of the elements that were established before them. Play until somebody forgets to interact with an element or nobody is sure of an element that was just established.

Excuses: One player leaves the room. They will be an employee who is late for work. Another player is the boss. The boss gets three things from the audience: how the employee was originally getting to work, something that prevented them from getting to work, and how they eventually got to work. Two players (who will be coworkers of the late employee) stand behind the boss. The employee enters and the boss questions him about why he is late. The coworkers behind the boss mime the three suggestions, trying to get the employee to guess them. Every once in a while the boss will turn around to the coworkers and yell “what are you doing?” The coworkers will freeze and then try to justify their poses within a work setting. If the boss isn’t satisfied with the excuse, he can fire them and other players come to take their places. The boss then turns back to the employee and the game continues.

Eulogy: One person exits the room and one person comes onstage and lays down on the floor as if they are a dead body. The host gets a famous personality, a geographic location, and a means of death from the audience. The person who left the room then reenters and, usually as a charismatic religious personality, begins to give a eulogy for the dead person. The catch is that they don’t know who it is, where they are, or how they died. Through the eulogy, they try to guess these three things, with the audience letting them know if they are getting close by either yelling out “yes!” or “no!” The game ends when the eulogizer correctly guesses all three things.

Falling: A trust exercise, people mill about the room, but fairly closely. Randomly, a person will say “falling,” become rigid, and fall over. It is up to the rest of the people in the room to make sure that they are caught instead of falling to the ground.

Free Word Association: This warm up has a couple variations. The easiest is where everybody is in a circle. One person says any word, and the person to the side of them then says the first word they think of upon hearing that word. It can continue around the circle indefinitely. The second way is called “Rapid Fire Word Association,” in which everybody forms a line facing one person, as if they were a firing squad. The first person in the line says a word and the person being “fired at” says the first word they think of. The second person in the line then says the first word that makes them think of, and the person being fired at again free associates. This continues until the end of the line is reached. The person being fired at then moves to the end of the line and the person at the front of the line moves up to be fired at.

Front to Front to Front: With everybody in a circle, one person goes in the middle. Everybody else sings, “Here comes (person in the middle) on his/her,” and the person in the middle blurts out an object, such as a bedroom dresser. Then, as that person moves around the circle miming riding that object, the others continue, “Here comes X on his/her bedroom dresser, bedroom dresser, bedroom dresser, here comes X on his/her bedroom dresser, and this is what he/she told me.” At this point, the person in the middle jumps up to face one of the people in the circle. The people in the circle then sing, “front to front to front my baby, back to back to back my baby, side to side to side my baby, this is what he/she told me.” While they are singing this, the person in the middle and the person in the circle convulse with their appropriate body part (front/back/side) facing each other. At the end, the person who was picked in the circle changes places with the person in the middle and it starts over.

Fuzzy Ducky: Everybody is in a circle. Starting with 1 and moving clockwise the people in the circle count upwards. There is a catch though. If the number is a multiple of three or contains a three (6,13,34) you say “fuzzy” instead of the number. If the number is a multiple of seven or contains a seven (49, 27, 79), you say “ducky” instead of the number. Any number that is a multiple of three and seven (21) or contains both a three and a seven (37, 73) becomes “fuzzy ducky.” For a real brain bender, you can include numbers that are a multiple of three but contain a seven (27) or multiples of seven but contain a three (35) as “fuzzy ducky” as well. The games ends when you get tired of it or somebody says “duzzy fucky.”

Get D-O-W-N: Everybody is in a circle. A random person shouts out a greeting. It could be to a specific person (“Hey Tim!”) or a group of people (“Hey people with blue on”). They reply, “Hey what?” The entire rest of the circle chimes in, “Show us how to get down,” yielding “No way!” from the chosen person/people. The circle repeats, “Show us how to get down!” to which the chosen person/people now respond, “OK!” The people in the circle chant, “D to the O to the W-N, that’s the way to get down,” twice while the chosen person/people improvises a dance in the middle of the circle. At the end, it repeats.

Go: Everybody is in a circle. One person starts by pointing to another person in the circle. When the person that they are pointing to says “go,” they start walking towards that person. The person who said “go” then points to another person and waits for that person to say “go.” Try to go as fast as you can and try to persevere through the chaos. For more challenging variations, try it without talking or without pointing. For the hardest variation, play without talking, pointing, or head nodding. Following everybody’s eyes across the circle can get very challenging.

Greetings: People mill about the room greeting each other with random (made up) languages and gestures. When a person is greeted in a particular fashion, they must return it in kind.

Gripes: At the beginning of a show, pick three or four players to do gripes. The host gets a bunch of offers of things that people might complain about. Then, interspersed throughout the show, the players will give short monologues, or gripes, that they have chosen from among the ones offered by the audience. They can end up being plays on words, they can be witty, or they can be straight up complaints. There’s no real structure to gripes, but if they’re done well, they can be humorous additions to a solid show.

Group Stop: Everybody mills around the room. Somebody will randomly freeze and everybody will immediately freeze as well. As soon as everybody has frozen, the person who initially froze will begin moving again, and everybody else will follow. Then, another person will randomly freeze and things will start all over.

Hands: Four players go onstage. Two players stand with their hands behind their backs. The other two stand behind them, putting their arms through the arms of the person in front of them, making their arms look like the arms of the person in front of them. The two players in front carry on a scene as they normally would while the people behind them actively use their arms to compliment them. This game works best if one of the players in front is a host and the other is a guest on some show with lots of props (such as food) that the hands can interact with.

Heaven and Hell: Three people start onstage: one as God, one as the Devil, and one as a bystander. The bystander leaves the room and the host gets a task for God and a task for the Devil. The task for God will be inherently good (bake a cake for a friend) and the task for the Devil will be inherently bad (trip a granny). When the bystander comes back in, God and the Devil will try to get the bystander to complete their tasks. The only rules are that God and the Devil cannot explicitly say what the bystander is to do and they cannot directly influence the bystander or their free will (i.e. “you are hungry” or “you walk over to the granny”). They can introduce other characters and directly influence them, but they cannot do anything to the bystander. Play until one of the powers gets the bystander to do their task.

Hijacker: Three players are onstage and one player leaves the room. The host gets a means of transportation and an object from the audience. The idea is that the three players in the room are on their merry way using the means of transportation, and they are about to be hijacked by the player who has left the room using the object. The host then gets and objective for the hijacker to achieve once they successfully hijack the means of transportation with the given object. The player who left the room then enters and the scene begins. It is up to the players in the room to get the hijacker to guess what they are supposed to be hijacking, the object they are hijacking it with, and what they will do once they have successfully hijacked it, without explicitly saying it.

Hitch Hiker: Four players are sitting on chairs onstage, resembling the interior of a car. They pretend to be driving along when they spot a hitch hiker and pick them up. The hitch hiker has a very distinctive character trait that all the passengers in the car (except the driver) take on. The driver justifies leaving and exits the scene. The person in the passenger seat moves to the driver’s seat, the person in the back drivers side moves to the passenger seat, the person in the back passenger side moves to the back driver’s side, and the hitch hiker sits in the back passenger side. They ride for a little longer when another hitch hiker appears, and the ordeal starts over.

Improv Puppets: Two players and two audience volunteers go onstage. The players become puppets and the audience volunteers become the puppeteers. The players speak as if they were having a normal scene but they may not move unless the volunteers reposition them. Commenting on the inevitable inertness of the players is where most of the humor in this game comes from.

It’s Tuesday: Everybody forms two lines. The two people at the heads of the lines approach each other. One person says a non sequitor that would normally elicit a completely neutral response, such as, “it’s Tuesday” or “the sky is blue.” The other person then gives a completely emotionally charged response. They can just repeat what was said or say something else, but they must be very emotional (happy, angry, sad, whatever). The two then switch roles and then go to the end of the line.

Jump Characters: Two people enact a normal scene as very distinctive characters, known as “character 1.” After a bit of time, the host claps and says “second character,” at which point the players must continue the scene but as different, distinctive characters. This may continue for as many as three or four characters. After all of the characters have been established, the host may jump to any character (i.e. yell “character 2”) and the players must continue the scene as the other characters they already established.

Jump Emotions: Two players go onstage. The host then gets a list of emotions from the audience. The players enact a normal scene during which the host randomly yells out the emotions taken from the audience. The players take turns taking on the given emotions. As the host shouldn’t wait too long before offering new emotions, the players should be swift and deliberate in their embodiment of the emotions.

Jump Locations: Two players go onstage. The host then gets a list of locations (both geographic and non-geographic) from the audience. The players enact a normal scene during which the host randomly yells out the locations taken from the audience. The players then continue to act out that same scene, but in the new location. It is important to note that the characters do not change, only the location. If the scene was about a cashier and a customer at a 7-11 and the host yells out “Mars,” they might now be in zero gravity and about to explode from the lack of atmosphere, but they are still a cashier and a customer interacting with each other.

Jump Styles: Two players go onstage. The host then gets a list of styles (i.e. film noir, after school special, 80’s sitcom, Ghostbusters, etc.) from the audience. The players enact a normal scene during which the host randomly yells out the emotions taken from the audience. The players then continue to act out that same scene, but in the new style. It is important to note that the location does not change. If the scene was about a brother and sister fighting in their living room and the host yells out “western,” they might become pistol dueling cowboys, but they are still in their living room, not the OK Corral.

Kitty Wants a Corner: Everybody is in a circle with one person in the middle who is the kitty. Kitty walks up to a person in the circle and says “Kitty wants a corner.” That person then says “Go see a neighbor,” and turns the kitty away. While this is happening, he people behind the kitty try to switch places in the circle without the kitty noticing. When this happens, the kitty tries to occupy one of the vacant spaces before another person does. If they succeed, the person left in the middle becomes the new kitty. If they fail, they go up to a new person and repeat.

Laughing Chain: Everybody lies on the floor, making a chain by putting their heads on the stomach of a different person. The person at the head of the chain (the one who isn’t laying their head on anybody’s stomach) begins by making one large, guttural laugh. The person laying their head on their stomach then makes one laugh, and so on down the chain. When the last person has laughed once, the person at the head the laughs twice, then three times, and so on. Play until the inevitable widespread laughter ensues.

Letters: One player is onstage and two are offstage. The host gets a problem that a person might write to somebody about. The person onstage then writes a letter to a person regarding that issue and mimes the writing process (i.e. typewriter, stone and chisel, ESP, etc.). As the person nears the end of their letter, the second person comes onstage as the person that received that letter. Instead of the writer finishing the letter, the receiver comes onstage and reads the “end” out loud and the first person exits. That second person is then inspired to write to a third person, and the same kind of thing happens. The game can end by the third person bringing the scene to some kind of resolution or by writing back to the first person. It is worth noting that the third person does not have to be directly related to the first letter. A letter from a child to a congressman about traffic sign safety can remind him of his own mother’s admonitions, to whom he can write requesting a family recipe for sugar cookies.

Machines: One by one, players enter the stage. When a player enters, they begin a motion and a sound as if they were a part of a working machine. As more of the players enter, the machine becomes more complex. When the machine is built (i.e. all the players have entered), the machine can run at double or triple time as the players move faster. Then, the machine can slowly break down as the players begin to move more slowly and eventually stop moving. This can work really well if there is cool music with a steady beat playing in the background. We often use “Diamond” by Klint Harvey and Seba (the theme to Snatch). It rocks.

Man Overboard: Everybody is spread out across the room. One person is running the game, and they may yell out certain phrases. If they yell “land ahoy,” everybody must hop on one foot and make a salute. If they yell “hit the deck,” everybody must drop down to the floor in the pushup position. If they yell “octopus,” everybody must make groups of two with one person on the floor on their hands and knees and the other person over them perpendicularly in the same position. If they yell “man overboard,” everybody must make groups of two with one person on the back of the other, piggy-back style. If they yell the numbers 2, 3, or 4, everybody must sit in a line and start rowing as if they are in a boat. The number corresponds to the number of people that should be in each boat. The person/people (i.e. yell 3 and two people are left without a third to make a boat) who are last to do the task drop out. Play until only one person is left.

Massage Circle: Everybody sits cross-legged in a circle facing sideways, so they can see the back of the person in front of them. Everybody then begins to give a back massage to the person ahead of them, interacting with them to make sure it feels good, where needs more massaging, etc. After a few minutes, everybody turns around and gets a massage from the person they were just massaging.

McGyver: Two people are onstage. The host gets three objects and a life-threatening situation from the audience. The players then begin the scene and are faced with that life-threatening situation. They must find a way to survive using those three objects. They may use others as well, but must incorporate the three that were given.

Mirror Image: Everybody pairs off, facing each other. The two people are constantly moving, and they try to mirror each other. Nobody is necessarily leading, but movement still occurs. It’s a good way to practice give and take with others.

Murder Mystery: Five players go onstage. One lies in the middle as if they were a dead body. One is a detective, and the remaining three are murder suspects. The detective gives a brief exposition to the murder case and explains that the “usual suspects” have rounded up. The detective then gets occupations from the audience for the three suspects. The suspects are then approached and questioned one by one. As the suspects (keeping their occupations in mind) begin to explain how they met the dead person, everybody wiggles their fingers and goes “doodle-oo, doodle-oo!” signaling a flash back. The dead body then jumps up and the body and the suspect act out the interaction as if it were in the present. At the end, the scene is “doodleooed” back to the actual present and the dead body drops back to the floor. During each questioning, some sort of harm comes to the body that could have killed them. In the end, however, the detective explains that it was not any of the three aforementioned injuries that were the cause of death. Instead, they reveal to the audience some other, completely unrelated means of death that they have devised during the course of questioning. And how.

Mutants: Mutants is more of a concept than a specific game or exercise. Usually, two people link arms and become one “mutant” entity. The most basic form is where the players talk in one-word turns as if they were one personality. A more advanced form is if the two players try to form syllables and words simultaneously. This can easily degenerate into one player leading the other, but it is more challenging if they actually try to make coherent words out of otherwise meaningless drivel. Mutants can be used as characters in any other structure. In a stand alone format, mutants can be a funny story telling structure.

One Word Story: Everybody is in a circle. The idea is that the group is going to tell a story, but each person can only say one word at a time. One person starts, and the story moves clockwise. It works best if a title or topic is chosen before the story is told. Play until the story has been told. Emphasize that the idea is to complement each other and give the next person something to work with rather than deliberately trying to throw a wrench into the works.

Open Scene: Good, old-fashioned improv. Two players start onstage and just play out a scene. Other players may enter or exit as necessary. It’s often a refreshing game after games with lots of gimmicks have been played.

Oscar Night: Three groups of two and a host are onstage. The host gets three fictitious titles for movies and assigns them to each of the three groups. The scene plays out like it is a night at the Oscars, with the host presenting. The groups come up one at a time and present the Oscar winning scene from their movie. At the end, the audience votes on the winning scene and the winning duo gives an improvised acceptance speech.

Oxygen Deprivation: There are two variations on this game; one involves three people, and one involves as many people as you want. If more than three people are playing, two people start onstage having a regular scene. One person is offstage with their head in a bucket of water. When they start suffocating, they tap on the side of the bucket. One of the people onstage must then justify leaving, exit the scene, and tap the person with their head in the bucket. The person with their head in the bucket then enters the scene, justifying their appearance, while the next person in line sticks their head in the bucket. This continues until everybody has stuck their head in the bucket once. If playing with only three people, when the person onstage exits, they stick their head back in the bucket and the scene ends like a normal scene. Other substances such as spaghetti, whipped cream, etc. may be substituted for water and can lead to some funny appearance justification.

Pan Left: Four players go onstage and assume a square formation with two in the back and two in the front. The host sits on the ground in front of them and the position in the front and to the host’s left is the “hot spot.” The host directs the players. If they say “pan left,” the players move around the square to the host’s left, or clockwise. If they say “pan right,” the players move around the square to the host’s right, or counterclockwise. The host then goes around and gets one seed for each of the players. It usually works best if the players gets different types of seeds, like one gets an occupation, another a location, another or an object, and another a relationship. Whenever a player is in the “hot spot,” their seed is the seed for the scene. The two players in front are always the players in the current scene. If the host says “pan left” or “pan right,” the scene stops immediately and the players shift. When a player moves back into the “hot spot,” the scene can either continue where it left off or with some time elapsed. It’s really neat if all four scenes eventually come together as one, but not essential. Forcing this can ruin an otherwise successful game of Pan Left.

Party Quirks: One player leaves the room. Four other players are onstage and the host gets quirks for the characters to have or people for the characters to be. The players then leave the stage and the player who left the room reenters as if he is throwing a party. The four players end up being guests at the party and it is up to them to make the party thrower guess what their quirks are. Play until the thrower guesses all of the guest’s quirks.

Pass the Clap: Everybody is in a circle. One person turns to the person to the side of them and they try to clap their hands together twice, in unison. The person to the side then turns to the person behind them and tries to clap simultaneously with them. It helps to look into the other person’s eyes more than at their hands.

Passing Sound and Motion: Everybody is in a circle. One person turns to a person next to them and makes a sound and a random gesture. That person then turns to the person next to them and tries to repeat that sound and motion exactly as they remember it. This continues around the circle as long as desired. Think the game “Operator.”

Poet’s Corner: Four to six players go onstage in a sort of international coffeehouse. One player is a foreign poet, one is a translator, one or two players are musicians, and one or two players are interpretive dancers. The host gets a country for the foreign poet to be from and a title for the poem they are about to present. Once the host gets these, the foreign poet is introduced and presents the first verse of the poem in gibberish appropriate to the country they are from. The musicians then provide musical accompaniment for the interpretive dancers who translate the foreign poem into movement. The translator then gives the English interpretation of the poem for the benefit of the audience. Three or four verses of this are usually sufficient. This works best if the translator takes the emotion of the foreign poet and the movement of the dancers into account when providing the translation. Rhyming is optional; creativity is not.

Popcorn Game: Everybody is in a circle. People randomly jump into the air and clap their hands. As people do this, it sounds like lots of popcorn is popping. If two people end up clapping at the same time, they are out of the game. It continues until only one or two people are left.

Pop-Up Book: Five players go onstage. Four players form a “pop-up book” and one player is the reader. Audience members or other players may come up and act as a pop-up book liking type of audience. The reader gets a title for the book from the audience and opens the cover of the book. Whenever the reader opens the book or turns a page, the players forming the book position themselves as if they were the illustration in the book. The reader then “reads” what is on that page. Every page has a pop-up book type gimmick (pull the cheap cardboard strip, turn the cheap cardboard wheel, press the expensive picture of the bird and hear a chirping noise, etc) that somebody in the audience can jump up and operate. When the do, the players forming the book must react accordingly and do something pop-up like. A good gimmick for this game is, if the players do a particularly funny or absurd action when something is operated on, do it four or five times and make them do the action over and over again. Hilarity ensues!

Porpoises Undulating Wildly: Two players leave the room and two teams of two or three come onstage. The host gets three words from the audience: a noun, a verb, and an adverb (like porpoises, undulating, and wildly). It is the job of the teams onstage to mime and get their player to guess what the three words are before the other team. The two players that have left then return and get assigned to the teams. The players guess in shifts, and when they aren’t guessing, they must face away from the miming teams so they can’t see what the other team is miming. The host switches teams after either thirty seconds or the player correctly guesses one of the words, whichever comes first. Play until one player guesses all three words.

Predator/Protector: Everybody in the room chooses two other people in the room, one to be their predator and one to be their protector. When the person running the game says “go,” everybody runs around and tries to keep their protector directly in between themselves and their predator.

Questions: Everybody gets into two lines. The host gets a world catastrophe from the audience. The players at the head of the lines approach each other, and begin to interact (using the world catastrophe as a seed) asking only questions. If a person cannot think of a question, asks a question that has already been asked, or generally phrases a “questionable” question, they move to the back of their line and the next person in their line comes forward.

Remote Control: Five players go onstage. The host gets TV channels from the audience for each of the players to be. The host then gets some event (i.e. all the cats in the world burst into flame simultaneously) and points to one of the players to start. That player begins, using that event as a seed, as if they were a show on their respective channel. The host then randomly points a different player (“changes the channel”) and the scene shifts to that player. They use some aspect of the previous player’s scene as seed for their scene. The host moves from player to player until they are “tired of watching TV,” and the scene ends. The idea of using the last player’s scene as the seed means that if the starting event is spontaneously combusting felines, it probably shouldn’t be talked about five or six channel changes later.

Restricted Space: Two players go onstage. The host uses rope, clothing, big sticks, etc. to form some shape on the floor of the stage. That becomes the “restricted space.” The host then decides whether the players are either not allowed inside that space or not allowed outside of it. The players then enact a normal scene except that they must abide by the restricted space. This game works best of that space becomes an integral part of the scene as opposed to just ignoring or staying away from it.

Rope: Everybody gets in line with one person onstage. The person at the head of the line faces away from the person onstage. The person onstage starts doing a repetitive, deliberate action. The person at the head of the line turns around, comes on stage, and says a non-sequitor. The person doing the action must then come up with a logical reply that somehow justifies the action that they are doing. If the reply is unsatisfactory, everybody else in line yells, “ROPE!” the person doing the action goes to the end of the line, the person who uttered the nonsequitor begins a new action, and the exercise continues. If the response is satisfactory, the same thing happens, but they leave the stage unharassed (i.e. no yelling of “ROPE!”).

Scorpions: Everybody disperses around the room and the lights are turned out. One person is chosen to be the ‘scorpion.’ Everybody moves around the room with their eyes closed. If the scorpion touches somebody, they make a buzzing noise and that person has been stung; they must move to the perimeter of the room. The people on the perimeter may coach others away from the scorpion and help others avoid walking into things, but they may not help the scorpion. When there is only one person left, they too become a scorpion and everybody on the perimeter must remain silent as the two scorpions have a death match. The winner is the one that stings the other first.

Show Me That: Two players go onstage and enact a regular scene, every so often making references to another point in time (i.e. “remember last week when…” or “when I was five…”). If they so desire, the host can then yell, “show me that!” at which point the scene breaks and either the players onstage or other players watching run onstage and enact the scene that was referred to. When the host yells “scene!” the scene resumes and the players continue as before.

Sitting, Standing, Bending: Three players go onstage. They enact a normal scene except that at all times, one player must be sitting, one must be standing, and one must be bending. The positions that the players are in can change, but the other players must shift accordingly so that the sitting, standing, bending balance is maintained.

Slide Show: Five players are onstage. Two are people that recently went on vacation and are showing a slide show of their travels. The other three will make the slides. For each slide, the lights will dim and the three people will come up with a pose for the slide. The two players who went on vacation will then describe for the audience exactly what is happening in the slide and how it relates to their vacation. Gimmicks such as “oh, that slide is upside down” and talking for a long time when the players in the slide are obviously in an uncomfortable position work well.

Slow Motion Samurai: People split into two lines on opposite sides of the room, facing each other. They place one hand behind their back and the other hand up, as if their arm were a poison-tipped sword. When somebody says “go,” the lines advance towards each other and battle to the death in slow motion. If somebody gets touched anywhere besides their sword arm with another person’s sword arm, they must fall to the ground and die the most spectacular death possible. People should not speed up if they are about to be killed, but should let themselves be killed. Play until only one person is left. Seppuku is permissible.

Song Circle: Everybody is in a circle. One person is in the middle and starts singing a real song. Everybody joins in and after a few seconds, somebody taps them out of the middle, moves in, and starts singing a different song that the first song made them think of. Again, everybody starts singing this new song. This singing and tapping continues for as long as desired.

Sound Circle: Everybody is in a circle. One person starts making some sort of sound or melody. One by one everybody starts making their own sounds until some sort of orchestral climax is reached. Once the intensity has peaked, everybody gradually diminishes their sounds until it is completely silent again.

Sound Effects: Four players go onstage, two players as actors and two to provide sound effects. The actors enact a normal scene, but, at random, the players providing sound effects may randomly interject any sound effect, such as ocean surf or an alien invasion. The actors must react to the sound effects as if they had really happened in the scene. If they are in the plains of Iowa and they hear ocean surf, perhaps the world is flooding. Or if an alien invasion is coming, perhaps their mother ship has finally arrived.

Sounds Good To Me/OK/I’ll Go With That: Two people go onstage and have a normal scene except for one hitch. One of the players can only say “sounds good to me,” “ok,” or “I’ll go with that.” It’s up to the other player to give the restricted player good offers to make the scene go smoothly.

Split Screen: The stage is split into two halves with two players in each half (four players total). The host gets two separate but related settings for the halves (such as a rugby field and ICU). The players in one half start a scene in their setting while the players in the other half remain perfectly still. When there is a word or phrase that the players in the other half could use as a beginning phrase, they repeat it and begin talking and moving while the players that were just moving freeze. As the scenes go on, the two halves attempt to bring the two halves together (like a rugby player is sent to the ICU or an ICU doctor leaves work early to watch his son’s rugby match). At that point, the “divider” disappears and all four players play briefly in one scene and the game ends.

Stage Directions: Four players go onstage. Two become the actors and two become the readers. The readers each take a play or manuscript (anything with stage directions will work). The actors enact a normal scene but every now and then the readers read out loud one of the stage directions from their piece. For clarity, it works best if the readers substitute the names of the actual actors instead of the characters in the piece. When a stage direction is given, the actors must immediately justify it and incorporate it into the scene, no matter how bizarre it may seem.

Story Story Die: Five players line up shoulder to shoulder onstage. The host gets a genre and the title of a story from the audience. The host then points to one of the people in the line and they begin telling the story. At any point, the host will point to another person in the line. At that time, the person being pointed to takes over and the other person stops talking. If the person being pointed to hesitates, repeats a word (i.e. “he walked over and” (host points) “and touched”), or does not continue where the other person left of (even if it’s in mid-word or mid-syllable), the audience yells “DIE!” and the person must quickly die by a method of their own choosing. The story then continues until only one person is left. The remaining person then paraphrases the story in a trite, “the moral of the story is…” and the game ends.

String the Beads: Two people go and stand at opposite corners of the room. They then both say two random phrases. These phrases become the first and final lines of a story. One by one, people go and stand at different points between those two (like beads on an imaginary string) and come up with different phrases, completing the middle of the story. After each person goes up, repeat the whole story as it stands. Try to make a complete story that makes as much sense as possible.

Strips: Before a performance, have audience members write down words or phrases on strips of paper; the more, the better. Two players go onstage and take three or four strips and put them into their pockets. They then enact a normal scene, but at points, they reach into their pockets and interject what is on the strip instead of saying a phrase of their own. For example, “That reminds me of the time when my brother Frank told me (reaches into pocket and reads strip).”

Stunt Doubles: Four players are onstage, two as actors and two as their stunt doubles. The two actors play out a normal scene, but whenever they are faced with a potentially harmful situation, the host yells out “Stunt Doubles!” The stunt doubles then come in and become painfully injured doing the task. When the host yells “Actors!” the stunt doubles exit and the actors come back. Two things make this game work well. The first is if the stunt doubles maintain and compound their injuries over the course of the scene. The leg they broke two stunts ago is still broken when they have to come in and play basketball against a yeti. The second thing is if the actors brush off the obviously gigantic injuries as “mere flesh wounds” but justify why they are now lying with their left foot behind their right ear.

Subtext: Four players are onstage, two as characters in the scene and two to provide what they are “really thinking.” The two characters act out a normal scene and if they are so inclined, the subtexters interject the inner monologue of the characters. The characters may choose to react to their own subtext or not. Just remember that the first character cannot “hear” the subtext of the second character and vice versa. This game works best if one subtexter is assigned to one character.

Subtitles: Four players are onstage, two as foreign actors and two as translators. The host gets a title of a movie and the actors enact the scene using gibberish. After each line, the translators provide the “subtitle” for what the actor just said. This game works best if one translator is assigned to one actor.

Superheroes: Three people start offstage and one person starts onstage. The host gets a superhero name and a world catastrophe for the person onstage. The person (as that superhero) becomes aware of the catastrophe and sends out a call to their superhero friends. A second person then jumps onstage and the first person endows them with a superhero name (“Oh, Tentacle Legs Man, glad you showed up!”). The third person then jumps on and is endowed by the second person, and so on. When all four superheroes are on stage, the catastrophe is solved and one by one the superheroes find a reason to leave. A good gimmick is sometimes having somebody jump onstage and be endowed by the superheroes as a super villain.

Three Line Scene: Everybody forms two lines, with one line designated as the starting line. The heads of the lines go onstage and, with only three lines total, establish a relationship, setting, and conflict. They then move to the end of the line they weren’t in and the new heads of the lines go up. This exercise helps eliminates “talking heads syndrome” by making the most of only a few words.

Three-Way Dubbing: Three players are onstage and the host gets occupations for the three of them. The gimmick is that player one talks for player two, player two talks for player three, and player three talks for player one. The players then enact a normal scene, but the players are constantly dubbing for the physicality of the other players. The two hardest parts of this game are maintaining the physical characteristics of your character while speaking for another person and moving your body (especially your lips) when another person is speaking for you.

Toothpaste Tag: Everybody is in a circle. A topic is chosen, such as brands of toothpaste or cartoon characters. You go around the circle and everybody picks something in that topic to be. When everybody has chosen, somebody says one of the chosen things, such as “Crest.” When they say Crest, the person who chose crests quickly moves across the circle in a straight line with their arm extended towards a person on the opposite side. If the person moving across the circle gets to them and pokes them before they shout out another chosen thing, they are out of the game. When they shout out the new chosen thing (“Colgate”), the person who is Colgate now moves across the circle while the person who is Crest gets absorbed back into the circle. If the person who chose a thing has been eliminated and it is yelled out, or if a thing is yelled out that wasn’t chosen, that person must yell a new, valid choice before they are poked or they are eliminated. If the person pointing eliminates somebody, they simply turn around and move across the circle towards a new person. If only a few people are left in the circle, it becomes “Anarchy” and the remaining people can run around the room instead of staying in the shape of a circle.

Torture the Actor: Two people are onstage and one person has a play or comic book or some form of literary work. The scene plays out like an open scene except that the person with the work can only read lines from that work. The other player must justify them and carry the scene forward. The person reading from the work only has to read from the book; they can still enact any physicality they desire.

Translator: Three players are seated onstage. One is the host of a talk show, one is an expert who may only speak in gibberish, and one is a translator for the expert. The host gets a topic from the audience on which the expert is an expert, as well as their nationality. The host then begins interviewing the expert with the translator translating between the two. It works best if the expert is very animated. A good gimmick to use is when the expert talks a lot, translate it as a little and vice versa.

Two Mookie, Three Mookie, Four Mookie: Three players go onstage. The host gets a number from one to ten for each of the players. That number becomes the number of words that they must say in each phrase they speak onstage. The point is to get “close enough.” If a player doesn’t say the right number of words, it’s not the end of the world.

Typewriter: One player is onstage as the author of the next “great American novel.” They get the title from the audience and begin “writing” the story as they mime typing on a typewriter. As the author writes, players come from offstage and act the story out. As they story progresses, the author may lead the players or the players may lead the author.

Uses in a Minute: The host brings in some random prop and places it in the middle of the stage. The players must come forward and come up with as many uses for the prop (besides its real use) as they can in a minute. If things are going well, play for more than a minute until things start slowing down.

VCR/Forward, Reverse: Two players are onstage enacting a normal scene. The host, however, has a remote with which they can fast forward, pause, rewind, etc. the scene aw they wish. Pausing in crazy poses or making somebody say a particularly ridiculous piece of dialogue over and over again can work well. It’s best to let the scene develop a little before using any of the gimmicks.

What Are You Doing?: Everybody forms a line and one person (person A) steps up and starts miming an action. The person at the head of the line (person B) comes up to them and says, “What are you doing?” Person A has to come up with any action that isn’t at all what they were miming. Whatever they say they are doing is the new action that person B must do. Person A now asks person B, “What are you doing?” and person B must come up with an action they are not doing. This continues back and forth until either somebody cannot think of an action, they say the action they are actually doing, or they say an action that has already been said. At that point, everybody else in the line yells, “Die!” that person moves to the end of the line, and the person at the head moves up, asking “What are you doing?”

What’s Next: Two players go onstage. They enact a normal scene except that when something pivotal occurs in the scene (a new character is about to enter, a player is about to explain themselves, an object is about to be picked up, etc.), the host yells “freeze!” and gets what is next in the scene from the audience. If a character was about to enter, they would ask the audience who was about to enter. If an object was about to be picked up, they would ask the audience what it was, and so on. It’s kind of like choose your own adventure, but not so much like in a book. More like in improv. Actually, exactly like in improv.

Wide World of Sports: Four players go onstage, two as sports announcers and two as competitors. The announcers get a common household task from the audience. It is this task in which the competitors will compete. The announcers then get countries for the competitors to be from. Once the competitors are introduced, the competition begins in slow motion. The announcers give a play-by-play on the action until the competition is over. The winner and loser are then announced and interviewed.

Words in Transit: Five players go onstage and three of them line up. The host gets a three letter word from the audience, like “far.” The first person becomes f, the second a, and the third r. The three say their letters and then, together, say the word (i.e. “f..a..r..far”). The players then tap in and out of the word, adding and taking letters away to make new words. If the host finds one of the words particularly interesting, they can yell “scene,” and the players break off and do a quick scene involving that word. When the host yells “word” they players move back into work position, and repeat their letters and the word. Play until the host decides to end it.

World’s Worst: Everybody lines up and the host gets a list of verbs, hobbies, and occupations from the audience. The host then offers them to the players one at a time and the players come up and give their version of the “World’s Worst so-and-so.” When the players seem to have run out of ideas, the host switches to the next one and things continue.

Xeno’s Time Paradox: Two people go onstage while the host keeps time. The two carry on a normal scene in 60 seconds. They must then condense and redo that same scene in 30, 10, and finally 1 second. This works best if there is a lot of physicality; talking heads usually doesn’t get any more exciting when it’s condensed.

Yes, And: Everybody forms two lines. The two people at the heads of the lines approach each other. One person says a non sequitor and the other person says, “yes, and…” and a logical response. The key is that the other person must say “yes, and.” An example might be, “Your shoelaces are untied.” “Yes, and I should tie them before I run this marathon.” The two then switch roles and then go to the end of the line.

Yes, Let’s: A random person yells out, “Hey everybody, let’s,” and names a random task, such as ‘fly to mars’ or ‘eat fish.’ Everybody else yells, “Yes, let’s!” and begins miming that action. After a little bit, a different person yells out a task, and so on.

Zip Zap Zop: Everybody is in a circle. One person starts with the “thing,” and it is theirs to pass. There are three ways to pass this “thing.” If you pass it to the person directly to the side of you, you point towards them with your hand and say “zip.” If you pass it to a person that is not directly next to you, you point towards them and say “zop.” If you pass it back to the person that just passed it to you, you point to them and say “zap,” no matter where they are in the circle. Continue increasing the speed of the pass as you play.