Confidence of Silliness in Storytelling

Educational Objective:

Students will be able to feel confident in their ability to get up in front of an audience and being silly by discussing various professionals using the techniques the students have been learning in their professional storytelling abilities. The ultimate objective is to rid the students of the feeling of “looking stupid.”


Materials Needed:

• Access to YouTube
• Projector with connection to the computer
• Page 2 of an interview with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood – Interview with Colin & Brad



Play “Yes, and…” in two different circles than were created last time and challenge the students to focus on active verbs in their “ands” rather than simply “decided” or “thought” or “went”. Walk around the outside of the circles to help guide as necessary.


Transition (Discussion):

After playing the game, ask the students to return to their seats and discuss how different the game is when the actions are more imaginative and fully active. How are the stories more interesting? Is it easier to take those actions that are given to you and then add your own part of the story as opposed to having to finish another person’s action fully? How difficult is it to think of actions besides those easier ones so quickly?


Step 1 (Class Activity): Using the projector and internet, watch Bill Lepp’s “Ballad of Dirty Joe” as a class. The address on YouTube is as follows:
This clip is about seven-and-a-half minutes long.


Step 2 (Discussion): After watching this story, ask the students what types of techniques Lepp used to make his story, albeit a silly story, come to life. Go over:
• His physicality (and the specifics he used to show each major character)
• His use of voice
• His consistency
• The elements of story (plot, climax, setting, etc.)
• His facial expressions
• His confidence


Step 3 (Instruction): Let the students know that being silly is usually a wonderful thing in improv as long as it furthers the scene. Ask the students if they are familiar with the show Whose Line is it, Anyway? Those familiar with it can answer who Collin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are. Read to the students the last section of the second page of the Stage Directions interview of the two men (labeled “What are Brad and Collin’s golden rules of improv?”).


Step 5 (Discussion): Ask the students what the main rule they have been explaining is in your class lexicon (this is the “Yes, and…” principle). Ask those who have seen Whose Line how often they laugh while watching the show. Why is it so funny? Are the men in the show afraid to be silly, or is that what makes the show?


Step 6/Informal Assessment: Ask the students to watch the following clip from Whose Line is it Anyway? This clip is about 3 minutes long. The clip has Colin Mochrie (the balding man) playing Sound Effects with Ryan Stiles. Ask them to analyze the storytelling that takes place and how silly they are willing to be. After the clip, discuss those elements and how the silliness works. What would have happened if Collin hadn’t been willing to be silly? What would have happened if Ryan hadn’t gone with that silliness? How did both of them use the “Yes, and…” principle? Ask the students to keep these in mind and be ready to play a new game tomorrow.


• Interview with Collin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood