The theory

The following theory is 60% accurate, and 40% just for fun. We mean to make the tricky game of self-assessment playful and nice.

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The pirate player is: visual, demonstrative, physical, brash, dangerous. They always feel, and they always react. They carry flaming barrels of fun gunpowder into a scene. You need your pirates.

Are you a pirate?

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The robot player is: logical, witty, effortlessly intelligent, and fast to find a pattern. Robots think, remember, make patterns, and see the absurdity. They take in every bit of data and synthesize it into the optimal comedy program. You need your robots.

Are you a robot?

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If a pirate is all “heart” and a robot is all “head,” the ninja expertly blends both. Ninjas move with flexibility and precision to serve the highest good of the scene and group. Their choices have an elegance that can be unappreciated – invisible, even – to the untrained eye.

Be a ninja.

It's a fable.Journey to the improv dojo.

In this book, you are a "seeker" of improv knowledge. You journey to a mysterious dojo where three improv teachers show you the ways of the Pirate, Robot and Ninja. Learn of the Four Pillars of a good improv scene, meet the Improv Veteran and take a flight on the Premise Dragon! 200 pages of improv lessons, metaphors, exercises and more importantly, buffet options.

Buy it now!

Book Cover

An incredible team. Ninjas, all.

Billy has been a senior teacher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre almost since it started back in New York City in the late 90s. Will was one of his students, who became a teacher himself. They teamed up to write this book. David Kantrowitz drew incredible illustrations, comedy writer Mark Rennie provided wise editorial guidance, Nick Jaramillo created an elegant interior design and Alana Quirk gave inspired wordsmithing advice. It adds up to an amazing book!

The editorial team

Your two authors One pirate, one robot

Billy (right) is a pirate. The book is based on his theory and exercises. He wanted to write a book, but wasn't sure how to go about it. So he teamed up with Will (left), a robot who had already written an improv book. Will had once been Billy's student. Today they perform on the same improv team in Los Angeles. Both of their energies -- pirate and robot -- went into this book.

Will Hines and Billy Merritt

Photo by Brian Huskey

Ship of Emotional Heightening

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