This exercise was co-created as part of a collaboration day between myself and Geoff Watts, and from frequent visits to watch the Comedy Store Players perform in London.
4 willing volunteers
One person plays “the interviewer”
The other three people play the “interviewee”. The only rule they must follow is that they must answer any questions one word at a time, in sequence.
Any leftover audience members can help by giving the interviewer a subject. At the comedy store, the usual request is for an animal and an olympic sport. The interviewee is then interviewed as an expert on that very subject.
This classic improv game illustrates the frustration and fun the interviewee/s get from answering questions one word at a time. It forces them to collaborate, knowing that they have to build on what the previous person has said, and still make the response make sense. Very funny to watch.
A secondary learning that I noticed from running this game, is the role of the interviewer is perhaps just as tough, because he or she has to listen even harder to piece the response together. Then he or she must answer another question to keep the interview flowing. It’s a great coaching scenario to show the importance of active listening and asking open questions to allow more than one word responses.