The art of improv has an interesting story about the role of improv comedy in current film and TV show hits.

The story includes quotes from The Office’s Steve Carell, Leslie David Baker, and Phyllis Smith, as well as a video clip of Jenna Fischer “improvising” with her Blades of Glory co-stars.

I have to agree with what Phyllis says — during the pivotal Jan/Michael scene in “Women’s Appreciation,” where she’s in his office listening to his “break up” voicemail, Steve and Melora improvised brilliantly.

From my set visit notes:

One time Jan growls, another time she starts to cry, and another time, she accidentally gets tangled up in some phone cord or something, and exits Michael’s office in a flustered huff.

On another take, Jan actually throws an orange (or an orange ball, I couldn’t tell which) at Michael. We asked Steve later if he knew that Melora was going to throw something at him. He said, “she got that look in her eyes, so I knew something was coming.”

Link: Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Others Reveal Magic Behind Improv Comedy


  1. What a cool article! I love the advice that Steve gives:
    “Don’t be precious about looking for the big break, or that special moment. Just do it; just do it as much as you can. … Start with your family; embarrass them in public. That’s what I always used to do.”

    I embarrass my hubby a lot so maybe I too can be in improv?

  2. i’m so glad officetally exists. i’m working at my dad’s office, it’s so boring, and there is definitely a “dwight” here, but in woman form. she recently tried to shove a chocolate chip cookie down my throat (“no cookie”). thanks for everything tanster, and for updating so much! it helps me survive through the day.

  3. This was a great article. It makes me miss and long for my acting days. Maybe I should start an improv night with my friends and see how it goes. Hmmmm. Would they be up for it?

  4. Melora Hardin is in the new issue of Esquire (10 Things You Don’t Know About Women)!

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