Best Improvisation podcasts we could find (Updated September 2018)
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Jazzpath.com presents introductory jazz improvisation lessons.
 
Podcast by Applied Improvisation
 
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What did Lisa learn at clown camp? Still a bit hazy from her experience off in the woods of Northern Ontario, Lisa reports back in on her experiences training to clown. Ted and Lisa start by acknowledging the typically chilly conditions of late-summer San Francisco (2:14) before Lisa jumps into explaining the basics of “Baby Clown” (4:45). Lisa ...…
 
The conversation with Joe Bill goes wider and deeper. When legendary improvisor Joe Bill arrived in San Francisco to teach and perform, Ted and Lisa seized the opportunity and wrangled up a whirring, stirring conversation about improv, psychology, surviving childhood—and a whole lot more. Listen in for Part 2 of their Monster Baby cup of Joe. ( ...…
 
Joe Bill’s an improv luminary with a brilliant mind that careens joyfully between gutter-level explicitness and spiritual truth—oh wait, are they different? When Joe came to San Francisco to teach and perform, Ted and Lisa cranked up the podcast for a two-part conversation that runs the gamut. Part 1 of the conversation starts with the story of ...…
 
Speaking up is one of the most natural—and most frightening—things we humans do. With Ted back from a month-long voice and speech training in Manhattan and Lisa back from a few weeks at summer camp, Episode #49 takes on the topic of stepping up and speaking out. Ted opens the conversation with his reasons for proposing the topic and why speech ...…
 
The devil may live in the details—but’s that’s probably because he likes the magic there. In Monster Baby Episode, #48, Ted and Lisa discuss the challenges, joys, and benefits of getting specific. They start with a few leftovers from last episode’s discussion on Emotions (2:20) and a new version of the old-standby warm-up game, Three Things (12 ...…
 
Pull out the pillows and the tissue paper—Monster Baby Episode #47 gets emotional. Or, more accurately, gets into emotions. Lisa and Ted start with some reflections on Lisa’s end of term teaching improv at Stanford (2:27) and working through some “leftovers” from last episode—including how do you stay calm when performing I front of a room (6:2 ...…
 
What does it mean to be creative? Do you qualify? In Monster Baby #46, Lisa and Ted mix it up with the muses, exploring the boundaries and qualities of this thing called “creativity.” They start with a riff on poinsettias and mouth noises—hint: Lisa likes the former and hates the latter (1:08)—and acknowledge their entry into the discussion is ...…
 
If you’re looking for some action, you’ve come to the right place! In Monster Baby Episode #45, Lisa and Ted consider the many ramifications of action in a life of mindfulness and improvisation. They start by considering what associations the word brings to mind (1:58) and then describe where action shows up in each of their lives—including a m ...…
 
Ted and Lisa are working the levers of status: who’s got it, how it’s communicated, how we get good at playing with it—and more. On this, the Monster Baby Podcast’s 2nd birthday, our intrepid pair starts by giving away a scholarship slot for their upcoming Mindful Play, Playful Mind retreat (1:43) and then by getting into Keith Johnstone’s work ...…
 
There’s wisdom in them thar’ bodies—so it’s time to get physical! Lisa and Ted open Episode #43 with an audacious shot at a free slot in their upcoming Mindful Play, Playful Mind retreat (3:37) and a bit of a juicy story (6:31). Lisa wonders if mindfulness can ever be robustly physical (8:58) and if it, counter to common understanding, actually ...…
 
Limiting beliefs get into us from a young age—how the heck can we undo or at least disarm them? In this Monster Baby episode, Ted and Lisa play with some tools and generate some hacks from the worlds of mindfulness and improvisation. The episode begins with a check-in from Lisa’s recent junket to Singapore (1:39) and a warm-hearted invitation t ...…
 
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Lisa and Ted dive into the topic of love in its many forms. They start by checking the legendary history of St. Valentine (1:45) and wonder if maybe St. Patrick is deserving of similar attention (3:19). They ask what the word “love” really means anyway (5:56) and then consider overlaps between love and mindfulness ( ...…
 
Responding to a listener question (thanks, Shannon!), Ted and Lisa start to explore the world of expectations. Some initial responses (1:56) give way to another question: if we don’t have expectations, can we be disappointed? (6:04) Lisa delineates between expectations of what—as in, the end results—vs expectations of how—as in, the process (9: ...…
 
How did the Monster Baby Facebook fast go? Lisa starts with her results and notices the power of habit, voyeurism and what it means to think in status updates (5:03). Ted reports about noticing loneliness and boredom but also renewed mental clarity and lessened need for comparison (7:58). Lisa mentions how Facebook serves as a space-filler and ...…
 
For this more free-form episode, Ted and Lisa share what’s been on their minds recently. Ted starts by considering how his relationship to technology has been affecting his sense of presence (2:21). That leads to a discussion of the addictive nature of Facebook, its effect on the experience of community (6:20) and a commitment to try a Facebook ...…
 
On the eve of a New Year, Lisa and Ted consider the value of fresh starts. They begin with some numerical musings (2:29) and warm up with a round of the classic improv game “New Choice.” (7:21) They explore how New Year’s resolutions and how improv heightens our awareness of newness in any given moment (13:35) before discussing how “imprinting” ...…
 
Just in time for a holiday season that so often leads to excess, Ted and Lisa return to extol the virtues of “Less is More.” They revisit an old standby version of Word-at-a-Time for a warm-up (1:39) and consider some general thoughts about how improv draws from life (5:42). Ted shares a few stories from the rustic portion of his childhood (10: ...…
 
AIN Infocast SOCAL 2017 byBy paul@impro.org.uk (Paul Z Jackson).
 
It’s Lisa’s birthday and Ted’s about to turn 50—time to talk about aging! Our Monster Baby duo starts with a challenging warm-up game of “Fifteen Things!” to keep their brains youthfully invigorated (2:07) and then chat about how age has affected their respective memories (9:47). Ted and Lisa consider the dating ramifications of getting older a ...…
 
Listen up, people! In Monster Baby #34, Ted and Lisa dig in to the nitty gritty of the world of listening. They start by defining the word itself and noticing how listening is like receiving (2:09) and then brainstorm ways to increase listening bandwidth (6:30). Lisa wonders if attention is a finite resource (9:32) and together they wonder what ...…
 
What sorts of intriguing insights show up on a 10-day silent retreat? Ted and Lisa find out in Monster Baby Episode #33. They start by acknowledging that Ted’s in a period of adjustment (2:23) before considering the benefits of practicing mindfulness in relationship with others (6:58). They note how sharper awareness can help us “lock in” to wh ...…
 
Regular Monster Baby listeners know that Ted and Lisa love to play. In their latest episode, you learn why. The intrepid pair discuss play as a connector (1:43), whether it makes sense to be playful in such tough times (5:02), and different types of play (7:49). They consider the impacts and qualities of a playful attitude (10:27) and how play ...…
 
Glide down a river of insight as the Monster Baby podcast takes on the topic of flow. Despite her uncertainties, Lisa offers a great San Francisco-based analogy before Ted brings in the Buddhist image of the Windhorse (1:45). The two distinguish between autopilot and flow (9:26) and then dive into three main questions for the remainder of the e ...…
 
Coping with a wounded heart can be tough, but mindfulness and improvisation principles and practices can help. In this episode, Ted and Lisa process Ted’s meteoric rise-and-fall romantic connection (2:33), preparing with a little levity in an opening game of Three Things (6:28). Ted recounts the good times and the stunning news of reversal (9:5 ...…
 
How does yielding at the right times serve creativity and collaboration? Ted and Lisa start with a game of Sound Ball (1:49) and catch back up after a summer apart (3:47) before jumping into this episode’s topic of “It’s Not You.” (11:02) They explore the connections between humility and humus (14:59) and delineate the difference between the Eg ...…
 
Lisa and Ted reach across the country to dig deeper into life’s offerings. Lisa shares some perspective from her time at Girl Scout camp and Ted relays a story or two from his trip across country on his way to a training program in Manhattan (1:56) and then the pair get into the topic of the day (8:27). They generate some perhaps forgettable qu ...…
 
What’s spirituality got to do with it anyway? Ted and Lisa take on the thorny task of exploring the realms of spirit and what they have to do with mindfulness and improv. Lisa starts by explaining the Double Bounce Theory and why her coffee and exercise routine might play out in the episode (2:50). Ted shares his individually designed spiritual ...…
 
Ted and Lisa get curious about curiosity in Monster Baby Episode #26! They laugh their way through the opening challenge of a few Line-at-a-Time Limericks (1:48) and then enter their topic in earnest around the five-minute mark (5:29). They ask whether curiosity is fundamental to effective improv even though most teachers don’t talk about it ex ...…
 
In Episode #25, Ted and Lisa dive into the paradoxical wisdom in the Improv maxim “Be Average.” They start with a chat about the San Francisco production of Hamilton and time they each spent with Moms (1:53) before introducing the subject of the day (6:48). They explore the value of just mucking about and the need to better “understand the ston ...…
 
Time to get present, y’all! Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the first Monster Baby podcast, Ted and Lisa offer Episode #24, a deep dive into presence and its role in our lives. A new warm-up creates some crazy acronyms (1:14) before the co-hosts check in about their prior commitment to try a gratitude practice (5:48). They soon take on ...…
 
Episode #23 finds Ted and Lisa taking on an attitude of gratitude. A humorous warm-up (1:46) gets the ball rolling before the co-hosts start to clarify how gratitude differs from simply acknowledging what we like (6:18). They touch on gratitude’s relationship to vulnerability (12:34) and whether we can ever offer enough thanks for some of the g ...…
 
In Episode #22, Ted and Lisa share a conversational cup of courage. A brief and playful check-in (1:59) leads to defining what they mean by courage (4:27) and together, they wonder if Lisa’s courageous to do improv (8:52). Ted considers the last time he felt particularly courageous (11:51) and Lisa shares some stories about dating and nervousne ...…
 
Ted and Lisa welcome special guest (and Jeopardy contestant-to-be) Troy Steinmetz for a conversation about the wisdom of puzzles. They enter a warm-up game midstream to consider different kinds of puzzles (3:47) before Troy gets the group talking about flow and ideal challenge levels (13:37). Lisa introduces the notion of “futzing about” and pu ...…
 
For their first podcast of 2017, Lisa and Ted venture into the world of adventure. They demonstrate an adventurous improv game of “What Comes Next?” (1:43), define what they mean by adventure (6:59), and describe why a Keith Johnstone quote (10:07 ) and an exercise called “The Quest” (13:08) get them jazzed about the topic. They explore how adv ...…
 
In the inaugural Monster Baby Mailbag episode, Ted and Lisa (and Lisa’s cats) take questions from a few loyal listeners. They wonder whether Monster Baby friendships are different from other connections (3:49), explore the tension between discovery and invention in both improv and mindfulness (15:32), celebrate an adventurous attitude for choic ...…
 
What is harmony and what the heck makes it so delicious, both literally and metaphorically? Ted and Lisa start with a modified round of “Three Things!” (2:34) and then explain what made them chose today’s topic (7:08). Ted shares his impressions of Lisa’s erstwhile musical improv group, Lombard Street Experiment (12:06) and the pair considers w ...…
 
After a world-changing, head-spinning Election Day outcome, Lisa and Ted turn to each other to process their emotional turmoil. Lisa relays the experience of her first post-result class at Stanford and asks, “How can we play or teach when we’re in the face of a devastating loss?” (2:28) They discuss how mindful sharing offers one path to integr ...…
 
Chillin’ with Patricia in El Granada. Lisa and Ted continue their conversation with teacher and mentor, Patricia Ryan Madson, drama teacher and author of the acclaimed Improv Wisdom. In this segment, Patricia explained how she first learned to say “Yes, and” from impro master Ketih Johnstone (1:09) and how one can approach improv games from mul ...…
 
Chillin’ with Patricia in El Granada. Lisa and Ted welcome their teacher and mentor, Patricia Ryan Madson, drama teacher and author of the acclaimed Improv Wisdom, for a two-part Monster Baby conversation. They explore how mindfulness and improv first joined together in Patricia’s work (3:21) and how the Stanford Improvisors first came into bei ...…
 
What happens when you talk about silence? In this episode, Lisa and Ted offer a short check-in (1:43) and get some questionable advice from their respective tea bags (5:21). They first focus on how silence can affect improv experience (9:31) and then turn their attention to the empty spaces of art and music (21:20). They discuss how some experi ...…
 
A recent loss gets Ted and Lisa reflecting on how best to relate to change. They start with a playful word-at-a-time school announcement (1:45) and some early reflections on change in general (3:54). From there, they consider what improv has to say about change (7:15) and when it might make sense to resist some shifts (11:28). They explore how ...…
 
Lisa and Ted return from their most recent retreat to share a few meta-level insights. After a storytelling warm-up game (1:27) and a check-in about Ted’s trip to Europe (7:51), the duo introduce the perspective of the Observer in meditation and improv (19:25). They consider fellow improvisor Ben Johnson’s approach (25:23) and recognize that so ...…
 
With Ted finally back from a month in Europe, he and Lisa explore the ramifications of her recently directed run of “Bechdel Test” improv shows.* After a playful warm-up game of Finish the Word (3:23), Lisa and Ted recount their performer and audience perspectives on the show’s portrayal of stories about women (16:12). Eventally, they connect e ...…
 
Finally back from a month-long hiatus, Lisa and Ted get into their different preferences around chaos and order. They open with a ribald riff on unicorns and rainbow prisms (really, see 2:34) and then explain what happened with the delay between podcast episodes (5:45). Together, Ted and Lisa try to determine what makes for a healthy amount of ...…
 
Toward the end of their recently concluded Mindful Play, Playful Mind retreat, Ted and Lisa sit down for an interview with David Treadwell, a writer from Brunswick, Maine. Ted and Lisa get into why they offer such retreats (2:46), what the weekend usually covers (6:03), and how improv skills can lead to a better life (9:03). They also consider ...…
 
Responding to their first ever Monster Baby listener letter, Ted and Lisa explore the healing powers of mindfulness and improvisation. They warm up with a rousing game of 3 Things! (1:38) and then start digging into their topic (6:25), noting that healing can be like rinsing the bad or filling in the good (11:45). They work to make sense of a s ...…
 
Emboldened to try an outdoor “studio”, Ted and Lisa dive into a conversation about rules and who they’re meant for (7:02), whether there are rules in mindfulness (13:06), and how rules provide structure for games, play, and community (20:29). Lisa explains improv’s “CROW” principle and introduces the Awkwardness Clause (26:59) and together with ...…
 
Inspired by a new workshop they led in western Massachusetts, Ted and Lisa explore why we should talk about positivity (1:25) in improv and mindfulness, how one of Lisa’s improv groups has learned to make positive starts (16:05), and how beginning from gratitude lays the groundwork for transformation. (22:50). They also wonder about the perils ...…
 
In Episode #5, Ted and Lisa play with the tension between accepting what is and aspiring to excellence, starting with a game of Clover (3:19) and exploring whether mindfulness and improv are easy or hard—and how “hard” often leads to feelings of “not good enough” (7:02). They discuss the importance of a strong biochemical foundation (15:33) and ...…
 
Fresh off a trip to Phillips Exeter Academy, Ted and Lisa hop on the ‘cast to explore the fun and reward of sharing control in improvisation (5:53), Line-at-a-Time Drawing and what it has to do with Lisa’s trip to Buenos Aires (11:21), sharing control with life itself (15:58) and whether this approach is an elaborate excuse for a lack of discip ...…
 
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