Sketchy Advice: A new segment from UCB Comedy. Established sketch writers from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre offer sketch students advice on being creative, the writing process, and adding to a writer’s room.
Do you think I should avoid offering an audience improv suggestion such as the word "jaundice"? I gave it today and I don't think it went over well with the performers. They didn't know what it was. Who knew? I was trying to give something more interesting than say, a fruit or a color etc.
No. I would have loved a suggestion like that. Not to put it on the improvisors, but you should be able make the best out of the suggestion, even if you don’t know what it means. Personally, if I don’t know what a suggestion is, I just ask. I’m a dummy and need things to be clear. But if I’m in a situation where the group takes it and no one knows what it is and I didn’t stop to clarify, I just use it as “what does that mean to me?” or even using my ignorance on that thing to inspire an initiation. The suggestion or opening is only there to help you generate ideas, not provide a road block for you.
That being said, there is such a thing as a bad suggestion, but regardless, you should be able to do scenes off that bad suggestion. Yours was not a bad suggestion.