Comedy 101


At Sacramento Comedy Spot, we perform and teach three main types of comedy: improv, sketch, and stand-up. Descriptions and videos of each can be found below, along with Comedy Spot shows you can see in action!




What is Improv?


Our improv and sketch comedy shows are more like a play or other traditional theatre experience, rather than a stand-up show or nightclub atmosphere. Improv and sketch cast members do not interact with the audience during the performance. We focus on three forms of improv at the Comedy Spot:


Long form: Comprised of scenes based on audience suggestions and/or other performances. Some of our shows employ the Harold* format.  (Shows: Anti-Cooperation League, Lady Business, 3-2-1 SizzleRIOT + Super Cosmonaut, Harold Night, Comedy Exchange, The Potato Bureau)
Short form: Quick and game-based, similar to the TV show, Whose Line is It, Anyway?  (Shows: Game On!)
Musical: A full-length musical is completely made up on the spot, based on idea pitches from the audience.  (Shows: YOU! The Musical)


Classes and workshops in all three forms are available at the Comedy Spot. Our long-form improv program focuses on the Harold format.


Learn more about the personal and business benefits of studying improv HERE.





What is Sketch Comedy?


Sketch comedy is the most recognizable form of comedy after stand-up. Scenes are pre-written and acted out according to script. Sacramento Comedy Spot offers a sketch writing class, which supports our weekly sketch workshop group and house sketch show, Secret Handshake Society.


(Shows: Secret Handshake Society, Barger’s World)





What is Stand-Up? (Video coming soon!)


Stand-up comedy features a performer, usually solo, reciting pre-written stories and jokes to a live audience. Sacramento Comedy Spot offers stand-up classes to get you started on a performance path.


(Shows: Open Mic Night, Wildcard Stand-Up, Comedy Exchange, Apple Fight, Stand-Up Nerdity)




* What is Harold?


Harold is a long-form improv structure initially developed by Del Close in Chicago, beginning in the 1950s. An improv structure is the layout of an improv show. For example, a Harold improv show starts of with an opening the comedians use to collect information that will inspire improvised scenes in the show. After the opening, the comedians perform three separate improv scenes that they revisit throughout the show. All three of these scenes come together in one fast-paced climax at the end of the show. Improv students at the Comedy Spot, and similar comedy theaters in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles, learn the Harold structure. In fact, many comedians currently on television sitcoms studied improv and have learned Harold. The Harold structure is one of the most difficult improv structures. But once you are proficient in Harold, you can apply those skills to almost every other improv structure and be successful. Other improv structures include LaRonde and Armando.


(Shows: Harold Night, RIOT + Super Cosmonaut)