"Imagine you are a child standing on a sidewalk, watching your parents in a parade. They are walking along, handing out treats. You are very excited to see your heroes come closer and your heart pounds as you anticipate the chance to nab one of the candies that comes from them. But withing a few feet, you are shocked to see they only give candy to specific people. In fact, they are ignore many of the parade watchers, and they only give candy to specific adults - people who trade knowing winks with them. Your parents actually see you and you wave, but they do not toss you any candy. Instead, they hand a piece to a stranger you have never met, standing behind you."

Ok, that's a bit dramatic. But it emphasizes a point.

Some comedy theory for you. Go with me on this.

99% of the time, your audience wants to see you succeed. Success is a broad term and for the sake of improv can be defined, but we won't go into that now. The important thing to know is the audience wants you to succeed.

Why? Because humans are watchers. We want to be a part of the action. Audiences live vicariously through their sports, literature, movie, and theater heroes. There is a bond that the watcher creates while observing you. And it's something to be cultivated. You want to be genuine and you don't want to betray it.

(This also is the reason why I disagree with Charles Barkley's "I am not a role model" statement. He was one. He just didn't chose to accept the responsibility.)

Be aware that Inside humor can feel like betrayal. It excludes the ones who have unconsciously been attempting to identify with you. In the example of the parade, you are Mommy or Daddy and the audience is your child. If your candy - your humor - is only meant to make a few people laugh, you have damaged your ability to appeal to your wider audience.

One of the worst performances I ever saw involved some improvisers who smiled as though they were golden sunshine. But many moments of their set, they literally had their backs turned to the audience and played to their comrades offstage. Even worse, their teammates laughed wildly, while the audience sat in baffled silence. And unfortunately, the performers never regained the audience.

One of the best performances I ever saw was for an audience of 2 people. Ten CITY Improv performers, one host, and a full compliment of lights, sound, waitresses, etc. The whole team made the entire night about the two members of the audience. And they were flabbergasted. Guess what happened? They kept coming back. Again and again. And every time, the two multiplied. Soon they were bringing groups of ten or twelve.