master the harold. make longform fun. become an unstoppable improviser.
You’re an improviser who’s had it with the Harold. It’s outdated. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating, not fun. And do we even have to mention awkward group openings?
Raise your hand (yes, even if you’re at the coffee shop) if you’ve ever thought:
- How is an improviser supposed to remember all these moving pieces?
- Why does Harold require so much brainpower when you’re told over and over again to “get out of your head?”
- Why is Harold so hard when improv is supposed to be fun?
You’re not alone. I used to think those same things. In fact, Harold almost made me quit improv entirely. That is, until I finally figured out how to make it fun.
Now, I want to help you find the fun too!
Hello My Name is Harold
A Friendly Guide to Improv’s Least Friendly Longform (by Ben Noble, author of Improv ABC)
- Harold history, Cliff Notes edition. No need to memorize dates, names, or places. But I promise that one you understand how and why the form was created, you’ll be able to better understand and perform it.
- A refresher of the fundamentals. Let’s talk kitchen rules as well as how to become a better ensemble player.
- A step-by-step walkthrough of the form. Let’s talk strategy for every beat, every scene, and every group game. I’ll also share my unique, three-part framework that ties the whole piece together.
- Everything you ever wanted to know about group work. What’s an Opening? What’s a Game? Are they always so weird and awkward? Do we have to do the weird squigglys? Can we just skip this part? (No). All that, plus how to make group work fun to do and watch.
- Thematic improvisation. I’ll show you how to mine the suggestion for its thematic content and get the whole group on the same page without ever discussing it.
- How to end your Harold. There are traditionally three different types of endings, but I’ll show you how to choose the right one, every time.
- Bonus: the book is a Harold. Seriously. Check it out.
Stop feeling frustrated and start having fun.
(And get first dibs on exclusive launch goodies)
Who is this book for?
This book is for you if:
- You’re learning Harold for the first time.
- You’re about to audition for a Harold team or just joined one.
- You hate Harold and won’t ever perform it again.
- You read Truth in Comedy four years ago and didn’t get it.
- Your my mom and read everything I write.
This book is not for you if:
- You don’t know what I’m talking about.
- You just took your first improv class last Sunday.
- Your name is Harold (sorry, Harolds).
Who does this guy think he is?
My name is Ben (not Harold), and I’ve been performing, coaching, and teaching the form for five years. But that wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. In fact, I almost walked out of my first Harold class and asked for my money back. I was so frustrated and felt like I sucked at improv, but thankfully, my friends encouraged me to keep at it. I went on to finish the training program, play on several different house teams, and now teach at the theater I almost left.
Being on the other side, I see things a little differently. Like learning the rules to a board game, the first time you play, it’s a disaster. You’re trying to remember the rules and figure out the strategy. You probably lose. But by the third or fourth time you play, it all starts to make sense. The rules become second nature, you know what to do, and now, you win.
The problem is that Harold doesn’t come with a rulebook, and if you click around online, you’ll quickly realize no one’s written one! So I decided to do it myself.