Would-Be Improv Comedian Tries Out For Monkey Business Institute

The idea of the game is as simple as it is terrifying. In front of a room full of strangers, I’m presented with a key word and a musical style. Instrumental accompaniment will begin and, within seconds, I’m to improvise a song.

“Your theme is burglary,” says Sarah Rogers, one of the owners of Monkey Business Institute. “And the style is swing.”

She clicks something on her laptop and a short intro begins, during which I decide snapping my fingers like Dean Martin will set the proper mood and might open a creative crack, a tiny window of brilliance through which I will spot something that will allow me to craft a song on the spot. But my total lack of musical talent has been joined by an accompanying, but now significantly more urgent, lack of ideas for lyrics to a song about burglary set to a swing beat.

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Last updated on: June 15, 2012