There's no getting around it. We live in an unscripted world. If you mean to make an impression, you have to be able to think on your feet, hurl yourself into the moment and improvise. And like a great improv troupe, successful businesses must rely on similar tools to succeed.
We caught up with Pitch Lab’s own RJ Owen and Joel Lutz to ask them 8 important questions about their origin story, Dad jokes, and why you should sign up for their upcoming improv comedy workshop at General Assembly on June 26th!
How did the two of you meet?
RJ: Joel and I were introduced when a pal of ours started a little breakfast club. We had a lot of similar interests and enjoyed riffing on each other’s jokes in conversation. Later when Jay and I put together the initial concept for Pitch Lab, I knew Joel would bring a lot of expertise from his perspective as an improv coach. It’s been great to collaborate with him.
Joel: What RJ said, except I had to beg him to be included in Pitch Lab.
What’s your favorite Dad joke?
RJ: Why did the chicken cross the road? (Why?)
To get to the ugly guy's house.
Knock knock (Who's there?)
It's the chicken!!
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a gold medal for?
RJ: Lawn mowing. I’ve perfected flipping the mower around as I run across my yard, plus I train at high altitude!
Joel: Telling people why something won’t work. No problem goes unnoticed!
What is the next thing on your bucket list?
RJ: I’ve always wanted my bucket list to be achievable so it’s a literal list of buckets. I’ve recently built out my collection of Home Depot orange buckets. The 1997 HD orange is a must-have for any serious bucketeer. I’m hoping to pick up a classic 1930s tin pale at Bucketcon this summer.
Joel: Paying off school loans... I'm right on track!
What is the best piece of comedy advice you’ve ever received?
RJ: “Stop trying to be funny and just listen to me,” (from Joel)
Joel: You aren’t as good as you think you are.
If you were a hoarder, what would you hoard?
RJ: Bucket lists! (see what I did there? in the biz, that's what we call a "callback")
Joel: Better jokes for this interview?
How has improv helped you in your career?
RJ: I use improv skills every day. Improv’s focus on collaboration and building on each other’s ideas with principles like “Yes, And” are absolutely essential for getting the most out of anything we do collaboratively, and as a designer a lot of my creative ideas come this way.
Treating our team like an improv ensemble cast - where everyone wins or loses based on the success of the team and not any individual - also helps make our team a healthy place where everyone has a say and brings all of their creative energy to the table.
Lastly, we’re presenting to clients all the time. We use skills similar to improv comedians to connect with our “audience” and adjust our material on the fly to respond to their feedback or reactions.
Joel: Improv has helped reshape almost every part of my life. I have learned that how I react on stage to a suggestion or what another actor is offering, is very similar to how I respond in real life to challenges and obstacles.
One of the best places I’ve found in life, is when I’m open to new opportunities and in a position to act so that I can capitalize on them in a meaningful way. I believe improv can be a vehicle to incorporate these values/traits into one’s own life.
Why should I sign up for your improv workshop at General Assembly on Tuesday, June 26th?
RJ: You’re going to learn how to explore new creative ideas and unlock innovation (as buzz-wordy as that sounds) and you’re going to do it through a crazy fun improv workshop. Even really good professional development events are rarely as enjoyable as this one will be - don’t miss it!
Joel: If you sign up RJ will guarantee you a new job, and a Tesla! It’s pretty amazing!
Register now for Pitch Lab: How To Use Improv Comedy As A Tool For Innovation! (sorry, Tesla not included)