This. Is Not. A Gun.

I suck at object work.  I acknowledge that.  Things appear and disappear out of my grasp with alarming regularity.  It’s something I need to work on.

But the other day, I saw a veteran improviser do the “finger gun” thing above.  I lost my mind.  This person has been on one of Chicago’s marquee teams for years and years.  And he chose to show he had a gun by doing that with his fingers.

It’s the laziest thing I’ve seen in a decade of improvisation.

Do that in a Level One class somewhere and you’ll be reminded that no one holds a gun like that.  And you can’t shoot bullets out of your fingertips, unless you’ve justified yourself as a robot or something.

When you take the stage, remember that you’re not only performing for audience members; you’re also performing for current and future improvisers who might see you.  You have an obligation to inspire them the way you were once inspired.  Serve the art.  Advance the art.  Strive to be better than you are.

If you care so little about stage time that you make a lazy move like that, maybe you should step aside for someone who wants it more.

Got an improv question?  E-mail me at boilingpointimprov[at]


2 responses to “This. Is Not. A Gun.

  1. Great blog, now lets get to my steaming criticism.
    It’s just an opinion, really. I too suck at object work. Really really do. And I think you should treat the world as real as you can. But I have no problems with the finger gun. The finger gun is clearly a gun, from when we were kids. Everyone knows its a gun. No one has to think about it being a gun. So you can play a scene with a gun without an audience trying to figure out what your miming. Real gun looks pretty much like a fist. It’s not the same as the thumb-finger telephone, although that still works better as a conversational ‘call me’.
    The other often called, undeservedly, is the drinking through your thumb when gripping a cup, I know it real life its false, but not doing that looks fake on stage. I don’t know why, maybe its the cup passing through your face, maybe its the duck bill we can now see.
    Just my opinion.

  2. Plus the kid-style finger gun is funny.

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