Comedy improv comes to library

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 23, 2016

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TROY — Unleash your inner comedian during a program on the art of improvisation at the library.

Karen Bell-Brege has managed the house troupe at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle for 13 years, and holds programs for corporations and teens. She held a program for teens at the Troy Public Library last year, and Connie Doherty, head of adult information services for library, thought Bell-Brege would be a good fit for adults in April, which is National Humor Month.

“We’re hoping it helps people be a little silly, develop presentation, leadership skills and spontaneity, personally and professionally in the workplace. It’s very interactive,” Doherty said of Bell-Brege’s program.

“We start slow with warm-up games,” said Bell-Brege, who studied at The Second City in Chicago.

“These are amazing skills,” she said, referring to improvisational skills: listening, sharing, teamwork, spontaneity and living in the moment.

“It’s so much more than making people laugh.”

In life, she said, “We all pretty much make it up as we go along. Improvisational skills make us funnier, kinder and enhances creativity,” Bell-Brege explained. “When you play, these skills come out again. When you share yourself, you forget how you come across. We’re so fearful of how we look. It’s a huge confidence builder. Improv takes you back to being more of yourself. We do it through games.”

Improvisational skills not only enhance public speaking skills, but they also help people “be more spontaneous, and find your funny self again. Improv breaks down barriers, also, within ourselves,” Bell-Brege said.

“You walk in stiff and self-conscious and walk out with a swagger,” she said.

The Art of Improvisation with Karen Bell-Brege will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 4 at the Troy Public Library, 510 W. Big Beaver Road.

Register online at or call (248) 524-3542.