I know Hot Spot is a performance piece in Truth in Comedy, but I use it as an energy- and team-building warm-up, an exercise taking turns in the spotlight. Nobody is in the spotlight for long, and everyone has to get into the spotlight at some point.
In the improv for teenagers class I taught this year, we battled perfectionism and a tendency to separate the kids who were fluent in pop culture from the kids who weren’t. Hot Spot highlighted these pitfalls. Players didn’t want to jump into the middle unless they had the right song to sing. A song that nobody had sung yet, or a song they were sure they remembered all the words to, or a song that would help them fit in.
While everyone spun their wheels on the side, searching their mental playlists for perfect songs, some poor soul had been stuck in the middle for what felt like forever, and he only knew half the chorus to his song.
So I gave them three options: “Bah, Bah, Black Sheep,” “ABC’s,” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Yeah, those all have the same melody. The point is that everyone knows them, and there’s no way to look cool singing them. The point isn’t to do the perfect thing. It’s to do something.
Suddenly, they were tagging each other out. They were singing at the tops of their voices, with commitment, expression, and silliness. They were singing back-up vocals for each other.
When I launched them straight from 3 Song Hot Spot into a Harold, they worried less about saying the perfect thing in their opening. They listened better and piled onto the game with more energy. They were more playful and less prone to freezing up from trying to be original. They showed more of themselves, and they played the way I want to play.