We have to come up with names for our Improv Troupe. Here are some good suggestions from an Improver’s blog:
Naming your improv troupe is no science but there are a lot of trends out there. Like band names, these trends come and go and vary by region. I’ll be using examples pulled from here. By the by, if I’m using your troupe name as an example, I’m not trying to single you out for ridicule, you just happen to fit the category.
Our name falls under this category, so I’ll start here (though we also fall under The Pun category which I’ll get to next). The meta name is about improv itself in some form. The three Montreal English troupes fall into this one starting with On The Spot, followed by ourselves and Uncalled For. (Note: there are no less than 5 “On The Spot”s listed in the US). Other Examples: Speed of Thought Players, Totally Unrehearsed Theater.
We combined two trends in our name so we have to deal with mockery from two angles. Ah, the burdens we bear! In any case, the pun is well worn throughout music band names and improv names are as, if not more, susceptible to this trend. It always seems clever at first blush and who can resist being clever? Examples: Lipschtick, Mile Hi-Larity (from Denver, of course), Die Nasty.
Improv is crazy and zany right? So why not pick a name that reflects the wackiness! This is the largest category by far. Animals are typically involved. Examples: Flying Fish Fun Factory, Rubber Chickens, Crazy Monkeys.
This is the generic version of the troupe name. Bands have “The (blank)s”, we have this category. Sometimes it’s plainly descriptive, sometimes it has a little colour but it’s the denim jeans of names: functional, simple and neat. A minor variation is to have Improv come first. Examples: Solid Gold Improv, McGill Improv, Laughing Matter Improv, Main Street Improv, Improv Toronto.
The Improv Pun
Related to both “The Pun” and “(blank) Improv”, you have the improv pun, usually some form of the word “improv” forcibly inserted into a familiar phrase or even a random word. This vein has been thoroughly mined. Examples: Mission Improvable (this one has many varieties), Room for IMPROVment, ImproVision, Improvateers, Improvoholics.
The Funny Word
If a word sounds funny, there’s a good chance it’ll get used as an improv name. Stand-up comedians have long abused them so they’re fair game for improvisers, too. Examples: The Omelettes, Bovine Metropolis, Whammo Players, Buttered Niblets.
Improv doesn’t always work. That’s just part of the art. So why not prepare the audience by letting them know about your impending failures with a name that lets you off the hook? Examples: Room to Improv, This Is Pathetic, The Huge Embarrassing Failures, Obviously Unrehearsed Improv!
The Mental Image
The troupe name describes something that immediately creates a (hopefully) funny mental image. Bizarre and incongruous are the keys to this tactic. Examples: Seven Foot Baby, The Angry Beavers, Stick Horses in Pants, Makeshift Robot.
Don’t want to follow a trend? Just pick some random words that you’d never see together normally. D’oh! This is just as much of a trend as all the others! This category has a lot of overlap with The Funny Word. Examples: Baloney Rodeo, New Kevin, Pool Party Massacre.