The Importance and Fun of Improv Comedy with Amara Leonard

comedian Amara Leonard performing improv on a stage

Amara Leonard is a New York City-based comedian, teacher, and actor. She's coming on board to teach some of our first comedy classes this October, including a Free Intro to Improv class for kids! We had the opportunity to chat with her and learn more about the importance of improv for comedians and actors.

Interview with Amara Leonard

1. What is improv comedy? Why is it important? 

Improv comedy is the pursuit of never-before-seen (never-seen-again!) on-the-spot story-telling.  Improv comedy includes character creation, scene-building, and just overall fun-having.  Successful improv comedy relies on collaborative listening, building patterns, following the fun,  and, even, revealing shared truths.  

Improv is important for so many reasons: offering ways to discover things you didn’t know you were capable of, a generative space for imagination, and a community for sharing in joy.  

2. Who are some of your comedic influences? 

I’m a big fan of Molly Shannon and Kathryn Hahn. I love their character-driven goofiness and the savviness of their humor. My comedic influences also include Loony Toons and Monty  Python (I always think about the cheese shop sketch). I’m inspired by my teacher, Elana Fishbein, my Dad’s dry timing, and – always – by the students that I teach.  

3. What do you like about improvisation? 

Improv is the best. Something that I particularly love is that there is something for everyone in an improv class: improv is fabulously accessible, and, at its core, improvisation is about surprising yourself with exciting ideas and supporting your scene partner.  

If you love to share what you’re thinking, or you’re shy about sharing in general, improv is for you. If you like to imitate funny voices or you like to pretend you’re someone you’re not, improv is for you. If you’re not sure what improv is, or you’ve been dying to give it a whirl, improv is for you! 

4. How can we use improv in our everyday lives? 

My experience in improv has fundamentally changed the way I problem-solve. Improv never fails to re-remind me that the best creative work is done with others and that pursuing comedy comes from curiosity, respect, and contributing with enthusiasm.  

Improv is fundamentally a language for teamwork: promoting flexibility, accepting ideas, and striving towards a collective goal of unfurling a mutually created story. The practice of improv provides structures for story-telling, opportunities to find levity in tough places, and the tools to turn creative impulses into concrete tales. 

Simply, improv can make navigating the world a little bit lighter, a lot clearer, and definitely,  more interesting.  

5. What makes you laugh?

Watching performers authentically following their impulses in reaction to The Unexpected makes me laugh. My friends make me laugh, too, but don’t tell them I said that. I also love Meg  Stalter’s wayward characters, the TV show Pen15, and the TikToks of babies realizing that certain foods exist. (Puns are my guilty pleasure.) 

6. What can students expect from your upcoming "Free Intro to Improv" class? 

My classes with Lessonface all center around exploring the potential of imagination and the process of learning to express creativity with a group.  

You can expect a class that anyone can jump into with no experience needed. 

We’ll be spending class doing a combination of warm-ups, improv exercises, and improv games that explore the improv fundamentals. We’ll be discovering new characters, developing ways of generating stories, and digging into what makes a great improv scene tick.  

Expect lots of laughter and many new things to learn. I hope students come away with confidence performing in front of others, different tools to jump into an improv scene, and new ways to share exciting and silly ideas. 

Check Out Our Upcoming Comedy Classes

Join us in October for new comedy classes taught by the talented Amara Leonard and podcast writer and comedian Louie Pearlman, who we interviewed here!

Sign up for comedy classes with Amara Leonard and other exciting pro comedians:

Improv for Kids
Create Your Own Podcasts
Writing Comedic Characters
Just For Laughs


Amara is a comedian, actor, and teacher hailing from Princeton, New Jersey. She studied Theatre at Northwestern University and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. She cares about thoughtful, imaginative, and accessible programming of improv comedy.

>> Book a lesson with Amara Leonard

About Lessonface, PBC

Lessonface's mission is to help students achieve their goals while treating teachers equitably. Since 2013, we've hosted more than 20,000 students and 2,000 teachers for live music, language, and arts lessons and classes online.

Stand Up Comedy
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