Improv 101 — Party Quirks

One of the more well-known games among the general community, Party Quirks allows improvisers to impersonate and act as a specific thing rather than coming up with a character in a specific scene. Party Quirks stands somewhat in a gray area between “hoops games” and “scene games”, because a scene is happening, but the focus is the hoop. I personally would categorize it as a hoop game because unlike in most scene games, you don’t have to establish CROW in this game; it’s already given to you.

Just like the Dating Game, Party Quirks gives three specific characters (or characteristics) to three different improvisers, and a fourth person has to figure out who everyone is. The biggest difference here is that rather than having the ‘impersonators’ answer questions, as in The Dating Game, they are all at the host’s party, interacting with each other and the scene around them as the host tries to figure out what’s going on.

The typical setup is this: after having the host leave for a while and taking audience suggestions on who the three impersonators will be, the scene begins and the host sets up a party (whose theme is up to the host). One by one, the impersonators arrive, knocking on a pantomimed door and are greeted by the host. They arrive in the order of suggestions that were taken: real person (historical or celebrity, typically), fictional character, and then the third person to arrive often has an “ailment”. They appear in this order so that the host knows something about each character right off the bat, and can therefore put the pieces together rather than try to figure out who everybody is based off anything in the universe. For “ailment”, this is typically a simple rule that the host must figure out, such as “Sneezes every time they touch somebody” or “Laughs uncontrollably when somebody asks a question”. (Another thing to keep in mind is the host of the party. Make sure you grab suggestions of people that they are at least familiar with, otherwise they will never figure it out.)

As the host figures out who each impersonator is, they tell them to leave. For example, when a person playing as Oprah says something that the host connects to that specific person, the host will say something like “Don’t you have a network to run? You’re way too busy and famous to be here!” (You don’t have to address them by name if it’s clear to your audience that you know who the impersonator is.

Eventually, the host will be left with one remaining impersonator, and if they are stumped as to who they may be, asking direct questions is allowed. It’s important for both people to remain in character, however. If they are left with the fictional character Courage the Cowardly Dog, the host may say “You’re not human, are you?”, to which ‘Courage’ may reply “Nope, but I’m always getting my humans out of trouble!” At this point, the game turns into a version of The Dating Game, but this shouldn’t last more than thirty seconds as the game is pretty much over. If they are still stumped, the ref can step in and help lead them to the right answer.

The success of this game is largely dependent on the impersonator’s ability to emulate their characters without being obvious. As time progresses, if the host is confused, you can be less and less subtle with your clues, but you should always stay in character.

2 thoughts on “Improv 101 — Party Quirks

  1. Ah, yes. Impersonating meat people. This is one of the things that I, as a fellow meat person, know very little about, since I am so obviously one of you. I mean us. I do not need to impersonate myself, as that would be silly. That is why this is a good game, because the absurd juxtaposition of familiar and foreign concepts is humorous. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

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    1. I had to make sure this wasn’t a snide comment to a typo I made… As a fellow human flesh bag, it is important to fit in. Because I, like you, am wholly, 100% human.

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