Kurt Vonnegut Explains Why Improv Will Improve Your Life

Kurt Vonnegut, American literature’s cool uncle, said the following during his commencement address to Fredonia College (New York) on May 20, 1978. He is, without realizing it quite, talking about how doing improv will 100% improve your life, guaranteed

No matter what age any of us is now, we are going to be bored and lonely during what remains of our lives.

We are so lonely because we don’t have enough friends and relatives. Human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more.

Your class spokesperson mourned the collapse of the institution of marriage in this country. Marriage is collapsing because our families are too small. A man cannot be a whole society to a woman, and a woman cannot be a whole society to a man. We try, but it is scarcely surprising that so many of us go to pieces.

So I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.

Do yourself a favor—even if Vonnegut’s fiction never quite hooked you (though, if that’s the case, you’re probably just not 30 yeas old yet)—and grab If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young, a collection of Vonnegut’s various commencement addresses. 

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