I'm one of the most introverted people you will ever meet (side note: I'm not shy, so don't tell me to come out of my fucking shell). When I took the Meyers-Briggs personality test in college my scores were so introverted that I nearly broke the test. I don't like talking to people. I don't like sharing my feelings. If we ever share an elevator ride it will be quiet and slightly awkward. Yet I love improv. And I'm pretty good at it. And after stopping to think about it for a minute (because that's what introverts do) I noticed something: A lot of improvisers are introverts.
How can that be? How can something as risky and vulnerable as improv be so attractive to introverts? Not only are introverts seemingly attracted to improv, but they also tend to be pretty darn good at it too. Why? You know, because getting on stage and making something up from scratch in front of a room full of people seems like such a natural introvert thing to do. But if you really think about it (because introverts like to think about things...especially things that they've already thought about), it sort of makes sense.
So, have I solved the mystery of the introverted improviser? Probably not. But the world makes a little more sense to me now. Okay, time to go sit alone for a bit.
Matt Fotis is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Albright College. He is the author of Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy - The Harold, The Comedy Improv Handbook, and "My Fragile Family Tree: Stories of Fathers & Sons."