What Are You Doing?

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"What Are You Doing?" is a widely-used shortform improv game. It is often played in ComedySportz matches.


"What Are You Doing" uses a structure of two competing improvisers. One player "initiates" the game by doing a random motion. It can be anything: waving your arms around wildly or miming a vaccuum. The opposing player then asks the first player, "what are you doing?"

The first player then respondes to this question with an activity or feeling that has nothing to do with whatever he/she was just doing. For example, if Player 1 was miming a vaccuum, he/she would have to say that she was "milking a cow," or "flying a kite." It can be anything but "vaccumming." It is very important than Player 1 only says he/she is milking a cow. He/She shouldn't do it as he says it. Player 1 can simply stop his/her action and respond with his/her answer. Player 2 will then begin doing the action that Player 1 claimed to be doing.

How you "get out"

As this is a "head-to-head" game, there is a winning and a losing improviser each round. Ways to get out or lose are:

  • Hesistating on your response or action. (See Disallowing "I'm" below)
  • Repeating anything that another player has already said. (Ex: eating a sandwich, then making a sandwich).
  • Giving a response that corresponds with the action a player is doing.
  • Speaking incoherently (Ex: "Me go to house..." Tarzan-esque)


  • Everything should be both physical and verbal. It's as if you're doing your own mini-scene.
  • Everything should be big. Take your choices to a 10.
  • Don't hesitate. The goofier you look up there, the better it is for the audience.


There are several additions that can be played with this game.

Category round

Everything in the round must relate to a specific category. Examples are "barnyard," "Seaworld," or "Doctor's Office." This can also be played with movie plots. A ref will ask that everything in the round relate to the plot of a movie.

Rhyming round

One word spoken by the player must rhyme with a suggestion from the audience. Easy, one-syllable words are often used.

Letter round

A letter of the alphabet is suggested by the audience, and players must use one word in their answers that starts with that letter. Multiple letters can be taken as well. A variation of this round involves using the alphabet. Players scroll through the alphabet with their responses. The first player could say "eating an apple," and then the second player could say "fighting a bear."

Disallowing "I'm"

The word "I'm" is often used as a hesistation by players in this game. Instead of jumping straight into their response, players often pause with "Iiiiiiii'mmmm.... milking a cow" so they can have enough time to think of an answer. Refs will sometimes prohibit this in the game, and call players out for hesitating this way. This is a more advanced version of the game.

See also