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EP24: How to Improvise Your Way to Intimacy w/Scott Braidman

 “I was actually able to be myself, to talk about the things that I wanted to talk about, to express feelings as they occurred, to be positive, and not feel like I was constantly bracing for the shot to come out of somewhere.“ Scott Braidman

In this week's episode of Expansive Intimacy with Jim Young is joined by Scott Braidman, improv comedian and Artistic Director of Happier Valley Comedy. Among the topics they explore are the critical role played by presence, some challenging patterns in boyhood friendships, the delicate interplay between performers and audiences, and the art of giving and receiving feedback.

The Critical Role of Presence

The first deep dive in this week's episode is into the transformative nature of presence. Scott helps to shed light on the profound impact these elements have on our relationships, professional endeavors, and our ability to create more intimate connections in our lives.

One of the keys Scott has found for creating this kind of impact is presence:

"When the show ends, it feels like we've all just had this moment where, ideally, all of the other things that I mentioned at the beginning of our conversation that pull you out of presence, all those things have been put aside for an hour and we've all experienced something and created something together."

Why Boyhood Friendships Can Drive You Nuts

Scott and Jim also connected around some of the darker elements of the immature dynamics that are common to boyhood friendships and how they can set in place patterns that pull men away from the kind of close relationships we need throughout life.

"We were either focused on a third thing, like a video game or something, or we were sort of ragging on each other or collectively ragging on something or someone else. And it's funny for me to think of this now, but the most common pastime that we had was trying to surprise each other by hitting each other in the nuts."

The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Reflecting on his role as a coach to other improv performers, Scott also explores the complexities of giving feedback in different contexts.

For example, when providing feedback to a romantic partner, his priority is to be honest and express genuine emotions. However, when working with performers, he emphasizes the importance of offering feedback in a way that supports growth and development rather than providing the entire unfiltered truth. In both of these ways, Scott finds ways to build trust and intimacy.

The Never Ending Interplay with Audiences

Scott also delves into the far-reaching applications of presence and flexibility in various settings beyond the theater. He explains that just as improv actors need to be responsive to the audience's energy and adapt to unfolding scenarios, leaders and professionals can draw lessons from this artistic approach. In business and leadership, being present and adaptable allows one to observe people's reactions, make adjustments, and, if needed, change the agenda to create a more engaging and productive environment.

"In an improv show, the energy and interplay between the audience and the performers shape the story. This dynamic of being present and responsive also applies to leadership and business. By observing reactions, making adjustments, and potentially changing the agenda, we create a space where everyone feels seen and valued."

Through his insightful reflections, Scott Braidman challenges us to embrace presence, exercise emotional honesty, and understand the impact of feedback in our personal and professional lives.

As we navigate the intricacies of relationships, cultivate our artistic endeavors, or lead teams, the lessons learned from improv theater leave an indelible mark on our journey towards greater intimacy and growth.


Jim Young shares new episodes of the Expansive Intimacy podcast each week as part of his quest to help men discover how to apply intimacy to unlock new, expansive versions of success in your relationships, your work, and your life.

If you like what we're talking about on the show, would you consider sharing it with someone important in your life who might also appreciate it?

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The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.


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