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6 Ways Rob Gronkowski Can Stop Sucking at Improv Comedy

Time for a controversial, Earth-shattering opinion: athletes aren’t funny. With rare exceptions, jocks have no idea how to tell a joke, can’t time a punchline to save their life, and would probably respond to “Knock knock” with “I’m not here to talk about knocking, I’m here to focus on the next game and studying my opponent and trying to get my team a win.”

“The chicken crossed one road at a time, just like we take it one game at a time.”

Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots attempted to shatter that stereotype recently with an appearance on the hit TV show What Excuse Is It To Make Wayne Brady Sing and Dance Anyway? If any athlete could make a couple goofy routines work, it’s a wacky bastard like Gronk. After all, he makes funny faces!

Compared to 99% of his peers, he’s basically George Carlin.

The results weren’t all that good, but I do see potential. Once the injury-prone bastard trips over a pebble and shatters his femur in a few months, he’ll need a new line of work. Improv could be it. But to become the next big thing, he’ll need to up his game. Here are a few pointers from a guy who’s watched way more of the show than could ever be considered healthy.

Request More Interesting Games

The problem with this version of Whose Line (and the previous Drew Carey version) is that the games are too often directly tied to what the performers are best at. Wayne Brady can sing and dance, so he always sings and dances. Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie have oceans of chemistry, so they do just about every scene together. Those three performers appear in EVERY EPISODE TOO, with only one rotating member to round out the panel. Rarely does anybody perform a scene outside their comfort zone, and the result is a homogenized mess that gets real predictable, real fast.

So Gronk, being a fun-loving dude who likes to dance, got a sketch where he didn’t have to talk, but only dance. That’s duller than a 3000-year-old spoon they just dug up in the desert. If he had played a game that didn’t involve dancing, like Green Screen or Party Quirks or anything where he plays a woman, that would have way more unpredictable and entertaining.

Besides, something about him just screams “girly”.

If You’re Going to Dance, DANCE

Gronk needed to show he actually has some moves. What he did was more awkward than a drunken businessman at a wedding. He just kinda flapped his arms around and fist-pumped sometimes, rarely using those legs that I know exist, since he runs on them for a living.

Next time, he should go crazy. Do unexpected dances, like the Mashed Potato. Try the splits. Can he do that thing Michael Jackson did in “Smooth Criminal” where he leaned forward and then rose himself back up because he secretly had abs of steel? Even if he can’t, he ought to do it anyway. Hilarious failure is still hilarious and, last time I checked, “hilarity” is kind of the goal of improv comedy.

Just don’t twerk, Gronk. You’re too white for that. Find another way to make your booty go pop.

Don’t Stop to Think About What to Do Next. Just Do

I occasionally saw Gronk do total bupkis, standing there while clearly thinking about what to do next. That’s MURDER for improv, where the goal is to think fast and react even faster. Don’t worry about looking or sounding stupid — it’s Gronk, looking and sounding stupid is your forte — and just go. Break out another dance. Do falsetto backing vocals. Slap everybody’s asses like you do after every touchdown. Just do SOMETHING. Nothing is worse in improv than “nothing”.

Nobody Cares if You Bench Press a Skinny Dude a Couple Times

We get it Gronk, you’re big and strong. It’s how the guy makes money, after all. This ties back to how Whose Line caters way too much to the performers’ strengths, because Americans hate when their comedy is less-than-perfect or something. A muscular football player benching a 150-pound bag of skin three or four times is not impressive, because we all know he can do it. That’s like me benching a toddler.

The fault is more Wayne Brady’s than Gronk’s though, since Brady told him to do it. Rule #1 of improv is “go with the flow” and don’t reject something your partner says because it’ll ruin everything. So that was a good Gronk, but he could have at least made it interesting. Bench the dude a hundred times or something. After the first 40, it’d have been gut-busting, especially if the makeshift dumbbell puked all over the stage and nobody bothered to edit it out.

Bad Boob Jokes are Boring

Later on in the show, Gronk played a game with Ryan Stiles where Stiles cooked chicken breasts. The jock’s two major contributions were “I don’t eat chicken breasts, but I eat other kinds of breasts,” and “is that milk from those breasts I eat?”

SNOOOOOZE. It takes a special kind of anti-talent to make boob jokes not funny, and he nailed it. That’s not necessarily a good thing though — bad jokes only work if you have some actual good jokes to even them out. At least then we know the guy’s a jokey joker. Otherwise, he’s just a boob-obsessed caveman who probably still cackles at America’s Funniest Home Videos because it’s funny when old people fall down.

Beating Up Wayne Brady Was Good. Do It More

I may or may not be typing this article with one hand.

If Gronk follows my simple six-step guide, he’ll be well on his way to becoming an improv king (and annoying game show host slayer). Because right now, all I see is an awkward bro who couldn’t craft a funny dialogue if he directly plagiarized Bill Hicks (besides, that’s already been done). I expect better from a Gronk.

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