Yes, And

One of the main principles of improvisational comedy is “yes, and…

There’s no script in improv. If you’re on stage and someone says something, you agree with them and build on what they have said. If someone remarks about the (imaginary) hat that you’re wearing you accept the idea they have introduced and build on it.

How remarkable, I’ve never seen a hat like that before!

Yes, it was my grandfather’s he made it himself-

-he sewed a great mass of tentacles on to the brim?

Yes, and it’s very comfortable, would you like to try it on?

Scene! (that’s quite enough of that!!)


While the viva might not be a time for laughing and joking, the principle of “yes, and” – of accepting and building on what has come before – is definitely part of the discussion you’re going to have.

Your examiners will ask questions and your job is to engage. You say yes to the question and then build on the discussion with your words.

It’s not about saying yes to every comment, or agreeing with every point: you say yes rather than try to divert. You say yes and engage rather than try to evade the topic or displace it with something you’d rather talk about.

In the viva your main responsibility is to engage with whatever questions your examiners ask. Say yes to their questions and then share your thoughts to give them what they need to help you pass.