You can tell the age of an improviser by the references they make. You can tell the age of an audience by the jokes they don't/do get. And all of it can be hilarious.
There is an improv game called 'Chain Murder'. Off the Cuff plays this game with three or four people. One person stays on stage with the ref/host and the rest of them go outside/to a green room/to a sound proof booth. (Do you know anyone that actually has a sound proof booth? Introduce us. I have questions.)
The host/ref needs to get three suggestions from the audience. 1. Who died. 2. Where did they die. 3. What were they murdered with. The player left on stage is going to have to use gibberish and pantomime these suggestions to the next player, and then that player will pantomime......like telephone.
After all players have been back on stage, the ref will go through and ask the players who died and whatnot. Hilarity ensues when a player on stage misunderstands or DOES NOT understand the reference to the famous person who died.
In fact, just a few weeks ago, a player (Geoff) was pantomiming Katy Perry and the next player (Bald Nate) thought it was Nicki Minaj. This was particularly funny to the audience because Bald Nate was so confident in his Nicki Minaj thinking.
One of my personal favorite things is when someone on stage makes a reference to an early 90's or 80's movie and no one but OTC Comedy peeps and, like, one audience member laughs. It's especially funny when it happens to TJ and he calls himself out onstage. He will drop a reference, wait a beat through the confused quiet, and then say to his scene partner, "I guess no one has seen 'Better Off Dead'".
[Side Note: That was just an example. It's possible that TJ hasn't seen 'Better Off Dead'. Don't quiz him on it.]
It's also magical when the audience and the players are totally in sync with their pop culture knowledge. You can hear people in the audience getting excited because they know the TV show that is being discussed, or they understand the movie reference that just became a punchline, or Wendy goes on a beautifully detailed rant about 'One Tree Hill' and half the audience goes wild because they know EXACTLY WHAT SHE IS TALKING ABOUT.
These moments are treasures. Because we can laugh at what we have in common, we can laugh at the age gap, and we can laugh at the random journey that took us to that particular pop culture reference.
I love it. You know what? This whole discussion has put me in such a good mood, I say to hell with it! Go quiz TJ about 'Better Off Dead'.
Side Note from TJ: Luckily, I love Better Off Dead!