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Ad-lib means to speak or act off-the-cuff, i.e, without preparation. Impromptu is a good synonym for ad-lib.

Most large cities have at least one comedy troupe that performs ad-lib shows either regularly or occasionally. The performers in those troupes are my heroes. Truly. They are gods.

I can spend days preparing a speech and expend even longer rehearsing it, but still stumble horribly over my words. Yet these people come up with skits on the fly and rarely falter. Not never, but rarely.

Some politicians can also speak extemporaneously, while still somehow managing to sound intelligent and coherent. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll vote for them. Some of them do a very good job of ad-libbing total bullshit. And some of them, possibly the same politicians, do a good job of giving impromptu speeches in which I disagree with just about every word after, “Good evening and thanks for giving me the chance to speak to all of your good people tonight.”

I exaggerate. I may not disagree with every word after that. I’m usually good with, “Thank you and good night.”

Nevertheless, even when I vehemently disagree with a politician, I still admire his or her ability to speak articulately without notes.

I would kill to have that skill. But please don’t tell the authorities about that. I’d hate to be fingered as a suspect if a politician or someone in an ad-lib comedy troupe dies under suspicious circumstances.

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