In the spirit of improvisational comedy’s “yes, and” method of developing a scene: Yes, “Don’t Think Twice” is one of the best films of the year. And it’s an unusually delicate movie about the brutal business of being funny for a living.

Slight, compact but extremely sharp, writer-director-star Mike Birbiglia’s film concerns the members of a fictitious troupe, The Commune, plainly modeled on Second City. Birbiglia’s script, apt in its details and behavioral quirks, generates just enough narrative conflict for the whole thing to not float away. At 36 and sleeping, perfunctorily, with a steady stream of his improv students, Miles (Birbiglia) once came “within inches” of landing a job on “Weekend Live,” which is plainly “Saturday Night Live” by another name. The hungriest Commune member is Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), whose girlfriend, Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), more wary of the next step, is also in the troupe.

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After a couple of “Weekend Live” cast members pop up at one of The Commune’s shows, some of the members get hired by the TV show. Meantime, the troupe is getting evicted; their Brooklyn storefront is about to become an Urban Outfitters. One of the performers, doggedly insecure Bill (the wonderful Chris Gethard), copes with a family crisis.

Working various day jobs and nursing varying degrees of disappointment, the ensemble members support each other even as times grow tougher and more bittersweet. Like improv itself, “Don’t Think Twice” is all about the tightrope straddling generous and selfish comic instincts, as well as the one spanning the gorge of potential failure, night after night.

Birbiglia’s film has its facile moments, and a climactic onstage reunion between two of the key characters belongs to a slightly less good movie about this particular subject. But in this summer of superheroes, sequels and reboots, “Don’t Think Twice” is a charming comedy about real people challenging themselves to create new realities for laughs and a little truth, one made-up scene at a time.