The Last LAF

All Good Things Must Come to an End This is the most difficult post I've had to write and coincidentally, it will also be my last. Today marks a day I was never convinced would come. Today, LAFS is two years old. It has been an incredible two years, absolutely incredible filled with more excitement, laughter, awe and humility than I could have ever dreamed. However, today is bittersweet, because today is Read More

INTERVIEW: Charna Halpern

The Mother of Improv Comedy I first fell in love with improv at iO's Clark Street location. iO changed my life, but my story is not unlike many others. Charna created a world at iO that many call "home" and it has become the center of their universe. Charna Halpern is one of the most influential people in improv, has paved the path for hundreds of comedians over the last few Read More

INTERVIEW: Matt Besser

Focus on the Game. Matt Besser is one of the founding members of Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). UCB started as a Chicago-based improv team composed of Besser, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Amy Poehler and has transformed into a well-known comedy establishment in New York City and Los Angeles. These folks not only formed UCB but Besser, Roberts, Walsh and friends regularly perform together as ASSSSCAT. ASSSSCAT will be performing, with a Read More

INTERVIEW: Dan Bakkedahl

Just make a choice. Dan Bakkedahl has made his mark on Chicago's comedy scene. Coming up in the late 90s and early 2000s, Dan spent a lot of time at iO and Second City. Since his departure, you may have seen him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Community, Veep, Legit or a number of other television appearances. He was also in The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa Read More

INTERVIEW: Carisa Barreca

Do everything, because you’re going to need all of it. I am declaring Carisa Barreca Second City's sweetheart. One of the most beautiful, talented, kind and humble ladies I have ever met, Carisa has a heart of gold and nothing but good intentions. With a lifetime of performance background, she can do just about anything you throw at her. I was so lucky to be able to sit down with Read More

INTERVIEW: Scott Adsit and John Lutz

Hitting Your Mark in Hollywood Thanks to Aren Zolninger from Chicago Improv Productions, I was able to sneak in a few minutes to interview Scott Adsit and John Lutz before they took the stage for their "Super Secret" midnight show at Stage 773. As we were waiting for the show ahead of us to clear out, Scott, John and I stepped into a back hallway with CIP staff and a Read More

INTERVIEW: Tim Baltz

If you’re not listening, you’re going to miss the joke. After months of trying to nail down both of our schedules after Tim left Second City's Mainstage, I was finally able to meet up with him to talk life and comedy. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim last Fall at Jimmy Carrane's Improv Nerd and for obvious reasons, I was dead set on interviewing him. Tim is extremely passionate Read More

INTERVIEW: Ted Tremper

Just love what you love and let that be the work that you do. It was a true pleasure interviewing Ted, as I have an incredible amount of respect for him as a person, performer and filmmaker. He's so talented and is such a genuinely kind human being. We met at iO on a late November morning and, truth be told, divulged a great deal of personal details, some of which Read More

INTERVIEW: TJ Jagodowski

I am truly the luckiest person I know. TJ Jagodowski is not only one of the most brilliant improvisers I have ever seen, he's also one of the nicest guys I've ever met. I've bumped into TJ a number of times around iO, but it wasn't until the end of October where I had the pleasure of taking a class taught by him. This man is a poet and every Read More

INTERVIEW: Jet Eveleth

Dream big and then do it. I met Jet at her apartment where she lives with her improviser beau, Brett Elam and his sister Erica. We chatted about where her name came from, some of life’s big questions, drinking sake before bed to live longer and then she told me the details of the secret she’s been keeping from everyone for the last two years… Alright Jet, the first thing I Read More

WRITTEN: Poking a Dead Frog

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Top Notch Advice from Your Favorite Comedy Writers

Poking A Dead FrogIn 2009, author Mike Sacks sat down with 21 comedy writers to talk about the industry with his book, And Here’s the Kicker. Now, he’s back at it with Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy WritersSacks recruited a laundry list of A-listers including Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt, Amy Poehler and Mel Brooks to talk about the world of comedy. Read More

WRITTEN: Mick Napier’s Blog

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Years of Insight Just A Click Away

Mick-NapierIt’s finally happened. Mick Napier has started a blog and it’s loaded with advice and insight that we’ve all been waiting for. This man is an icon and artistic genius, so listen to what he has to say. Thanks Mick!

WRITTEN: Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual

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Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual

The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation ManualThe Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual is a comprehensive guide to the UCB style of long form comedy improvisation. Written by UCB founding members Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, the manual covers everything from the basics of two person scene work (with a heavy emphasis on finding “the game” of the scene), to the complexities of working within an ensemble to perform long form structures, such as “The Harold” and “The Movie”. Read More

WRITTEN: Guru: My Days with Del Close by Jeff Griggs

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GURU: My Days with Del Close By Jeff Griggs

GuruA legend of improvisational theater, Del Close is best known for discovering and cultivating the talents of John Belushi, Chris Farley, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers, and countless other comedy giants. He was resident director of Chicago’s famed Second City and “house metaphysician” for “Saturday Night Live,” a talent in his own right, and one of the brightest and wackiest theater gurus ever. Jeff Griggs was a student of Close’s at the ImprovOlympic in Chicago when he was asked to help the aging mentor (often in ill health) by driving him around the city on his weekly errands. The two developed a volatile friendship that shocked, angered, and amused both of them—and produced this hilarious and ultimately endearing chronicle of Close’s last years. With all the elements of a picaresque novel, Guru captures Close at his zaniest but also shows him in theatrical situations that confirm his genius in conceptualizing and directing improvisational theater.

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WRITTEN: The Art in Truth in Comedy by Charna Halpern and Del Close

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The Art in Truth in Comedy by Charna Halpern and Del Close

This improv manual introduced the concepts of the “Harold” — the innovative improvisational tool that helped Saturday Night Live’s Mike Myers, Chris Farley, George Wendt, and many others on the road to TV and film stardom. The innovative concepts are described fully in this insightful theatre book that has become the bible for wannabe improvisers. Read More