May 29, 2008

Help Support Local Improv

Kansas City's Magazine Best of 2008. Voting ends today!!

Vote now for The Trip Fives and the Westport Coffeehouse Theater.

Westport Coffeehouse is nominated for Best Live Theater.

The Trip Fives are nominated for Best Performing Group.

May 28, 2008

Improv-Abilities Chicago Improv Festival News

Improv-Abilities was selected to be an apprentice team in the Chicago Improv Festival this year. They will be paired up with a coach all weekend, culminating in a show on Saturday night. Their coach will be Jesse Parent. Improv-Abilities is truly lucky to be paired up with such an exciting teacher and improv veteran.

Jesse Parent at Myspace

May 27, 2008

Improv Blogger Topic For May

Over at, the vote was close, but the winning topic was:

Warm-ups before an improv show: Good, Bad, or Indifferent?

Click on through the Kansas City Improv Bloggers on the right to see the overall consensus.

We here at Kansas City Improv want to remind you to wear the proper warm-up gear:

May 23, 2008

GOB Bluth's Tomb Illusion is in Kansas City

Thanks to the people at for posting about this.

In May 2006, after canceling Arrested Development, Twentieth Century Fox Television auctioned props from the show at the "Bluth Family Estate Sale," organized by Estate Sales Los Angeles. According to The Associated Press, Scott Hurst, 30, of Los Angeles bought The Aztec Tomb at the auction for $450, but flipped it on eBay with a starting bid of $999.99. The Apiary tracked down the winning bidder, Andrew Ralls of Kansas City, who paid roughly $1,700 (plus $400 for shipping). Since the purchase, Ralls says he has been interviewed by Neil Lieberman and Jeff Smith, two filmmakers who are producing a documentary about Arrested Development fans.

Ralls and friends ring in New Year's 2007 with The Aztec Tomb

Kansas City Native: Rob Riggle

You may have seen him on SNL during the 2004-2005 season, or maybe on The Office, heck, you might have even seen him on Arrested Development. However, right now, you know him from his anchorman persona on The Daily Show. Rob Riggle is flat out funny. But here is some great trivia. Rob Riggle was raised right here in Kansas City, he attended Shawnee Mission South High School and The University of Kansas.

May 21, 2008

Kansas City linked to Chicago Improv Festival

We were looking through some of the groups that are going to be performing at this years Chicago Improv Festival and a funny thing occurred to us. The Kansas City Improv community is connected to the festival more than we thought. Looking through the photos you will see:

Bassprov: Featuring Joe Bill and Mark Sutton, instructors and performers in several Kansas City Improv Festivals. Mark Sutton often teaches improv to the Exit 16 high school improv troupe on their trips to Chicago.

Children of a Lesser God: Featuring Susan Messing, who regularly teaches improv to the Exit 16 high school improv troupe on their trips to Chicago

Drum Machine: Featuring Jill Bernard, Instructor and Performer at the 7th and 8th Kansas City Improv Festival, and overall great friend to the Kansas City Improv community.

JTS Brown reunion show: Featuring Kansas City Improv natives Jason Sudeikis and Ed Goodman

Revolver: Featuring Kansas City Improv Native Ryan Dolan

Scram: Featuring Joe Bill and Jill Bernard. This photo was taken at last years Kansas City Improv Festival by the wonderful improv photographer Chris Thomas

and of course, Kansas City's very own, Improv-Abilities. Chosen to be an apprentice team at this years Chicago Improv Festival.

May 20, 2008

Photo Recaps

Sunday was the Kickball tournament fundraiser for 8:KCiF. Money was raised, fun was had, here is the proof:

Monday night, the lovely, and talented Jared Brustad led a free longform practice session at The Westport Coffeehouse. No money was exchanged, fun was had, here is the proof:

May 19, 2008

Did we mention this already?

8: Kansas City Improv Festival

National weekend:

Shows Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5-6 (All shows at Union Station's City Stage)
Workshops Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-7 (Instructors and venue to be announced soon)

—Der Monkenpickel, with SNL's Jason Sudekis, Jeremy Carter, Ed Goodman, Corey Rittmaster, and Eric Davis.
—Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show, with 30 Rock writer Kay Cannon, Jeff Drake, Tim Mason, Erin McEvoy, Wendy Molyneux and Dan Walsh.
—AND Jill Bernard's DRUM MACHINE.

Local weekend:

Shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12-14 (All shows at Union Station's City Stage)
Performing troupes to be announced.

**8: KCiF is an invitational; no applications are being accepted for performers or workshops at this time. But if you're a professional troupe in Kansas City and you think that we might not know about you, please e-mail us.

For more information visit
Facebook 8:KCiF

May 15, 2008

A History: Improv-Abilities

Since 2000, Improv-Abilities has had continued growth and success. Recently, they were invited to the Chicago Improv Festival. Here is their brief history as written by Keith:

I am not in charge of this group, nor have I ever been. However, I am one of the first members. So, I will do my best!

I met Mr. Jim Montemeyer at Sylvester Powell Junior Community Center. We were playing basketball and my friend who was working with him at the time told me to talk to him about improv. This was around the time that I stopped taking the classes at Comedy Sportz which was still in the Deleware location. So, my friend knew that I was interested.

Me and Jim talked and he said to me that he was going to hold auditions for a group and the name would be Improv-Abilities, hyphen and all. Months had passed and I had never heard from him, so I began to bug him......monthly. I would call him and ask him how the process was going and he would say slow, and that he would call me. (Clearly I was beginning to annoy him)

More months passed and he finally called me and told me that auditions were being held in Feb. of 2000.

When I arrived, there were a total of 5 people. Jim, his wife Karen, myself, Aron (who is still in the group), and a guy named Matt.

I-A was born. We began rehearsing Tuesday nights and Jim would teach us everything he knew about improv. A good 9 months passed and we had our first show. At this point we expanded in group size and our show was in the basement of a church that Jim and Karen attended. It was sold out, and it was exciting.

The format for our show was a game show, but pretty much the same thing as comedy sportz. Two teams, lots of short form games, and a host.

Soon Karen got pregnant, and Jim had to quit. This was the summer of 03 I think. Tim Marks, and Aron Carlson took over as owners of the group and things began to take off. Immediately we had monthly shows at The Lucky Brewgrille.

In the summer of 05 we did our first Comedy Festival in Dallas, TX. We learned a lot there! Around that same time The Improv in Zona Rosa booked us for a few test shows, and then suddenly we had 2-3 shows a month with a bunch of private gigs in between.

The private gigs kept pouring in, and our cast is up to the even number of 12 members who are all very funny and talented. During 06 we started venturing into guerrilla improv, much like Improv Everywhere.

I have no idea what is in store for us as a group, because we have been flying by the seat of our pants for the past 2 years as things continue to take off.

If anyone from I-A wants to add anything feel free, I did the best I could. Can't wait for Chicago!

May 14, 2008

Caught On Camera

Photo from May 13th, 2008. Exit 16's final show from their 2007-2008 season. Congratulations to the longest running High School Improv Troupe in town.

May 13, 2008

Festival Fundraiser #2

4 workshops from 8 local Improvisers

June 1: John Robison and Keith Curtis (Roving Imp) “Creating & Developing Memorable Characters”

June 8: Ed Doris and Jared Brustad (The Trip Fives) “Becoming Comfortable With Longform Improvisation”

June 22: Aron Carlson and Tim Marks (Improv-Abilities) “Basic Improv Scenework and Relationships”

June 29: Pete Calderone and Trish Berrong (Tantrum) “Create Your Own Longform”

Every Sunday


@ The Roving Imp Theater

115 Oak St., Bonner Springs, KS 66012

Pricing Info: 20 dollars per class or 75 dollars for all 4 classes

To sign up please send an email to

Include the classes you would like to take and a phone number

For more info about the classes click HERE

May 12, 2008

Blog Roll Call

Trish Berrong was lucky enough to see the grand opening of Second City E.T.C's Campaign Supernova starring Kansas City Native Tim Mason.

Pete Calderone coordinated a make your own mix tape.

Caroline Donnelly writes an article featured on

May 9, 2008

A History: The Trip Fives

The history of the improv groupThe Trip Fives, as told by Jared Brustad.

The tale of the Trip Fives...

We've probably got more history together than any other troupe in town.

Jenny and I went to Cherokee Elementary together parted by only one year. There we both performed separately in annual talent shows, putting on skits that were truly the toast of the school.

Cut to the 8th grade at Westridge Middle School where Ed and Bryan sit in the lunchroom together showing each other Marvel drawings that they've done. Jenny was also there, but didn't give two flips about Bryan and Ed because, well, she did know them. I attended Westridge the previous two years but it is irrelevant to the story. Tim had yet to be born.

Then came high school. Jenny, Bryan and myself attended Shawnee Mission West. Tim, being born post maturely, and Ed attended Shawnee Mission Northwest. All five of us competed against each other at some point in the 4 years in forensics, mainly in IDA (Improvised Duet Acting) and HI (Humorous Interpretation), both at weekly tournaments and at State.

A year after I graduated H.S., I auditioned for Lighten Up. Ed and Tim were already performing there during their senior year at Northwest. Not too long after, Jenny and Bryan joined and we all performed in LightenUp's Theatre Sports. Aside from performing together, we all hung out together, all the time. Some of us shared an apartment. We even witnessed a homicide together*. So we've all been through a lot together.

Back to Improv, after Lighten Up turned into Funny Outfit, the age-gap presented itself. The majority of the older cast didn't want to perform with a majority of the younger cast, so we split weekend shows. The "younger group" experimented with creating longform pieces that fit our energy and style. We came up with Too Hot for TV, a longform structure that loosely resembled a Jerry Springer show. We even performed this piece at the last festival.

After Funny Outfit was over. People went their own ways. Jenny, I believe moved to California, Bryan went back to college, and Ed, Tim and I continued with improv and eventually started BareTV (with a little encouragement from Tom, owner of the Westport Coffeehouse. BareTV was an improvised Internet Mock show. It lasted around 20-some episodes, and I don't want to talk about it anymore. I didn't mention Captain Fantastic Presents for other reasons.

Moving on, Ed joins the Air Force. Jared gets married and has a child. Tim goes back to school. Bryan has a very respectable Job. Jenny moves back and gets married as well. Bad-boom bada-bing, Ed's 4 years are spent, moves back and gets an itching to do some improv. Trish gets him involved with Steve who directed Act Two, Baby! and gets Ed's feet wet again. Ed wants to do more, and yearns to perform with the old gang again.

Ed contacted Tim, Bryan & myself about it. We all said yes. A few bad name ideas later The Mantastic 4 & Two Beard and Not Two Beard we decided that, knowing ourselves very well, it would be best to avoid any man-on-man-gay-scene-action. In comes Jenny. The rest is history, or the future**, I'm not sure.

There Ed, are you happy?

*After a show at the Westport Coffeehouse, we all gathered at a small dive-bar called BJ's Lounge in Westport. At some point a masked gunman came in and tried to hold up the bartender. Two drunks at the end of the bar tried to wrestle the gun away from the perp. At this moment everyone in the bar could see what was happening and everyone hit the floor. Gun goes off. Masked man runs out of bar. Drunk woman lays dead over chair. What a night.

**Since Jared typed this, Bryan has moved away to Denver, Jenny had a baby, but is back in the group, and they added the talented Megan Mercer. The future is bright.

May 7, 2008

Video: TommyandKeith

Tommy and Keith are Kansas City improv veterans who started dabbling in video sketches last year. Here is their latest installment:

More Tommy and Keith videos can be found HERE.

Kansas City Native: Ryan Dolan

Ryan Dolan is another in a long list of local Kansas Citians who have gone on to bigger and better venues than Kansas City has to offer. First it was Chicago, where he was the box office manager at Second City , then it was off to Boston, where he wrote and performed for Improv Asylum. Now, he is back in Chicago, and he is playing on one of the best improv teams at Improv Olympic called, Revolver. Not only that, but Revolver has been selected to participate in this years ChicagoImprov Festival on the mainstage. Congratulations Ryan.

Last year Ryan came and taught some fabulous workshops by himself, and with a few of his Revolver teammates. If and when he comes back to teach, we will definitely let you know.

May 6, 2008

The Return of Improv Fight Club

Last year organized a monthly Improv Fight Club. Where, improvisers show up, play, and then leave. There is no discussion, no critiquing, it is just a place to play and have fun. It fizzled out after we lost our empty warehouse venue to a buyer.

Last night, Improv Fight Club returned to Roving Imp Theater. In fact, Improv Fight Club will be held there every first Monday. No improv experience is necessary, all over 18 are welcome. Hope to see you there.

Improv Fight Club
Roving Imp Theater
7-9pm every first Monday

May 5, 2008

Cool News: Improv-Abilities is going to Chicago

Improv-Abilities has been selected as an apprentice team at the Chicago Improv Festival this year. Only 8 teams are selected for this special event. But you might be asking, what is an apprentice team? An apprentice team is a team who shows great potential, and therefor, the Festival Committee will pair the team up with a coach for 3-6 hours a day, for 2 days, culminating in a performance on Saturday June 7th, with all of the other apprentice teams. On top of that, each apprentice team will be a part of a question and answer session with some of improv's greatest marketing and business gurus. The contacts, knowledge, and the training that Improv-Abilities will receive from the greatest Improv Festival in the world will be a huge boost for the growing improv community here in Kansas City.

When we learn of who their coach will be, we will definitely let you know.

Congratulations Improv-Abilities.

May 2, 2008

Spotlight: Improv Venues

There are two venues in Kansas City dedicated to improv.

Comedy City in downtown Kansas City has been there for over 20 years and has as much history as it has funny.

Roving Imp in downtown Bonner Springs is just over a year old and has huge potential. As of now, Roving Imp is the only venue that provides regular improv classes.

Every weekend there is some form of improv going on at these clubs. Click on their links to find out more.

May 1, 2008

What does all this mean?

For the past few days we have been focusing on Trish Berrong. If you are involved in improv in Kansas City, and you don't know her, then get to know She can coach, direct, play, inspire, and pass on huge nuggets of improv wisdom.

But, what does all this mean?

There is an all-new improv show on the historic square in Liberty…featuring Fakers (aka Improv Thunderdome finalists Scriptease) and Piddle, KC’s newest improv troupe.

The members of Fakers got their start in the highly touted Liberty High School troupe, Exit 16. Since graduating, they've become some of the most promising young improvisers in the Kansas City area.

Fakers made it to the KC Improv Thunderdome Finals with their signature piece, The Disaster Epic. A seemingly mundane news story turns into an instrument of the apocalypse in an abridged disaster film styling. Fakers guarantees this fast-paced, audience-friendly piece will keep viewers on the edges of their seats—praying for salvation from whatever the crowd sees fit to throw into the mix.

Fakers is Rene Boudreaux, Drew Davidson, Clay Ingram and Tommy Todd.

And don’t miss the debut of Piddle. Ex-Exit 16ers Eric Kirk, Katie Liseo and Drew Davidson (again) take improv back to basics. It’s all about the funny.

Saturday, May 3rd
Corbin Theater

Remember, none of this could be possible without Trish Berrong. Congratulations to Liberty High School for corralling her talent.