August 28, 2008

Improv in the Press

First The Pitch covers Improv at The Westport Coffeehouse:

Poke, Babel Fish and Improv Thunderdome This third round of Improv Thunderdome, the three-shows-for-one-cover comedy competition, should again demonstrate to Kansas City just how daring, diverse and unpredictable the art of improv can be. Go at 7 p.m., and you'll be treated to two of the best new troupes in town: Poke, the improvised duet between first-class performers Trish Berrong and Tommy Todd; and Babel Fish, Joe Henley and Nathan Stewart's brainy, allusive, theater-of-the-absurd spectacular, which feels like it should earn you college credit.

Then the Star covers it:

Scriptease, the winners of the second round of Thunderdome, are (from left) Rene Boudreaux, coach Rob Grabowski, Andrew Brant, Drew Davidson, Tommy Todd and Clayton Ingram.

The Improv Thunderdome 2.0 holds its third round Saturday at the Westport CoffeeHouse, 4010 Pennsylvania. The scheduled competitors are Burnin’ Sternums (Trish Berrong, Pete Calderone, Keith Curtis, Rob Grabowski and Nick Rigoli), Fluffer Nutter (Niffer Honeycutt and Jessica Robins) and Type O Positive (Jeremy Danner, Tricia Davenport, Timmy Marks, Ryan Seymour and John Robison).

The show begins at 9 p.m. The winning team will join Some Technical Difficulties and Scriptease in the finals Sept. 27.

Babel Fish (with Joe Henley, Nathan Stewart and guest Jared Brustad) and Poke (Berrong and Tommy Todd) will also do a show at 7 p.m.

Then, in the star's upcoming events list under Theater/Comedy:

Comedy City, Roving Imp, and Improv Thunderdome are all mentioned.

You want more information about all of these through the links on the right.

August 25, 2008

Cool News: Reporters investigating Kansas City Improv

We have heard from many improv insiders that The Kansas City Star has been interviewing numerous amounts of improv leaders throughout the community including but not limited to: Clancy Hathaway of Comedy City, John Robison of Roving Imp, Tina Morrison of Full Frontal Comedy, Jared Brustad of Improv Thunderdome and The Trip Fives, and Trish Berrong of Exit 16 and Tantrum. There have even been sightings of photographers at shows of those mentioned above. Sources say there is going to be a huge write-up about the improv community during the Festival. It might possibly even come out the Sunday after the national shows, in order to help sell tickets for the local shows the following weekend. Stay tuned, as soon as it is out, we will have a link here.

August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday: Full Frontal Comedy

Full Frontal Comedy started flashing their comedy in the fall of 1998. For the complete story click HERE.

Happy 10th Birthday Full Frontal!

Update: New Groups

Sure, they aren't that new of an improv group, but they finally have a web page we can link to.

Loaded Dice

Roving Imp is also not a new group/theater, but John Robison has been hard at work creating new groups within the Theater. Here are some samples:

Trivial Prov-suit
Dictionary Soup
Red Rubber Ball
Omega Directive

You can check out all of the groups websites by clicking on the links to the right to see performances and other updates.

August 21, 2008

Jason Sudeikis and family in the Kansas City Star

We promise, this blog is not just about Sudeikis, but it doesn't hurt that he is from Kansas City and he is driving the ticket sales for the upcoming Festival.

Check the article HERE

August 19, 2008

Jason Sudeikis in ESPN The Magazine

HERE is the Link

August 18, 2008


Funny Outfit 1999

If you have any photos, videos, links, or anything else Kansas City Improv related. Please email them to:


Tickets are selling fast for shows and workshops.


August 14, 2008

Cool News: Hype 7

Hype 7 went through some major transitions last year after the Kansas City Improv Festival. Many of their founding members left the group, and the rest were left to figure out what to do next. They continued rehearsing, putting on shows, and having fun together. But something was missing, and that something was a clear cut director for the group.

Recently we learned the talented Nifer Honeycutt has taken over Directing duties for Hype 7. They have lost a fantastic improviser, but they have gained a fantastic Director in return. This will surely help them in their future endeavors, and we here at Kansas City Improv cannot wait to see what the future holds for one of the oldest improv groups in town.

August 11, 2008

A History: Roving Imp Theater

The exciting conclusion to the history of the Roving Imp Theater straight from the fingers of John Robison:

The Imp Creation Story, Part 2:

I searched for an appropriate building for a long time. I looked in all parts of the city. My target area at the time was somewhere around 75th & 1-35. However, it soon became apparent that any type of commercial property in that area was going to be WAY out of my price range. I found a building I really liked that was just on the Kansas side of Westport. I loved the building. It was perfect. It was $400,000. The only building I was able to find that both had potential and was in my price range was on the main street of Bonner Springs, about 20-30 minutes west of Kansas City. However, I wasn’t able to reach a deal with the owner that we were both happy with.

So I decided to chill out for awhile. It was the beginning of November. My thinking was that if I waited until after the first of the year, the market would have changed enough that more buildings might be available for better prices. After a month, just after Thanksgiving, I got a call from the owner of the building in Bonner Springs, a man in his mid-60s originally from Italy. He said, “I haven’t heard from you… what’s going on, you don’t like foreigners?” I shot back, “Foreigners I’m OK with. It’s the Italians I’ve got problems with.” Within another two weeks we’d hammered out a deal. It turned out that time had done a lot of the negotiating for me, and it was a lot easier this time. The only real consideration at that point was that the building wasn’t in the center city. However, it did have two apartments connected, with potential space down below, so there was a guarantee of income. I decided to go ahead, reasoning that if you have a quality product, people will come to see it no matter where it is located. Also, Bonner Springs was something of a cultural void… ready for the planting of cultural seeds that will one day be ready for harvest. (By the way, so far, the “build it and they will come” approach has worked out OK…)

We were scheduled to close on March 1, 2007. I was super freaked at this point, as everything that had before been a pie-in-the-sky fantasy was suddenly terrifying stark reality. It was all going down, and I was the one in charge of it. At that point, my thinking was that we needed to get up and running as soon as humanly possible. We would have the building, and we needed to start the operation of the business so we could start revenue streams. (or at least revenue trickles.) I set the completely insane “what the hell are you thinking” deadline opening date of April 7, 2007. That’s right. One month. One month to remodel the inside of the building, do marketing, assemble a performance team, advertise for classes, and implement the business plan. It was the most thrilling, frightening, exhausting, exhilarating month I have ever lived. It was terrible, hard work, as we had to completely gut the interior and rebuild it in our chosen image. Once we decided on the final layout (we chose our third option), we started working in earnest. I’ll never be able to repay my two brothers, sister, or wife for that month. Two walls came down. Three walls went up. Two bathrooms materialized. A new ceiling went up. The seats got moved in and attached, despite the guy at the U-Haul threatening to burn my house down in the middle of the night because I had the gaul to complain that he’d overcharged me. (Yes, that really happened.) A big complex light box went up into the ceiling. The stage got built. The sound system went in. Advertisements went into newspapers and online. I talked to everyone I knew. Some really kind people came in and helped construct and paint. Rehearsals happened. I remember a few of those early rehearsals when we rehearsed in a small corner of the room because it was the only space that was clean enough in which to exist.

On some level I must have known that it was possible to do. Because we did it. There were a ton of weird city-specific regulations that nearly hung us up at the last minute (it was boring enough living it… no need to re-create it here), but we opened with three mini-shows followed by snacks and chatting. It was a great night all around. Were the shows great? Probably not. But they happened. Everyone has to start somewhere. Not bad for a group that had virtually no experience doing improv. The original group of six included me, my sister, two people I’d met doing a musical the previous summer, a friend that I’d met doing a show, and he later performed in something like four improv shows, and some random teenager that happened to wander in. That first show was fun and energetic, if not the most artistic thing to ever hit the world. The important thing is that we have gotten better since then, by several magnitudes.

I’ve learned a lot about everything since then, not just about the art of improvisation. For example, I’ve found that newspaper advertisements for me are just as useless as posting flyer's. Both are activities I really pursued with gusto in those early three months. Neither produced as much as a single audience member. I’ve learned that I need to not indulge my artistic temperament… just because I’m excited about something doesn’t mean I should immediately devote all resources towards that goal. Nowadays I put forth the idea, sit on it for a couple weeks, and then make plans to implement it two or three months down the line. This is the reason that I plan all my shows and activities at least three months in advance. It prevents me from getting excited and jumping into some foolish and fun notion.

I’m sure there’s a ton more for me to learn. As long as they aren’t painful lessons, I welcome them. Even though it was a really tough time, there’s nothing like watching a dream come true to feed your soul. Even when my soul was covered in drywall dust, paint, sweat, and more blood than I care to remember, it was still smiling. Even though financially I will certainly never be the same, one day when this theater is rolling along at an acceptably successful level, I’d consider opening another one - at a much slower, more careful, better planned and better funded pace. Don’t tell my wife. She’d leave me.

August 8, 2008

New Improv Venue

The theater manager for Just Off Broadway Theater has reached out to the improv community on He is opening up the doors of the JOBT for more improv shows. A great venue for the improv groups here in Kansas City.

August 6, 2008

Look who we found

Hype 7 and Kansas City's very own Matt Reiss performing in a Second City Student Show. Matt is the beautiful bald man standing in the doorway on the left.

August 5, 2008

Kansas City Improv Festival: Workshops Announced

Festival Teachers and Workshops Announced

Registration is now open!
Guest artists from our National Showcase will teach classes at a variety of skill levels. Classes are open to students ages 15 and older. Before picking your classes, please check to see which level you're eligible for.

Class Schedule:

Registration: 9:30am
Session One: 10 am - 12:30 pm
Lunch Break: 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Session Two: 1:30 - 4 pm


Jill Bernard
Eric Davis
Ed Goodman
Corey Rittmaster
Dan Izzo

To Register and to find more information please click HERE.