Improv Mafia

I spent Saturday afternoon workshopping the Improv Mafia, the improv group at Illinois State University, an old dog trying to teach these kids some new tricks. Fortunately, everything old is new again, eventually, and I kept remembering tricks and exercises from many years ago that seemed to work pretty well. I also, in the spirit of Del Close, made up a few exercises that I though would be beneficial to them (though we only had time to work on a couple of them–time flies when you’re improvising).


Next Saturday are the finals for the College Improv Tournament, which is organized by my old pal Jonathan Pitts (here’s the info). The top 16 college improv teams in the U.S. will be competing for the national championship in Chicago. These are the regional champions who have advanced from the over 100 teams that competed across the country.

Many years ago, Del and Charna Halpern organized what may have been the first college improv tournament. If I remember correctly, there were three teams competing–the Yale Purple Crayon, and two Chicago-area teams. And now, there are hundreds of college teams alone, competing for a real national championship for the seventh year in a row. 

Good luck to all the improvisers. And if the Improv Mafia wins, and I try to claim as much credit as possible, just ignore me.