Improv Nerd With Jimmy Carrane

Improv Nerd With Jimmy Carrane
Well-known improv teacher and former Studio 312 host Jimmy Carrane explores the creative processes used to make great comedy.

Ric Walker
Jun 18 • 52 min
Steven Castillo
Jun 2 • 46 min
Will Luera
May 26 • 51 min
Jane Morris
May 19 • 47 min
Armando Diaz
May 12 • 47 min
Armando Diaz is widely regarded as one of the best improv teachers in New York. He is the co-founder of The Magnet Theater there, and help create one of the most popular long forms ever, The Armando Diaz Experience.
George McAuliffe, The Improv Guru
May 5 • 57 min
Rich Baker
Apr 28 • 64 min
Joe Liss
Apr 14 • 62 min
Jay Sukow
Jul 22, 2019 • 94 min
Jay Sukow is one of the best improvisers and teachers out there. Jimmy caught up with him in Chicago at Green Shirt Studio to talk to him about why it’s important to make positive choices in your scene work, why he uses anger in improv and how he is…
Billy Merritt
Jun 20, 2019 • 88 min
The Crowd Theater
May 6, 2019 • 61 min
Finally a new episode! The Crowd Theater is great little comedy theater in Chicago that strives to support diversity, inclusion and affordability in the improv community. Jimmy sat down with the three founders —Blair Britt, Dillon Cassidy and Taylor Jones…
Ike Barniholtz
Oct 8, 2018 • 28 min
Ike Barniholtz is the writer, director and star of the new dark comedy The Oath. Ike improvised in Chicago in the ‘90s at Second City, iO Chicago and The Annoyance. He was on MADtv for five seasons, and also starred on The Mindy Project. Jimmy sat down…
Derek Miller
Sep 24, 2018 • 75 min
Derek Miller is a master improviser, teacher and actor in L.A. He has done tons of commercials and been a regular in three TV shows. He was in the cast of Opening Night: The Improvised Musical! at the old iO-West. We talk to him about how the L.A. improv…
Why is Chicago the Mecca of Improv?
Sep 10, 2018 • 17 min
Jimmy is really proud to share with you this piece he did for Curious City on WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio, answering the question, “Why is Chicago the mecca of improv?” In this episode you will hear several people’s theories about why this is. Jimmy…
Sophie Shrand
Aug 20, 2018 • 51 min
Sophie Shrand is the host and creator of “Science with Sophie,” a science comedy show for girls and everyone. She is an accomplished improviser in Chicago, and we talked to her about how she got through the hard times when she moved to Chicago from…
Tj Jagodowski
Aug 6, 2018 • 25 min
TJ Jagodowski is one of the finest improvisers and people you will know. He’s half of the long-running show TJ and Dave. In this special episode that was originally recorded for Curious City at WBEZ in Chicago, Jimmy talks to TJ about why he thinks…
Jeff Michalski
Jul 30, 2018 • 85 min
Jeff Michalski is an improv legend. He is a teacher, director, an improviser who was a founding member of Second City’s ETC Theater back in the ’80s and now teaches in Los Angeles. Jimmy sat down with Jeff to talk about what he learned working with Del,…
Shad Kunkle
Jul 16, 2018 • 73 min
Shad Kunkle is an improviser, actor, teacher, and comedian. He has been playing with the iO Harold team Carl and The Passions for 20 years, he toured with Second City and understudied the Main Stage. We talked to him about the importance of focusing on…
Todd Milliner
Jul 9, 2018 • 33 min
Todd Milliner is one of the executive producers on CNN’s original series, “The History of Comedy.” He has produced such shows as “Hot In Cleveland,” “Hollywood Game Night” and “Grimm.” We talk to him about taking improv classes at The Annoyance back in…
Andel Sudik
Jun 25, 2018 • 70 min
Andel Sudik is an incredible improviser and teacher. She has performed all over the United States with The Second City Touring Company and in Europe with Boom Chicago, and she travels the world improvising and teaching. We talked to her about how she…
Jimmy Pennington
Jun 11, 2018 • 76 min
Jimmy Pennington is one of the Annoyance Theater’s most popular improv teachers. He has performed in lots of shows there, including Co-ed Prison Sluts, and is currently in Fish Bowl on Thursday nights. We talked him about how to “get out of your head”…
Vernon Mina
Jun 4, 2018 • 86 min
Vernon Mina teaches and performs at The Annoyance Theater in Chicago where he is currently in Trigger Happy directed by Mick Napier. He also performs with the Second City Touring Company and has previously understudied for Second City’s ETC. We talked to…
Mark Czoske
May 14, 2018 • 86 min
Mark Czoske is one of Chicago’s most respected improvisers and teachers. He currently teaches at The Second City Training Center in Chicago and has performed at The Improv Institute and in Flannigan’s Wake. Jimmy talks to him about the “hard truth and…
Dan Bakkedahl
Apr 23, 2018 • 64 min
Dan Bakkedahl is one of the stars of CBS’s “Life In Pieces,” and you also know him from VEEP. He is an alumni of the Second City and iO Chicago. Jimmy caught up with him while he was back in Chicago recently to talk to about why he’s happy with the state…
Scott Goldstein
Feb 12, 2018 • 68 min
Scott Goldstein is an improviser, director, teacher and writer. He directed The National Touring Company at Second City and The Annoyance Theater, where he also performed. He was the Artistic Director of Flat Iron Comedy and teaches writing and improv at…
Pete Holmes
Jan 15, 2018 • 41 min
Pete Holmes is a stand-up comedian and the star and creator of the HBO show “Crashing.” He is also the host of the podcast You Made It Weird. We talked to him about finding improv in the sixth grade, what was like moving to Chicago to purse improv back in…
Sam Wasson
Dec 22, 2017 • 58 min
Sam Wasson is the author of the new book, Improv Nation: How We Made A Great American Art. Jimmy talks to Sam about the history of improv, from beginning of improv with The Compass Players to Del Close and The Harold, Bill Murray, the Chicago improv scene…
Mark Sutton
Dec 11, 2017 • 49 min
Mark Sutton is an improv teacher and a founding member of The Annoyance Theater, where he was part of the cast that created Co-ed Prison Sluts. He has toured around the country with Joe Bill doing Bassprov. We talk to him about the early days of The…
Nick Johne
Oct 16, 2017 • 53 min
Nick Johne is from Canada where he performed with Second City Toronto. He is one of Chicago’s most respected teachers, working with improvisers and actors and teaching improv to people on the Autism spectrum. We talk to Nick about why that brings him so…
Bill Chott
Sep 25, 2017 • 51 min
Bill Chott is an incredible improv teacher in Los Angeles who does long form, short form and musical improv, and also acts in TV and films and even does magic. We talk to him about why he puts so much importance on space and object work, how short form…
Dee Ryan
Sep 11, 2017 • 80 min
Dee Ryan was a member of The Second City Etc., where she did three revues back in the late ’90s. In LA, she performed with the amazing group Stacey’s Not Here and the award-winning The All Girl Revue. She currently teaches long form to film students at…
Nick Armstrong
Aug 28, 2017 • 60 min
Nick Armstong is the founder of Improv Utopia and the artistic director of West Side Comedy Theater in Los Angeles. He performs with King Ten, the longest-running Harold team in LA, at iO West. Jimmy talks to him about why you should have an improv coach,…
Jul 24, 2017 • 66 min
In this live show, Jimmy sits down with four members of Chicago’s best improv group: 3Peat. Nnamdi Ngwe, Patrick Rowland, John Thibodeaux, and Dewayne Perkins. Jimmy talks to this all-black ensemble about diversity in improv, their style of play and how…
The World According to Jimmy
Jul 10, 2017 • 44 min
In this special bonus episode, “The World According to Jimmy,” Jimmy sits down with his producer, Dan Schiffmacher, and answers questions about improv, career and life submitted by our listeners and some of Jimmy’s students.
Jill Valentine
Jun 26, 2017 • 65 min
Jill Valentine is the executive director of The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival at Stage 773 and an original member of The Cupid Players. We talked about how women’s roles in improv have changed since she started in 1999, why she likes to make bold choices…
Claire and Alan Linic
Jun 12, 2017 • 65 min
Alan and Claire Linic are improvisers, writers, teachers — and a married couple. Alan is in the current Second City etc cast and Claire is the author of two books. We talked to them about how they met at an improv show, why they don’t improvise well…
Alison Riley
May 29, 2017 • 56 min
Alison Riley is the producer of Second City, where she has worked for 30 years. She is one of the people responsible for casting. Jimmy sat down with her to talk about what Second City is looking for when they are hiring actors, how things have changed…
Theresa Mulligan
May 15, 2017 • 69 min
Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal is a TV writer and producer, working on such shows as “Lady Dynamite,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Whitney.” She started out improvising in the ’90s in Chicago and was a member of Second City Touring Company, Second City…
Bob Fisher
May 1, 2017 • 76 min
Bob Fisher is a well-respected teacher and improviser at The Annoyance Theater, where he was in the original cast of Co-Ed Prison Sluts. He was in also in the Second City Touring Company and the amazing group’s Cardiff Giant and Bang Bang. We talked about…
Rachel Dratch
Apr 17, 2017 • 60 min
Rachel Dratch is best known for her seven seasons on SNL. She recently returned to Chicago for the Chicago Improv Festival, where she recorded this live episode of Improv Nerd on the Second City Main Stage. Jimmy talks to her about how she built her…
Jaime Moyer
Apr 3, 2017 • 56 min
Jaime Moyer is an improviser, teacher and actor. You have seen her in such shows as Modern Family and Parks and Recreation. She was originally a member of Second City Detroit before moving to LA in 2009. In this live episode recorded at The Chicago Improv…
Shantira Jackson
Mar 20, 2017 • 58 min
Shantira Jackson is a cast member of the current Second City Mainstage, and she also performs with Chicago’s hottest improv group, 3Peat, at iO Chicago. Jimmy sits down and talks to her about leaving journalism for comedy, what she is trying to get across…
Will Hines
Mar 6, 2017 • 79 min
Will Hines has taught and performed improv at UCB NY and LA since 2000. He is the author of the new book How To Be The Greatest Improviser On Earth. Jimmy talks to him about the importance of bringing your real self to improv, how to become brave on…
Bob Kulhan
Feb 20, 2017 • 75 min
Bob Kulhan is the author of the new book “Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv.” He is an incredible improviser and teacher who was a core faculty member at The Second City Training Center in Chicago and co-founder of the uber musical group Baby…
Bill Arnett
Feb 6, 2017 • 77 min
Bill Arnett is one of Chicago’s most respected improvisers, teachers and directors. He has played with such groups as People of Earth, 3033 and Armando. He is the founder of The Chicago Improv Studio and the author of the new book, The Complete…
Colin Mochrie
Jan 30, 2017 • 44 min
Colin Mochrie is best known as a regular on both the American and British versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which has inspired an entire generation of improvisers. In this episode, Colin sits down with Jimmy at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL, and…
Brad Sherwood
Jan 23, 2017 • 45 min
Brad Sherwood is a regular on Whose Line Is It Anyway? He was also on the British version of Whose Line for three seasons and has tons of TV credits including many appearances on The Tonight Show and hosting The Dating Game. Jimmy caught up with Brad…
Sam Bennett
Jan 16, 2017 • 69 min
Sam Bennett is the author of the new book Start Right Where You Are, about how little changes can make a big difference in achieving our goals. She’s also an actor who has performed and taught at The Second City in Chicago. Jimmy talks to her about ways…
Jonathan Pitts
Jan 9, 2017 • 57 min
Jonathan Pitts is the executive director of the Chicago Improv Festival, which he founded 20 years ago. In this interview, Jimmy gets an Improv Nerd exclusive — Jonathan tells Jimmy what he’s going to do after this year’s festival — and they talk about…
Year in Review 2016
Dec 26, 2016 • 70 min
Jimmy sits down with producer Dan Schiffmacher and director Sam Bowers to pick their favorite moments of the year and give you behind the scenes stories. Plus Dan and Sam give you their favorite “Jimmy moment” of 2016.
Ron West
Dec 19, 2016 • 46 min
Ron West is an actor, writer and director. A longtime director at The Second City in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and LA, Ron also worked as a consultant on “Whose Line is It Anyway?” and has had numerous TV and film credits, including on “Third Rock from…
Claudia Wallace
Dec 12, 2016 • 58 min
Claudia Wallace is an actor and improviser who is currently the interim casting director at Second City. She is an alumni of the Main Stage, where she performed in three revues. In this episode, she talks about how she creates characters with only a…
Scott Adsit
Nov 28, 2016 • 49 min
Scott Adsit played Pete on NBC’s “30 Rock” for seven seasons and is an alumni of The Second City, where he was part of the ground-breaking show “Pinata Full of Bees.” In this episode, which celebrated Improv Nerd’s 5-year anniversary and was recorded at…
Jane Lynch
Nov 21, 2016 • 69 min
Jane Lynch is best known as Sue Sylvester on Glee and for her work with Christopher Guest in Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. She got her start in comedy at The Annoyance Theater and Second City. Jimmy sits down with her to talk about how she started out…
Ryan Archibald
Nov 14, 2016 • 62 min
Ryan Archibald is an improviser, teacher and director. He has performed with The Second City touring company and on a resident stage in Las Vegas. He is a member of 3033 and was part of the group People of Earth at iO Chicago. Jimmy talks to him about the…
Kevin Allison
Nov 7, 2016 • 67 min
Kevin Allison is the creator and host of the hugely popular storytelling podcast RISK! He was also a member of the sketch comedy group The State on MTV in the ’90s. We talked to Kevin about what he learned from working with such a large sketch group, how…
Jon Glaser
Oct 24, 2016 • 55 min
Jon Glaser is a writer, actor and producer whose new show, Jon Loves Gear, premiers on TruTV on Oct. 26. He has written for Conan and Inside Amy Schummer and has acted in Trainwreck, Girls, and Parks and Recrecatation. Jimmy talks to him about starting…
Laura Krafft
Oct 17, 2016 • 75 min
Laura Krafft is a comedic writer and actress, an iO Chicago and Second City alum and former staff writer for the Colbert Report. Jimmy talks to her about how improv helps her write for television, how she seems to find herself in the right place at the…
Abby McEnany
Oct 10, 2016 • 67 min
Abby McEnany was recently voted Improviser of The Year at iO Chicago, where she improvises regularly with Virgin Daiquiri. She is also a member of Sirens, performs with The Improv All-Stars at Second City and is known for her one-person shows. Abby talks…
Rashida Olayiwola
Oct 3, 2016 • 73 min
Rashida Olayiwola is a Chicago native who has performed at iO Chicago, The Annoyance and Second City. She was also the recipient of the NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship at Second City, and she recently left for LA to be part of the CBS Diversity…
Micah Philbrook
Sep 26, 2016 • 62 min
Micah Philbrook is one of Chicago’s most thoughtful and invovative improvisers and teachers. He teaches at The Second City Training Center, he’s a founder of pH Productions, and he performs with Tim and Micah Project. Jimmy sat down with him to talk about…
Stacey Smith
Sep 19, 2016 • 63 min
Stacey Smith is the founder of the Chicago Musical Improv Festival, as well as an amazing improviser and teacher. Jimmy talk to her at this year’s festival at iO Chicago about how the hard times starting out in improv in Chicago, what she loves about…
Tj Miller
Sep 12, 2016 • 61 min
TJ Miller, a hilarious stand-up and star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, sits down with Jimmy at The Annoyance Theater in Chicago to talk about why physicality is important in comedy, how he developed his great work ethic and his unique approach to acting and…
Bob Dassie
Sep 5, 2016 • 75 min
Bob Dassie is a legendary improviser and teacher. He performs with his wife, Stephanie Weir, in Weirdass, and has also been improvising with the group Dasariski for 17 years. We talk to him about his incredible work ethic, he philosophy on getting better…
Marty DeRosa
Aug 29, 2016 • 90 min
Marty DeRosa is a comedian who is considered the king of Chicago crowd work, using a lot improvisation in his stand-up act. He is a founding member of Comedians You Should Know and he co-host the hilarious podcasts Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling, and…
Jeff Quintana
Aug 23, 2016 • 83 min
Jeff Quintana is the Artistic Director and co-founder of The Villain Theater in Miami. He is a respected teacher and improviser who has studied in New York and Chicago. In this episode that was recorded live at The Villain Theater, Jimmy talks to Jeff…
Joe Bill
Aug 15, 2016 • 68 min
Joe Bill is an international improv teacher and performer. He is a co-founder of the Annoyance Theater and tours with Mark Sutton in Bassprov. He has taught at Second City, The Annoyance and iO Chicago and continues to teach around the world. Jimmy sat…
Simon Helberg
Aug 8, 2016 • 33 min
Simon Helberg is best known as Howard from the hit CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He is currently staring in the new film Florence Foster Jenkins with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. We talked to him about following in his father’s footsteps at The…
Advice Compilation
Aug 1, 2016 • 42 min
This is our 200th episode of Improv Nerd! To acknowledge this milestone, we have compiled 15 of our favorite past guests’ advice for people who are going into improv or comedy today. You will hear wisdom from people like Adam McKay, the ladies from Broad…
Matt Dwyer
Jul 25, 2016 • 56 min
Matt Dwyer is a writer, stand-up and podcaster. He was one of the youngest people to be hired for the Second City Touring Company at the age of 21. He has written for Funny or Die and Jonah Ray’s Hidden America on Netflix. We talked to him about hanging…
Mike Birbiglia
Jul 18, 2016 • 52 min
Mike Birbiglia is the writer, director and star of his latest independent film, “Don’t Think Twice,” about a popular New York improv group where one of the member gets his big break. Jimmy talks to Mike about some of themes in his film, like jealousy,…
Peter Grosz
Jul 11, 2016 • 72 min
Peter Grosz is best known as one of the two guys in the Sonic commercials, but he has also written for The Colbert Report and Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has performed at The Second City etc., the UCB, Boom Chicago, and iO Chicago. Jimmy talks to him…
Kelsie Huff
Jul 4, 2016 • 65 min
Kelsie Huff is one of Chicago’s hottest comedians. She has studied at iO Chicago and Second City and she teaches the popular Feminine Comique, which is a stand-up class geared towards woman. Jimmy talked her at this year’s Chicago Women’s Funny Festival…
Jason Winer
Jun 27, 2016 • 66 min
Jason Winer is a director, an Emmy-award wining producer, and writer. He has directed and produced such hit sitcoms at Modern Family, Life in Pieces and The Crazy Ones. Jason studied at iO Chicago back in the late ’90s and was part of the team The Tribe.…
Nia Vardalos
Jun 20, 2016 • 37 min
Nia Vardalos is an actress, screenwriter and director, best known for her critically acclaimed films My Big Fat Greek Wedding I and II. Jimmy talks to her about how she went from working in the box office at Second City to getting hired as actor, using…
Tara Defrancisco & Rance Rizzutto
Jun 13, 2016 • 67 min
Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto are masters of musical improv, touring around the world doing their critically acclaimed two-person musical improvisation show: HERE. Jimmy sat down with the recently married couple and talked them about how they first…
Ed Furman
Jun 6, 2016 • 60 min
Ed Furman is a writer, actor and improviser who has performed in three Second City revues and co-written Chicago’s longest running musical Co-ed Prison Sluts at The Annoyance Theater. He’s also written a sketch project for NBC, two children’s plays and a…
Miles Stroth
May 30, 2016 • 62 min
Miles Stroth is the founder of the Pack Theater in Los Angeles. He is also an incredible improviser, teacher and director who was part of the legendary improv group The Family at iO Chicago in the ’90s. Jimmy talked to him at his theater in Los Angeles…
Hello From The Magic Tavern
May 23, 2016 • 46 min
Hello from the Magic Tavern is a fully improvised comedy podcast that’s exploding in popularity. In this episode, Jimmy sits down with creators Arnie Niekamp, Adal Rifai and Matt Young at the Chicago Improv Festival to talk to them about how they all met,…
Kevin Nealon
May 16, 2016 • 31 min
Kevin Nealon was on Saturday Night Live for nine seasons, and was best known for his characters Mr. Subliminal, Hanz and Franz with Dana Carvey and being the host of Weekend Update. Jimmy talks him about why he didn’t think he’d ever get hired by SNL, how…
Pete Gardner
May 9, 2016 • 72 min
Pete Gardner plays Darryl Whitefeather on the hit CW sitcom My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Jimmy sat down and talked with him about why he moved to Chicago in the ’90s to study improv, the importance of taking acting classes even when you are on hit sitcom, and…
Kate Flannery
May 2, 2016 • 58 min
Kate Flannery is best known for playing Meredith on the NBC series “The Office.” She is also part of the comedy lounge act The Lampshades and was a member of Second City Touring Company and The Annoyance Theater in Chicago. Jimmy talked to her about what…
Pat Finn
Apr 25, 2016 • 62 min
Pat Finn is a member of Beer, Shark Mice who has appeared in such sitcoms as Seinfeld, Friends, The Drew Carey Show, and Curb Your Enthusiasm just to name a few. He has also done a ton of national commercials. Jimmy sat down with him to talk about his…
John Lehr and Nancy Hower
Apr 18, 2016 • 76 min
John Lehr and Nancy Hower create and produce sitcoms that are improvised, such as Ten Items or Less for TBS and Quick Draw for Hulu. John improvised with ED in Chicago in the late ’90s. Nancy studied acting Juliard and fronted a rock band. Jimmy sits down…
Tim Kazurinsky
Apr 11, 2016 • 53 min
Tim Kazurinsky is an actor who was on Saturday Night Live from 1980-84 and is best remembered as Carl Sweetchuck in the Police Academy films. He is also a screenwriter who co-wrote About Last Night. Jimmy sat down with him to talk about why he started…
Jon Favreau
Apr 4, 2016 • 53 min
Jon Favreau is a well-known writer, actor and director who has directed such films as Iron Man 1 and 2, Elf, Made, and Chef, just to name a few. He’s also the director of Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book, which comes out April 15. Jimmy sat down with him to…
Cecily Strong
Mar 28, 2016 • 40 min
Cecily Strong is a cast member on SNL and she’s in four new movies coming to theaters this spring and summer, including Ghostbusters, The Bronze, The Meddler and The Boss. Jimmy talks to her about being a ham when she was younger, why studying in Chicago…
Kristy & Jethro Nolen
Mar 21, 2016 • 76 min
Kristy and Jethro Nolan are the co-founders of The Arcade Comedy Theater in Pittsburgh. They are incredibly accomplished improvisers and teachers who have performed at iO-Chicago and Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and taught at the Second City. Jimmy talks to…
Kate James
Mar 14, 2016 • 77 min
Kate James is an actor, improviser and writer who is best known as one of the members of the hilarious sketch comedy group Schadenfreude and from the viral video Drunk Cubs Fan. She has also written on the Jeff Award-winning The Second City Guide to the…
Natasha Rothwell
Mar 7, 2016 • 65 min
Natasha Rothwell is a former writer for Saturday Night Live who is now one of the stars of the new comedy sketch show “Characters,” which debuts on Netflix March 11. We talk to her about training at the People’s Improv Theater and UCB in New York, her…
Sexual Harassment in Improv
Feb 29, 2016 • 75 min
In this episode of Improv Nerd, Jimmy moderates a panel discussion on the issue of sexual harassment in improv, which has become a very heated discussion lately throughout the improv community. On the panel is improv teacher Susan Messing, improvisers…
Nora Dunn
Feb 22, 2016 • 80 min
Nora Dunn was a cast member on Saturday Night Live form 1985-1990. She has appeared in the movies Working Girl, Three Kings and Pineapple Express. Jimmy sat down with her to talk to her about her years on SNL, how she comes up with her characters and why…
Diversity Compilation
Feb 15, 2016 • 50 min
For this special compilation episode we have put together some of our favorite moments from our guests talking about a red hot topic — diversity in comedy. Listen to Key & Peele, Chris Redd, Puntam Patel, Ali Farahnakian, and Edgar Blackmon talk about how…
The Defiant Thomas Brothers
Feb 8, 2016 • 79 min
The Defiant Thomas Brothers (Paul Thomas and Seth Thomas) is a brilliant two-person sketch group out of Chicago. After splitting up 9 years ago, they have gotten back together and now have an open run at The Second City Training Center. Jimmy sat down…
Mick Napier
Feb 1, 2016 • 46 min
Mick Napier is the founder and artistic director of the acclaimed Annoyance Theater in Chicago, an artistic consultant at Second City and the author of the new book, Behind The Scenes: Improvising Long Form. Jimmy sat down with him to talk about some of…
Shana Merlin
Jan 25, 2016 • 77 min
Shana Merlin is the owner and founder of Merlin Works in Austin, TX. She is a well-respected improviser and teacher with quite a following. In this lively episode recorded at the Institution Theater in Austin, Jimmy talks to her about starting to teach…
Asaf Ronen
Jan 19, 2016 • 86 min
Asaf Ronen is the educational director at The Institution Theater in Austin, TX, and author of Directing Improv. He has been involved in improv since 1990 and has improvised and taught all over the world. In this episode, which was recorded at The…
Geoffrey Baer
Jan 13, 2016 • 68 min
Geoffrey Baer is a popular host, producer and writer at Chicago’s public television station, WTTW. In this interview, Jimmy talks to Geoffrey about his theater background, teaching improvisation at the Players Workshop of the Second City, and his…
Matt Higbee
Jan 6, 2016 • 76 min
Matt Higbee is well-respected teacher and improviser at iO-Chicago with a huge following. He talks to Jimmy about the hard part of being on the Harold Commission, which decides which teams get to play and which teams are broken up; being bounced around…
Year in Review 2015
Dec 28, 2015 • 46 min
Join Jimmy and his trusted staff — Producer Dan Schiffmacher, Director Sam Bowers and Head of the Interns Lauren Carrane — as they sit down to discuss their favorite episodes of Improv Nerd from the past year.
Adam Mckay
Dec 21, 2015 • 40 min
Adam McKay is a writer and director of such comedies as Anchorman, Taladaga Nights, Step Brothers and more. He has just released his latest film, The Big Short. Jimmy sat down and talked to him about improvising in Chicago back in the ’90s, what he…
Colt Cabana
Dec 14, 2015 • 79 min
Colt Cabana is an internationally known professional wrestler and host of the super popular podcast The Art of Wrestling. Jimmy talks to Colt about his improv and comedy back ground, the comparison between wrestling and improv, and the importance of…
Mike O’Brien
Dec 7, 2015 • 62 min
Mike O’Brien has been a writer and featured player on Saturday Night Live. He is an alumni of The Second City Main Stage in Chicago and was a member of the legendary Harold team The Reckoning at iO Chicago. Jimmy sat down and talked to Mike about his love…
Mike Carr
Nov 29, 2015 • 71 min
Mike Carr has been the Artistic Director at SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando, FL, since 2006. He has performed with Mission Improvable, studied at iO Chicago where he was on the Harold team Revolver and gotten to improvise at his job at The Monster Inc. Laugh…
Anne Libera
Nov 23, 2015 • 67 min
Anne Libera is the director of The Comedy Studies program of Columbia College at The Second City in Chicago. She is a well-respected teacher and director who was the Executive Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center for eight years. Jimmy sat…
Tj & Dave
Nov 15, 2015 • 78 min
TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are true improv legends. Their show, TJ and Dave, is an international award-winning show that has inspired improvisers all over the world. Jimmy sat down and talked to them about the history of TJ and Dave, their new book,…
Anthony LeBlanc
Nov 7, 2015 • 70 min
Anthony LeBlanc is an actor, teacher and director who recently directed the current Second City etc. show “Soul Brother, Where Art Thou?” He was also a cast member of the Second Mainstage, where he put up two revues. Jimmy talks to him about how the death…
Jen Ellison
Nov 2, 2015 • 81 min
Jen Ellison is a director, writer, teacher and performer who is best known for directing The Second City e.t.c.’s 38th revue, “Apes of Wrath.”She teaches at The Second City, DePaul University, and Columbia College. In this episode, Jimmy talks to Jen…
Irene Marquette
Oct 26, 2015 • 76 min
Irene Marquette is a performer, teacher, writer and director. Best known for the host of the popular “Curio Show” she teaches at iO-Chicago, The Annoyance and Comedy Studies at Columbia College. She also regulary improvises with Tone and Super Human at…
Joel Murray
Oct 19, 2015 • 64 min
Joel Murray joins Jimmy during a recent trip to Chicago and talks about his time with The Second City Chicago, his career in film and television, and growing up with brothers Bill Murray and Brian Doyle Murray.
Oct 9, 2015 • 51 min
Jimmy explores the process of getting rejected in comedy with guests Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City, David Koechner, Dan Harmon, Colbert writer Brian Stack, and more.
Providence Improv Festival
Oct 3, 2015 • 61 min
In this episode, which was recorded live at the Providence Improv Festival, Jimmy interviews two of the pillars of the Providence improv community: Melissa Bowler, the artistic director of Provindence Improv Guild (P.I.G.) and Tim Thibodeau, the producer…
Zach Ward
Sep 27, 2015 • 74 min
Zach Ward is the owner, founder and executive producer of DSI Comedy Theater, as well as the artist director and executive producer of the NC Comedy Arts Festival. Jimmy sat down at talked to him about starting improv classes in North Carolina, while he…
Lance Barber
Sep 20, 2015 • 67 min
Lance Barber is best known for his role as Pauli G on the short-lived TV sitcom The Comeback on HBO, as well as Jimmy Speckerman in The Big Bang Theory. He studied at The Second City and iO-Chicago where he worked with the legendary Del Close. Jimmy sat…
Jeff Bouthiette
Sep 13, 2015 • 71 min
Jeff Bouthiette is currently the Head of the Music Program at the Second City Training Center in Chicago. As an improviser, he was a longtime member of the musical improv troupe Jazz Hands Across America and currently performs with the Second City…
Dan Telfer
Sep 6, 2015 • 74 min
Dan Telfer is stand-up comedian who has opened for Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn and Patton Oswalt. He’s performed at the Just For Laughs Festival in both Montreal and Chicago and his writing has appeared in Paste Magazine, The Onion, and The A.V. Club.…
Paul Vaillancourt
Aug 30, 2015 • 73 min
Paul Vaillancourt is the author of the new book Triangle of the Scene, as well as a teacher at iO West, a member of Beer Shark Mice and one of the most respected improvisers around. Jimmy sat down with him to talk about his specific approach to long form…
Jeff Griggs
Aug 23, 2015 • 64 min
Jeff Griggs is a teacher at iO-Chicago and The Second City Training Center in Chicago and is the author of Guru: My Days with Del Close. Jimmy sits down and talks to Jeff about his experience with Del Close, improvising with Deep Schwa and what it is like…
Rush Howell
Aug 6, 2015 • 62 min
Rush Howell has been improvising in Chicago since 1999. He has performed with groups such as 3033, Atlantis, CUFFS, The Scene and ARMANDO DIAZ at iO-Chicago. Rush has coached and taught at many theaters across the country and at dozens of festivals. Jimmy…
Rashawn Scott
Aug 6, 2015 • 62 min
Rashawn Nadine Scott is the cast of The Second City e.t.c.’s 39th revue, “Soul Brother Where Are Thou?” She is a recipient of the Bob Curry Fellowship, and she’s performed in The Art of Falling with Second City and Hubbard Street Dance. Jimmy talks to he…
ShitHole (Kevin Gerrity & Zach Bartz)
Aug 2, 2015 • 73 min
Zach Bartz and Kevin Gerrity are the masterminds behind Shit Hole, one of Chicago’s most popular underground comedy shows. Jimmy talks to them about why they have such a big following with their anti-marketing approach, the expectations they have for…
Jorin Garguilo
Jul 26, 2015 • 59 min
Jorin Garguilo is an incredible teacher and improviser living in Chicago. He performs with Revolver, Felt and The Scene at iO Chicago and was part of the legendary group Rainbow Deli at CIC. Jimmy sat down with him and talked about starting out…
Scott Morehead
Jul 20, 2015 • 68 min
In this latest episode of Improv Nerd, Jimmy talks to Scott Morehead of the Second City e.t.c. cast and the Late ’90s at iO Chicago. Jimmy talks to him about his journey to a resident company at Second City, asking for what you want and becoming a dad.
Katie Rich
Jul 13, 2015 • 58 min
Katie Rich writes for SNL’s Weekend Update, is an alumni of The Second City Mainstage and has performed at iO-Chicago with Carl and The Passions. Jimmy talks to her about her first day on the job at SNL, what goes into writing for Weekend Update, and…
Starting Your Own Theatre
Jul 5, 2015 • 48 min
Have you ever wondered what it would take to start your own Improv Theater? In our first compilation episode, you’ll hear clips from previous interviews from successful theater owners such as Mick Napier, Tom Booker, Dianah Dulaney, and more! Take a…
ComedySportz (Dick Chudnow & Matt Elwell)
Jun 29, 2015 • 106 min
In this episode, Jimmy sits down with Dick Chudnow, the creator and founder of ComedySportz, and Matt Elwell, current Executive Director of ComedySportz, at the 2015 ComedySportz World Championship in Rock Island, IL, where they talk about the creation of…
Ithamar Enriquez
Jun 21, 2015 • 80 min
Ithamar Enriquez is a writer, actor, teacher and performer. He is an alumni of The Second City, writing and performing shows with the MainStage, ETC and the Second City Touring Company. Jimmy talks to him about physical comedy and his wonderful one-person…
Billy Merritt
Jun 13, 2015 • 74 min
Billy Merritt has been a performer, teacher and director since the UCB opened in New York. He was founding member of The Swarm and The Stepfathers in New York, and The Smokes in LA. We talk to Billy about how he classifies improvisers as pirates, robots,…
Dylan Rohde
Jun 7, 2015 • 66 min
Dylan Rohde is the founder and co-owner of The Backline in Omaha, NE, and the producer of the Omaha Improv Festival. We talked to him about studying at the UCB and iO West and why he moved from LA to Omaha to start a comedy theater. He also demonstrates…
Dave Buckman
May 31, 2015 • 79 min
Dave Buckman is a director-teacher-improviser. He started out in studying and teaching in Chicago, before becoming the Artistic Director of Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. He has directed at The Second City in Chicago and Cleveland before moving to Austin in…
Rob Belushi & Jon Barinholtz
May 24, 2015 • 91 min
Rob Belushi and Jon Barinholtz are in the duo group Sheldon and the perform improv around the country. Jimmy caught up with them at this year’s Chicago Improv Festival, where they talked about their brotherly relationship and how they use it on stage, who…
Dianah Dulany
May 17, 2015 • 72 min
Dianah Dulany is an improv institution. She is the owner and producer of ComedySportz in Houston, where she is wonderful teacher-director-actor-improviser. Jimmy talked to her at the Houston Improv Festival about what makes the culture of ComedySportz…
R. Kevin Doyle
May 10, 2015 • 69 min
R. Kevin Doyle has been involved in improv in Hawaii since 1989. He is a member of On the Spot and a founding member of Loose Screws. In this episode, which was recorded at The Actor’s Workshop, owned by Wayne Ward, Jimmy talks to R. Kevin about what it…
Ali Farahnakian
May 3, 2015 • 89 min
Ali Farahnakian is the founder of the Peoples Improv Theater (PIT) in New York City. An improv legend, Ali studied at iO-Chicago and Second City, was a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade and wrote for Saturday Night Live. Here, he sits down…
Apr 25, 2015 • 51 min
Centralia is an improv group from New York that has developed its own unique style of improv. Jimmy sat down with this legendary group at The New York Improv Festival at The PIT Theater and talked to them about the evolution of the group, their influences…
Jordan Klepper
Apr 18, 2015 • 59 min
Jordan Klepper is a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has taught and performed at The UCB New York, where he is a member of legendary group The Stepfathers, as well as at iO-Chicago, where he in the the original cast of World News…
Kelly Leonard
Apr 4, 2015 • 80 min
Kelly Leonard is the Vice President of The Second City, and President of The Second City Theatricals. He’s also co-author of a new book with Tom Yorton, “Yes, And.” (How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and…
Joe Canale
Apr 4, 2015 • 78 min
Joe Canale has done it all in the improv world. He’s an alumni of The Second City Main Stage in Chicago, and has performed too many shows to list at iO and Boom Chicago. Jimmy talks with Joe about why he’s so comfortable being “a lighting rod,” what he…
Dana Quercioli
Mar 29, 2015 • 58 min
Dana Quercioli is from Cleveland, where she was the second youngest person to be on a Main Stage at Second City. She is a hugely respected improviser and teacher performing at iO-Chicago and Second City. Jimmy sat down with her and talked to her…
Brad Morris
Mar 24, 2015 • 69 min
Brad Morris is a writer/actor/improviser. He wrote for three seasons on Cougar Town, he is an alumni of The Second City Mainstage and a member of the legendary iO Harold team The Reckoning. Jimmy sat down with Brad and talked to him about his journey from…
Jill Soloway
Mar 15, 2015 • 64 min
Jill Soloway is the creator of the hit show Transparent. Jimmy sat down with The Golden Globe winner and talked to her about starting out at The Annoyance Theater back in the early 90’s, how she is dealing with her success, and the creative process. You…
Noah Gregoropoulos
Mar 8, 2015 • 73 min
Noah Gregoropoulos is an amazing teacher, director and improviser at iO-Chicago. He is one of the oldest members of iO, where he has been teaching and improvising for close to 25 years. Jimmy sits down with his old friend to talk about stepping in for Del…
Amey Goerlich
Mar 1, 2015 • 82 min
Amey Goerlich is a hugely respected teacher, director, coach, producer and improviser in New York City. She has directed or coached more than 300 teams and off-Broadway productions. She hosts and produces the Indie Cage Match at the UCB and improvises all…
UCB Touring Company
Feb 22, 2015 • 74 min
The UCB Touring company consists of Marshall Stratton, Mike Kelton, Jenny St. Angelo, and James Smith. Jimmy caught up with them at The Steel Stacks Improv Comedy Festival and talked to them up about how they got into the touring company and what they’ve…
Judy Fabjance & Kelly Beeman
Feb 15, 2015 • 51 min
In this episode, Jimmy interviews Judy Fabjance, a well-known improv teacher at Second City, who recently created a two-person sketch show called “Tales Of A Stage 4 Cancer” with her wife, Kelly Beeman. The show is based on Judy’s struggles with cancer…
Will Hines
Feb 8, 2015 • 72 min
Will Hines is a legendary teacher and improviser at the UCB. He has been performing there since 2000 and he headed up the training center in New York for years. Jimmy talked to him about how he was first exposed to improv in New York back in the late…
Danny Balel
Feb 1, 2015 • 58 min
Danny Balel is not someone you may know. He is in the improv trenches doing the un-glamorous work of teaching improv to kids. He is a member of Improv Boston’s Touring Company who also teaches improv to a diverse bunch of high school kids in the working…
Jack Bronis
Jan 25, 2015 • 66 min
Jack Bronis is a teacher at The Second City Training Center in Chicago and he is easily one of the best ones out there today. Jack is also a well respected improviser and actor in the city. Jimmy talks to him about why there should be in gurus in improv,…
Jan 18, 2015 • 70 min
Sand is an amazing three-man independent improv group, consisting of Mike Brunlieb, Thomas Kelly and Scott Nelson. They are easily one of the best group performing improv in the city of Chicago today. Jimmy talks to them about their wild and unstructured…
Kevin Reome
Jan 12, 2015 • 70 min
In this episode, Jimmy interviews Kevin Reome, a well-known teacher at Second City, about coming up at iO with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, his experience of dropping out of improv to sell insurance and then coming back to the scene, and why he loves…
Antoine McKay
Jan 5, 2015 • 76 min
Antoine McKay is a former member of the Second City Mainstage, a teacher, actor, and is appearing in the new show Empire on Fox. In this episode, Antoine talks about coming up through Second City Detroit, his faith, and not making acting a priority. Don’t…
Year in Review- The Most Memorable Moments of 2014
Dec 28, 2014 • 63 min
In this episode, Jimmy brings in a whole bunch of the Improv Nerd team to discuss their favorite moments from 2014. Listen as some of the behind-the-scenes folks talk about exciting times, embarrassing encounters, and what they really think about your…
Rachael Mason
Dec 19, 2014 • 68 min
Rachael Mason is the Head of Advanced Improvisation at Second City, a phenomenal improviser, and a beloved improv teacher in Chicago. In this episode, Rachael talks about the responsibility women have in creating comedy’s future, her new role at Second…
Broad City
Dec 13, 2014 • 38 min
In this episode, Jimmy talks Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, creators of the new show, “Broad City,” on Comedy Central, about starting out at UCB in New York, setting goals, investing their own money into their careers, and turning their web series into a…
Bob Odenkirk
Dec 7, 2014 • 66 min
Best known for creating the HBO sketch series Mr. Show ,playing criminal lawyer Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad, and writing the famous ”Matt Foley” sketch on SNL, Bob Odenkirk is a comedy legend. He took some time out from his busy tour schedule to chat…
Jack Newell
Nov 30, 2014 • 64 min
Jack Newell is a writer/producer/actor/director. He is the head of the brand new TV, Film and Digital Department at The Second City Training Center in Chicago. He’s a comedy director who uses improvisation in his videos and his two feature length films:…
Stephanie McCullough Vlcek
Nov 23, 2014 • 74 min
Stephanie McCullough, musical improv virtuoso, has been the piano player for Music Improv since 1997, on the Second City faculty (music director, teacher, and composer) since 2002, and is the founder of MCL (Musical Comedy Live) in Chicago. Stephanie…
Michael Delaney
Nov 19, 2014 • 55 min
Michael Delaney has been a member of the UCB since 1998, where he teaches improv and sketch writing. He’s been part of legendary teams like “The Swarm” and “Stepfathers.” We talked to him about why he thinks so many talented people have come out of the…
Chris Redd
Nov 5, 2014 • 72 min
Chris Redd is a comedy triple threat: a hilarious stand-up, a great improviser, and a former member of Second City’s e.t.c. cast. In this episode, he talks with Jimmy about the difference between preforming on the Southside and the Northside of Chicago,…
Tim Paul
Oct 31, 2014 • 55 min
Tim Paul is an actor, writer, and director living in Chicago. He’s created numerous shows along with The Annoyance Theatre including “Bear Force One,” “An Aerosmith Christmas,” “Fisting: A Period Piece” and more recently his solo shows. He sat down to…
Cameron Esposito
Oct 27, 2014 • 66 min
Cameron Esposito is a rising star stand-up comic who started out in Chicago and is now the host of the podcast Put Your Hands Together on Feral Audio (home of Improv Nerd!), and the author of the A.V. Club column “Who In the World Is Carmeron Esposito?”…
Tim Marks
Oct 19, 2014 • 74 min
In this episode, which was recorded at the Improv Festival Oklahoma, Jimmy sits down with Tim Marks who runs Kansas Improv Comedy and heads up the Kansas City Improv Festival. Tim talks about some of the personality issues you have to deal with running an…
Jay Sukow
Oct 10, 2014 • 63 min
Jay Sukow, a fixture in the Chicago improv scene, has been improvising since 1992. He’s a wonderful teacher, director and faculty member at Second City, a co-founder of the production company Group Mind Films and has been a guest performer at Boom…
Mark Beltzman
Oct 4, 2014 • 67 min
Mark Beltzman is a legendary improv teacher, actor and improviser. He was a founding member of iO in Chicago and of the legendary Harold team, Barons Barracudas. He performed and directed at The Second City in Chicago. Jimmy sat down with him to talk to…
Todd Stashwick
Sep 27, 2014 • 69 min
Todd Stashwick is an improviser and actor who started out at Second City and now frequently appears in TV and films. (Please, imdb him.) Jimmy sat down Todd with at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival to talk to him about how he works so much in TV, his…
Tom Booker
Sep 19, 2014 • 75 min
Tom Booker is the owner and artistic director at The Institution Theater in Austin. Jimmy sits down with his old pal and talks to him about the vibrant Austin improv scene, his desire to be famous, and why he likes to name drop. In this very candid and…
Paul Brittain
Sep 18, 2014 • 78 min
During the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin, TX, Paul Brittain, a former cast member of Saturday Night Live, sat down with Jimmy and talked about how he got started in comedy; his uncle, Bob Newhart; and how he develops characters like “Sex Ed…
Lauren Lapkus
Sep 11, 2014 • 61 min
During the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin, TX, the delightful Lauren Lapkus of Orange Is The New Black and Comedy Bang Bang fame sat down with Jimmy to talk about her already impressive career as a young improvisor. Lauren talked about starting…
100th episode! - Brian McCann
Sep 1, 2014 • 80 min
Jimmy celebrates his 100th episode! For the big occasion, Jimmy interviews Brian McCann, the Emmy-winning writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He is now creating his own show, The Brian McCann Leasure Hour. The former roommates talk about Brian’s…
Travis Ploeger
Aug 26, 2014 • 75 min
During a trip to our nation’s capitol, Jimmy sat down with Travis Ploeger, former longtime member of New York’s renowned Chicago City Limits and current founder of iMusical in Washington, D.C. Travis talked about his approach to musical improv and Jimmy…
Sad On Vacation
Aug 19, 2014 • 53 min
Here’s one from the vault! Live from Chicago’s Sketch Fest at Stage 773, Jimmy interviews the members of Sad On Vacation. The guys talk about their writing process, the importance of a group’s natural chemistry, and the influence of distance and fame on…
Punam Patel
Aug 6, 2014 • 63 min
In this episode, Jimmy interviews Punam Patel, a current member of Second City’s e.t.c. cast. A native of Florida and an Indian-American, Punam talks about the rising influence of South Asian comedians, her experience understudying for Aidy Bryant, and…
Paul Grondy
Aug 1, 2014 • 74 min
Paul Grondy has been improvising for over 20 years and has been a beloved teacher and a member of the iO Road Show, Frank Booth, and Carl and the Passions. On the eve of iO’s relocation from of its historic Clark Street location, Jimmy and Paul reminisced…
George Wendt
Jul 28, 2014 • 69 min
George Wendt is best known as Norm Peterson from the hit sitcom “Cheers” and for his stint as a Super Fan on SNL. In this episode, Jimmy talks to George about being fired from The Second City’s Mainstage and then earning it back, his relationships with…
Mike Kosinski
Jul 21, 2014 • 66 min
Mike Kosinski has written and performed in three revues at Second City and is currently in the cast of “Depraved New World” on The Main Stage. He and Jimmy sat down and talked about his unique path to Main Stage, auditioning for SNL twice, and what makes…
Caitlin & Alex from The Upstairs Gallery
Jul 9, 2014 • 84 min
Alex Honnet and Caitlin Stephan are two of the founders of The Upstairs Gallery, on of Chicago’s hottest indie improv venues. In this episode, Jimmy talks to them about what it takes to start your own improv theater, how to make it popular, and how not…
Beth Stelling
Jun 23, 2014 • 68 min
Beth Stelling is a stand-up who has appeared on Conan, @midnight and Chelsey Lately. In this episode, recorded at the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, she talks with Jimmy about how she started doing open mikes, how taking improv classes at The Annoyance…
Jeff Hoover
Jun 19, 2014 • 83 min
Jeff Hoover is the executive producer of the WGN TV Morning News in Chicago, a show known for its hilarious bits and constant joking around. In this episode, Jimmy talks to Jeff about his improv training at Second City, his love of impressions, and his…
Nnamdi Ngwe
Jun 7, 2014 • 73 min
Jimmy sits down with Nnamdi Ngwe live from Stage 773. Nnamdi has performed all over Chicago at the Annoyance, and the iO Theatre.
Candy Lawrence
May 26, 2014 • 60 min
Candy Lawrence is a rising star in the Chicago comedy scene, having opened for such comedians as Maria Bamford, Todd Barry, Judah Friedlander, and Kurt Braunohler and twice performing at the TBS Just For Laughs festival. In this episode, Candy discusses…
Kevin Mullaney
May 19, 2014 • 79 min
Kevin Mullaney is a well loved improviser and improv teacher in Chicago who previously served as the Artistic Director of the UCB in New York and ran its training center. Kevin discusses playing the game of the scene, the excitement of being with the UCB…
Jimmy Carrane
May 12, 2014 • 69 min
This is the episode of Improv Nerd you’ve been demanding! Improv legend Susan Messing turns the tables and interviews Jimmy Carrane. Susan pulls no punches and asks Jimmy about his aggressive interview style, the roadblocks to his own happiness, and what…
The Reckoning
May 5, 2014 • 76 min
The Reckoning are one iO Chicago’s most legendary Harold teams. In this episode, Charlie McCrackin, Beau Golwitzer, Jake Schneider and Eddie Pina join Jimmy and discuss the secrets of their success and evolution as artists. Then Jimmy joins them for a bit…
David Koechner
Apr 29, 2014 • 70 min
David Koechner returns for a special episode of Improv Nerd recorded live at Columbia College in Chicago. Dave opens up about his approaches to scene work, including his methods for never going into a scene empty handed. He also talks about working on…
Maribeth Monroe
Apr 21, 2014 • 71 min
Maribeth Monroe plays Alice on ComedyCentral’s Workaholics, is a veteran of The Second City, and will appear in the upcoming HBO series Brink. Maribeth discusses her time at Second City, getting hired on Workaholics, and how she has worked to become a…
Barry Hite
Apr 15, 2014 • 67 min
Barry Hite is one of the creators of the popular “I’m A Fan” webseries of NFL fan videos on The Second City Network, performed with the legendary Bullet Lounge at iO Chicago, and is a revered improv teacher. In this episode, he sits down with Jimmy to…
Jeff Garlin
Apr 9, 2014 • 74 min
Actor and comedian Jeff Garlin returns to Improv Nerd for a really fun interview and improv set. Jeff tells Jimmy about how he turns setbacks into comedy, his relationship with Julia Roberts, and how he manages to stay grounded despite his success. We…
The Denver Improv Scene (Justin Franzen, Kerstin Caldwell, and Eric Farone)
Mar 31, 2014 • 82 min
Denver Colorado has a thriving improv scene with multiple theaters providing training and performance opportunities for aspiring improvisers. Jimmy sat down with some of the leaders of that community, Justin Franzen of Comedy Voodoo Playhouse, Kerstin…
Whirled News Tonight (Brook Breit, Padraic Connelly, and Megan O’Neill)
Mar 25, 2014 • 56 min
Whirled News Tonight is a smart and topical improv show that is a mainstay of iO Chicago, gracing the main stage on Saturday nights for the past 11 years. In this episode, cast members Brook Breit, Padraic Connelly, and Megan O’Neill join Jimmy for a look…
Rebecca Sohn & Ted Tremper
Mar 17, 2014 • 66 min
Rebecca Sohn is among the great improvisers and improv teachers in Chicago, having performed legendary shows at both iO and The Annoyance Theater. Ted Tremper is best known for his two award winning web series Shrink and Break-ups. Rebecca and Ted were…
Brian Posen
Mar 10, 2014 • 64 min
Brian Posen is a beloved figure in the world of Chicago comedy. He is a wildly popular improv teacher for The Secondy City, is the founder and artistic director of the musical sketch troupe The Cupid Players, and is the artistic director of Stage 773 -…
Dan Bakkedahl
Mar 3, 2014 • 86 min
Dan Bakkedahl is one of the stars of FX’s Legit and HBO’s Veep, spent two years as correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and is a veteran of The Second City Chicago. Dan joins Jimmy for a frank discussion of his own securities and how they…
Baby Wants Candy
Feb 24, 2014 • 66 min
Baby Wants Candy is the legendary musical improv troupe that began in Chicago and has toured the world, featuring notable alumni Seth Meyers, Aidy Bryant, and Jack McBrayer, just to name a few. In this episode, cast members Tim Sniffen and Erica Elam, and…
Jamie Campbell
Feb 17, 2014 • 69 min
Jamie Campbell was named the best stand-up comic in Chicago by the Chicago Reader in 2013. He’s also a gifted improviser who performs regularly at ComedySportz. In this powerful episode, Jamie shares the story of his traumatic childhood and explains how…
Tawny Newsome
Feb 10, 2014 • 51 min
Tawny Newsome is a veteran of The Second City mainstage in Chicago. In 2013, Rolling Stone magazine named her one of ten performers that should be hired by SNL. She’s an accomplished actress. She’s a talented musician. She’s the guest on this week’s…
Rick Bayless
Jan 31, 2014 • 67 min
Rick Bayless is a world renowned chef, winner of the popular competitive cooking show Top Chef, and host of his own show on PBS, Mexico: One Plate At A Time. Rick joins Jimmy in this episode to discuss his love of improvisation, how he first caught the…
Jill Bernard
Jan 24, 2014 • 81 min
Jill Bernard is a nationally recognized improv performer and teacher and is one of the founders of HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jimmy paid a visit to Minneapolis and sat down with Jill and discussed how she brings joy to the classroom…
Michael Palascak
Jan 17, 2014 • 61 min
Michael Palascak is a stand-up comedian who has made multiple television appearances including performances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Comedy Central’s The Half Hour. Michael is also a Chicago trained…
Lyndsay Hailey
Jan 10, 2014 • 67 min
Lyndsay Hailey is a multi-talented actress and comedian who recently located from Chicago to Los Angeles. In Chicago, she performed with The Deltones and Chaos Theory at the legendary iO Chicago where she was also a beloved improv teacher. She also worked…
Year In Review - The Most Memorable Moments of 2013
Dec 31, 2013 • 65 min
In this year-end episode, Jimmy, Producer Ben Capraro, and Head of Interns Lauren Carrane sit down to discuss their favorite moments of the show in 2013. Listen in as we review moments with Rossy Bryant, Matt Besser, Andy St. Clair, Chris Witaske, John…
Mike Descoteaux
Dec 23, 2013 • 84 min
Mike Descoteaux is the Chicago-trained Artistic Director of Improv Boston and is a guru of musical improv. In this episode, he and Jimmy discuss the process of improvising on piano and creating an improvised musical. Then they create with one with the…
Brett Lyons
Dec 17, 2013 • 67 min
Brett Lyons is a hometown favorite in Chicago where he performs with the legendary iO team, Deep Schwa. He also tours for The Second City. He sits down with Jimmy to discuss improvising as a full time job and how he learned that his father was in prison.…
Tom Purcell
Dec 10, 2013 • 60 min
Tom Purcell is the executive producer of The Colbert Report and hebegan his career as a Chicago improviser. Tom sits down with Jimmy and discusses how he developed his love for comedy at a young age, his collaboration with Stephen Colbert, and his tips…
Chris Witaske
Nov 29, 2013 • 67 min
The Second City’s Chris Witaske joins Jimmy for a frank discussion about auditioning for SNL, having drinks with Lorne Michaels, and working for the The Second City. In this episode, Jimmy also wishes farewell to a friend and improv legend, the great Jay…
John Hartman
Nov 21, 2013 • 74 min
John Hartman was just cast as a member of the ensemble for The Second City Chicago’s upcoming 102nd Revue (Jimmy predicted this would happen at the end of this episode!). John has also performed in Chicago in shows including Baby Wants Candy and The…
Kevin Dorff
Nov 18, 2013 • 79 min
Kevin Dorff was a writer for Conan O’Brien for many seasons, has appeared on shows including 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, and is a veteran of the main stage at The Second City in Chicago. Kevin joins Jimmy for a discussion of his career, his thoughts…
Horatio Sanz
Nov 8, 2013 • 88 min
Horatio Sanz is an SNL alum, an alum of The Second City, and one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade. Horatio joins Jimmy at Columbia College in Chicago and discusses what drives his comedy, his time on SNL and his time making a name…
Rich Talarico
Oct 23, 2013 • 84 min
Rich Talarico is a writer for Comedy Central’s Key & Peele and has also written for Saturday Night Live, Mad Tv, and The Tonight Show. He is also a gifted improviser and improv teacher. Rich sat down with Jimmy and talked about his career as a performer…
Bill Arnett
Oct 16, 2013 • 69 min
Bill Arnett is pillar of Chicago improv; he’s a beloved teacher and performer with legendary groups People of Earth, 3033 and the Armando. Bill sat down with Jimmy and discussed his approach to scenework, sketch writing, and his very popular improv blog.…
Adal Rifai
Oct 4, 2013 • 78 min
Adal Rifai is a cast member of Revolver and Whirled news tonight at iO Chicago where he’s also a beloved improv teacher. Adal sits down with Jimmy and discusses being a part of the Harold Committee, dealing with bad shows, and his thoughts about good…
Katy Colloton
Sep 27, 2013 • 75 min
Katy Colloton from the popular web series Teachers is an LA based actress and improviser (and recent Chicago ex-pat). Katy sat down with Jimmy before her move and they talked about Teachers and her comedy group The Katydids. Don’t miss this episode.
Improv Allstars (Rachael Mason & Ryan Archibald)
Sep 20, 2013 • 57 min
The Second City’s Improv Allstars is a short form improv show a running in the UP Theater at The Second City Chicago. Rachael Mason and Ryan Archibald - two of Chicago’s finest improvisers - are both part of the cast. They sat down with Jimmy and helped…
Susan Messing
Sep 19, 2013 • 57 min
Susan Messing is an icon of improv comedy and was the guest on the very first episode of Improv Nerd. In this classic episode, we hear the tale of Susan’s audition for SNL and about her unconventional path to the main-stage at The Second City. This…
Sep 9, 2013 • 67 min
Neil Flynn, Pat Finn, Paul Vaillancourt, Pete Hulne, and Mike Coleman are members of legendary improv group BeerSharkMice (member David Koechner was away shooting Anchorman 2). They sat down with Jimmy at iO West to discuss the BeerkSharkMice form,…
Timmy Mayse
Sep 5, 2013 • 71 min
Timmy Mayse is an actor and renowned Chicago improviser. He sat down with Jimmy and discussed his own path to becoming a recognized improviser, benefitting from failure, and doing commercial work. Don’t miss this great episode.
Greg Hess
Aug 26, 2013 • 48 min
Greg Hess joins Jimmy in this episode of Improv Nerd and talks about his recent audition for Saturday Night Live, a pilot he just shot for Comedy Central called Schlub Life, and of course his legendary improv group Cook County Social Club.
Brian Holden
Aug 19, 2013 • 74 min
Team StarKid has taken the internet by storm with its staged parodies of Harry Potter and our guest Brian Holden is a founding member of the group. In this episode, Brian sits down with Jimmy to discuss Team StarKid’s process, how he got involved in…
Frank Caeti
Aug 12, 2013 • 76 min
Frank Caeti is an alum of Mad TV and The Second City ETC and is known for his acclaimed sketch work with Matt Craig as FrankenMatt. Frank chats with Jimmy about his near brush with SNL, working on Mad TV and why he continues to love to improvise. Of…
Ross Bryant
Aug 5, 2013 • 69 min
Rolling Stone magazine named him one of 10 performers who might end up on SNL this coming season. He performed with Sir Patrick Stewart with both The Second City and The Improvised Shakespeare Company. In this episode of Improv Nerd, he sits down with…
Craig Cackowski
Jul 30, 2013 • 87 min
Craig Cackowski is an actor, Second City veteran and teacher of improvisation in LA. Craig and Jimmy have an in depth conversation about the both the artform and business of improv. Craig is a master of improvisation who has worked with just about every…
Michael McCarthy
Jul 23, 2013 • 69 min
Michael McCarthy is a veteran comedy writer, having written for SNL, The Drew Carey Show, According to Jim, Sesame Street, and more and teaches writing at iO Chicago. Michael joins Jimmy for some improv and discussion and shines some light on writing for…
David Razowsky
Jul 15, 2013 • 77 min
David Razowsky is a film and television actor, host of the wonderful ADD Comedy podcast, and veteran of The Second City’s mainstage in Chicago. David sits down with Jimmy to discuss his time as a Chicago improviser, his take on improv as an improv…
Beth Melewski
Jun 24, 2013 • 61 min
Beth Melewski is a beloved Chicago improviser. She sat down with Jimmy to discuss her time on The Second City’s E.T.C. stage, starring on Cash Cab, and how she’s learned to trust her instincts. It’s a great interview followed by some great improv.
Andy Miara
Jun 17, 2013 • 69 min
The Onion’s Andy Miara sits down with Jimmy to discuss his time interning at SNL, touring for Second City with future SNL featured player Tim Robinson, and creating sketches for The Onion News Network. Then Jimmy picks a sketch written by audience members…
Andy St. Clair
Jun 9, 2013 • 63 min
Andy St. Clair, a longtime favorite of the Chicago improv community, sits down with Jimmy and talks about coming up at iO Chicago, his time on The Second City’s main stage and his television and commercial work.
Edgar Blackmon
Jun 3, 2013 • 57 min
Edgar Blackmon, star of The Second City Chicago’s main stage, joins Jimmy for a lively discussion of race and comedy, overcoming personal tragedies, and why an actor can shit on someone’s face as long as it’s funny. Then Edgar joins Jimmy for some very…
Lucas Neff
May 27, 2013 • 63 min
Lucas Neff, one of the stars of FOX’s Raising Hope, sits down with Jimmy to discuss his rambunctious youth, becoming an actor by mistake, and discovering his passion for improvisation. Enjoy!
Holly Laurent
May 16, 2013 • 75 min
Holly Laurent, veteran of the main stage at The Second City Chicago, sits down with Jimmy and discusses her religious upbringing, coming into her own as an improviser and her time at The Second City. Don’t miss this great episode.
John Lutz
Apr 15, 2013 • 67 min
John Lutz, former actor on 30 Rock and SNL writer, joins Jimmy for a personal conversation about his upbringing, getting started in improv, and why Donald Trump was the worst SNL host.
John Lutz
Apr 15, 2013 • 66 min
John Lutz, former actor on 30 Rock and SNL writer, joins Jimmy for a personal conversation about his upbringing, getting started in improv, and why Donald Trump was the worst SNL host.
Dan Harmon
Apr 5, 2013 • 112 min
Dan Harmon, creator of NBC’s Community and host of the podcast Harmontown, sits down with Jimmy in this radically honest interview to discuss his start at ComedySportz in Milwaukee, the frustrations of the creative process of producing a network sitcom,…
Andy Richter
Mar 29, 2013 • 66 min
Andy Richter, longtime sidekick to Conan O’Brien, joins Jimmy at iO West for a completely candid interview and a wonderful improv set. Don’t miss Andy explain how he came to be hired by Late Night, his evolution as an actor, and the true identity of Paul…
Matt Besser
Mar 14, 2013 • 88 min
Matt Besser, a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, hosts Jimmy at the UCB Theater LA. Matt bears all for Jimmy, discussing his time in Chicago, the founding of UCB, the recent controversy over paying performers, and even a relationship that…
Amanda Blake Davis
Feb 8, 2013 • 67 min
Before moving to Los Angeles in 2012, Amanda Blake Davis was a favorite of the Chicago improv scene. She starred in revues at The Second City Chicago, earning a JEFF Award for that work, and could regularly be seen at iO and The Annoyance Theater. Amanda…
Steve Waltien
Jan 21, 2013 • 58 min
Steve Waltien from The Second City mainstage joins Jimmy for a frank conversation about overcoming anxiety, how the death of his father informed his work, and the shelf life of a good shirt. Then, Steve and Jimmy find themselves in a bunker with ominous…
Tim Baltz
Jan 4, 2013 • 65 min
Tim Baltz sits down with Jimmy and describes the evolution of his sense of humor, growing up in a multicultural home, and learning to be comfortable with self confidence. Then Tim and Jimmy perform a wonderful set of scenes that demonstrate why Tim is one…
Tim Baltz
Jan 4, 2013 • 65 min
Tim Baltz sits down with Jimmy and describes the evolution of his sense of humor, growing up in a multicultural home, and learning to be comfortable with self confidence. Then Tim and Jimmy perform a wonderful set of scenes that demonstrate why Tim is one…
Peter Gwinn
Dec 21, 2012 • 58 min
Peter Gwinn wrote for The Colbert Report for over 6 years, earning an on-air farewell when he left. Peter is also one of the co-writers of The Secondy City’s Twist Your Dickens holiday revue in Los Angeles. Listen in as Peter and Jimmy talk about Peter’s…
Jeff Garlin
Dec 11, 2012 • 28 min
Jeff Garlin sits down with Jimmy 90 minutes before doing a solo show at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. Jeff talks about his method to approaching improvised standup comedy and the process that creates Curb Your Enthusiasm. Listen in!
Katie Rich
Nov 15, 2012 • 60 min
Katie Rich, one of the stars of The Second City Chicago’s 99th and 100th Revues, joins Jimmy for a candid interview and a fantastic improv set. We’ve had a string of great shows during our Fall 2012 run at Stage 773, this one was especially fun.
John Hildreth
Nov 15, 2012 • 60 min
John Hildreth, the influential performer and instructor at The Second City in Chicago, joins Jimmy for a great discussion on improv and then John and Jimmy give a clinic on the art of slow comedy. John is one of our favorite improvisers in Chicago, listen…
Charna Halpern
Nov 15, 2012 • 58 min
Charna Halpern drops by for one of our favorite episodes of Improv Nerd yet. Charna talks about her partnership with Del Close, the many talented performers that have performed at her theater over the years, and her long, storied career in improv. Then,…
Keegan-Michael Key
Nov 15, 2012 • 74 min
Keegan-Michael Key, co-star of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, sat down with Jimmy at the 2012 Detroit Improv Festival in August and discussed his days growing up in Detroit, his transformation from classical theater to improv, and how his fellow theater…
Norm Holly
Nov 15, 2012 • 66 min
Norm Holly, legendary Second City director and teacher, sits down with Jimmy to discuss his tendency to cause trouble, his success as a director, and what Andy Dick was like before he got famous. There’s even a special guest. Listen in.
Magnet Theater Touring Co.
Nov 15, 2012 • 69 min
Earlier this year, Jimmy had the chance to sit down and talk with Megan Gray, Rick Andrews and Louis Kornfeld - three improvisers from the Magnet Theater Co. in New York who were in town for the Chicago Improv Festival. They discussed the similarities and…
Bassprov (Joe Bill & Mark Howard Sutton)
Nov 15, 2012 • 62 min
Joe Bill and Mark Sutton, original Annoyance Theater members and the guys behind Bassprov, stop by to discuss the early days of the annoyance theater, how to stay relevant in improv, and how Mark became to known as Howard.
Scott Adsit
Nov 14, 2012 • 48 min
Scott Adsit was in town for Just For Laughs and sat down with Jimmy to talk about his college days studying acting in Chicago, his time at The Second City, and his many television projects, including 30 Rock, Mr. Show and Frankenhole.
Brendan Jennings
Nov 14, 2012 • 61 min
Brendan Jennings is beloved in Chicago for his work on the Second City ETC stage and with Cook County Social Club. In 2012 he was invited to perform on the new faces in comedy at the Montreal Just For Laughs festival. In this episode, Brendan sits down…
Brian Stack
Nov 14, 2012 • 61 min
Brian Stack has written for Conan O’Brien for 15 years, creating such memorable characters for the show as Artie Kendall, The Interruptor, and Andy Richter’s little sister Stacy. Brian joins Jimmy for this live episode of Improv Nerd where they discuss…
Kevin McDonald
Nov 14, 2012 • 48 min
Kevin McDonald of the legendary sketch group Kids In The Hall joins Jimmy for a candid conversation about his friendships with Mike Meyers and Dave Foley and the evolution of Kids In The Hall.
David Koechner
Nov 14, 2012 • 46 min
David Koechner of Anchorman and NBC’s The Office sits down to talk with Jimmy about his time studying with Del Close, his tenure at SNL, the making of Anchorman and more.
Tim Robinson & Dina Facklis
Nov 14, 2012 • 59 min
SNL featured player Tim Robinson and veteran Chicago improviser Dina Facklis sit down with Jimmy to talk about how Dina gave up traditional theater for improv and why Tim grew up being known as a sass mouth.
Ike Barinholtz & Jon Barinholtz
Nov 14, 2012 • 46 min
Ike Barinholtz and his brother Jon Barinholtz sit down with Jimmy to discuss Ike’s run on both Mad TV and HBO’s Eastbond And Down, the importance of staying positive about your career, and the benefits of having a funny, supportive family.
Rachel Dratch
Nov 14, 2012 • 54 min
Rachel Dratch drops by to talk with Jimmy about her new book, her days on SNL, and the joy she’s found in her life as a mother.
Greg Proops
Nov 14, 2012 • 64 min
Greg Proops sits down with Jimmy to discuss his life as an improviser and comedian, the impact of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and the intersection of improv and show business.
Matt Walsh
Nov 14, 2012 • 60 min
Matt Walsh, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, stops by the Improv Nerd studio to discuss his new film High Road and his role in HBO’s new series Veep with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Key & Peele
Nov 14, 2012 • 44 min
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of the new Comedy Central hit Key & Peele, stop by for a special episode of Improv Nerd With Jimmy Carrane. In this candid interview, Key and Peele address some of their critics, discuss their philosophy for…
The Improvised Shakespeare Company (Joey Bland and Ross Bryant)
Nov 14, 2012 • 58 min
Jimmy sits talks and improvises with Joey Bland and Ross Bryant from the Improvised Shakespeare Company. Joey shares his secret to being a two time Jeopardy champion while Ross shows off his funky fresh flow.
Middle Age Comeback (Jimmy Carlson and Craig Uhlir)
Nov 14, 2012 • 54 min
In this episode of Improv Nerd, Jimmy talks and improvises with Middle Age Comeback, two gentlemen otherwise known as Jimmy Carlson and Craig Uhlir. Listen in as we discover how Jim and Craig first met as improv students, why Craig is done sketch work,…
Dummy (Jason Shotts and Colleen Doyle)
Nov 14, 2012 • 61 min
This episode of Improv Nerd features Dummy, the two person improv team composed of off-stage couple Jason Shotts and Colleen Doyle. In this episode, we hear about how the two met, why fight about improv more than anything else, and what really happened to…
The Playboys (Susan Messing, Rachael Mason, Kate Duffy)
Nov 14, 2012 • 56 min
Listen in as Improv Nerd is overtaken by The Playboys - the dynamic improv group consisting of Susan Messing, Rachael Mason and Kate Duffy. During this episode, we learn about how they came together as a group, their thoughts on going blue and the kinds…
Mick Napier
Nov 14, 2012 • 57 min
Jimmy sits down for a candid conversation with legendary improviser and director Mick Napier. Mick discusses his formation of the Annoyance Theater, his work with Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert, and how he came to deconstruct the rules of improvisation.
TJ Jagodowski
Nov 14, 2012 • 65 min
There are very few improvisers on the planet that are as respected and admired as TJ Jagodowski. In this episode of Improv Nerd, Jimmy talks with TJ about some the personal tragedy and heartache he has endured, the chemistry that makes TJ & Dave so…
David Pasquesi
Nov 14, 2012 • 56 min
In this episode of Improv Nerd, Jimmy sits down with David Pasquesi - one of Chicago’s most celebrated improvisers. David discusses his days with Del Close, his partnership with TJ Jagodowski, and what keeps him motivated as an improviser.
Michael Patrick Thornton
Nov 14, 2012 • 51 min
Michael Patrick Thornton, one of the stars of ABC’s Private Practice, improvises with Jimmy and tells us about his evolution as an actor and opening an independent theater on Chicago’s north side.
Jet Eveleth
Nov 14, 2012 • 58 min
In this episode, Jimmy interviews and then improvises with one of Chicago’s great improvisers, Jet Eveleth. Jet Eveleth is a member of the The Reckoning and she can also be seen in The Armando Diaz Experience at the iO Theater. Jet has been an instructor…
Cook County Social Club
Nov 14, 2012 • 3 min
In this episode, Jimmy interviews and improvises with Bill Cochran, Greg Hess, Mark Raterman, and Tim Robinson of Chicago’s own Cook County Social Club. We get the scoop about their work for Comedy Central and how Tim channels all that nervous energy.
Tim Meadows
Nov 14, 2012 • 66 min
In this episode, Jimmy interviews and improvises with former SNL star Tim Meadows. We learn about how Tim got back into improv following his run on SNL and why Tim hates seeing adults play children on stage.
Tara DeFrancisco
Nov 14, 2012 • 72 min
In the latest installment of Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane, we learn about Tara DeFrancisco’s auditions for SNL, personal forces that shape her approach toward improv, and why it makes her nervous to see her students at a show. Then Tara and Jimmy treat…
Michael Gellman
Nov 14, 2012 • 53 min
In this Episode, Jimmy interviews The Second City’s legendary improv teacher, director, and performer Michael Gellman. We learn about Michael’s experience teaching a famous Hollywood actress and his advice to Chris Farley. And as the cold winds begin…