detroit-improv-festival

Photo credit: Erin Kirkland.

Comedy Festival Shines Spotlight on Detroit Improv Community


Where can you spend your evenings this week, enjoying some of the best entertainment around? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not on your couch, binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix. Give up? All right. Three words: Detroit Improv Festival.

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Now in its seventh year, Detroit Improv Festival (DIF) brings about the best talent the Detroit area has to offer while reeling in top-notch comedians from around the country. Spread across four days (August 9-12), the festival will take place at three main venues in Ferndale: Go Comedy! Improv Theater, Ringwald Theater and the ballroom at Local Kitchen and Bar.

DIF was started in an effort to shine a spotlight on Detroit’s improv & comedy talent and show it to the world, according to Go Comedy! producer and Detroit Improv Collective, Inc. vice president PJ Jacokes.

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Photo credit: Erin Kirkland.

The whole thing kicks off with a special showcase/fundraiser from the Detroit Creativity Project (DCP) on Wednesday, August 9 at 7 p.m. at the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit. DCP is a free program for Detroit middle and high school students that teaches them improvisational theater. Through this training, students come away with newfound confidence and skills in public speaking, adapting to new situations and more. Wednesday’s showcase will feature improv performances by DCP students and teachers.

Organizing talent for a festival can be a daunting task. This year, DIF received 87 submissions from local and national troupes after putting out a call for submissions. After watching all of the submissions, those 87 submissions needed to be narrowed down to 48 for the festival, Jacokes said.

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Photo credit: Erin Kirkland.

Some of the local comedians and troupes you can catch this week include Birdbox Players and Presto Change-O from Ferndale; Date Night and Natural Born Killaz from Detroit; The League of Pointless Improvisers from Ann Arbor and Planet Ant Home Team from Hamtramck. National teams include The 313 from Second City Hollywood, Orange Tuxedo from Los Angeles, Fake Cops from Toronto and Laffrican Americans from Washington D.C. For a full schedule, click here.

Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson of Comedy Central’s Detroiters will be making appearances at Go Comedy! Improv Theater on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. Jacokes, Richardson and Robinson are longtime friends and have performed in comedy troupes in the past.

Returning performer and well-known comedian Paul F. Tompkins will also be performing at multiple times and locations on Friday and Saturday.

So, where are you going to be spending your evenings this week? At home binging whatever show you’re hooked on? Instead, go out and catch a live improv show right here in metro Detroit! Don’t worry. Netflix will still be there when you get back.

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