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Comedy and Improvisation

This section contains essays and videos about writing and performing comedy and improvisation. A great introduction to the topic is Matthew McMahan’s essay “Laughing Matters: How Comedy Tells Us Who We Are.”

The Latest

Why Comedy? Why Now?: On the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval
Essay
Why Comedy? Why Now?: On the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval
by Trevor Boffone
23 June 2022
Best Medicine: Why We Need the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval
Essay
Best Medicine: Why We Need the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval
by Amelia Acosta Powell
9 June 2022
Gender Euphoria, Episode 8: QTPOC Comedy: Connecting, Communing, Creating Compassion
Podcast
Gender Euphoria, Episode 8: QTPOC Comedy: Connecting, Communing, Creating Compassion
With D’Lo
by Nicolas Shannon Savard, D'Lo .
28 March 2022
LTC attendees standing in front of a mural at Su Teatro.
Why Comedy? Why Now?: On the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval
Essay

Why Comedy? Why Now?: On the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval

23 June 2022

Trevor Boffone reflects on the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) Comedy Carnaval that convened at Su Teatro in Denver, Colorado, which was comprised of productions, readings, panels, and special sessions that showcased the depth and range of Latinx comedy in theatre.

 

2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval
Video

2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval

Highlighting some of the best Latinx comedic talent in the country

Thursday 9 June to Saturday 11 June
Denver, Colorado

The 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) Comedy Carnaval presented a broad range of Latinx comedy content and conversations. Programming will highlight artistic voices and content creators who practice comedic arts through theatre, stand-up, sketch, improv, podcasts, and webseries.

Best Medicine: Why We Need the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval
Essay

Best Medicine: Why We Need the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval

9 June 2022

Amelia Acosta Powell describes the creation and intention behind Comedy Carnaval, an LTC event that invites Latine theatremakers to laugh in the face of oppression.

Gender Euphoria teaser image.
Gender Euphoria, Episode 8: QTPOC Comedy: Connecting, Communing, Creating Compassion
Podcast

Gender Euphoria, Episode 8: QTPOC Comedy: Connecting, Communing, Creating Compassion

With D’Lo

28 March 2022

Gender Euphoria, the Podcast host Nicolas Shannon Savard sits down with actor, writer, and comedian D’Lo to talk about his career and how he uses comedy and storytelling as tools for connection, education, and compassion.

2022 Comedy Carnaval Banner
2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval Announcement
Essay

2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnaval Announcement

24 March 2022

The Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) announces the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval, June 9-11, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. The convening is hosted by Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center. …because the past two years have been so rough that we gotta ducking laugh 🦆

Learning About the History—and Future—of Stand-up Comedy
Podcast

Learning About the History—and Future—of Stand-up Comedy

With Rachel Blackburn

29 September 2021

Michael Lueger is joined by director, performer, and educator Dr. Rachel Blackburn to discuss diversity and intersectionality within the stand-up comedy world and how comics are engaging with social issues and movements.

Glod in red, a silhouette of a person with their arm raised.
A Discussion on Peace by Piece by Nabil Sawalha
Video

A Discussion on Peace by Piece by Nabil Sawalha

Part of BÉZNĂ Theatre's GLOD: Political Theatre as a Civil Right series

Monday 17 August 2020
International

Glod: Political Theatre as a Civil Right presented Peace by Piece by Nabil Sawalha livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 17 August 2020 at 10 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 1 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 6 p.m. BST (London, UTC +1) / 8 p.m. EEST (Cluj, UTC +3).

Writing Killer Short Plays with Steve Yockey
Video

Writing Killer Short Plays with Steve Yockey

with playwright Lauren Gunderson

Wednesday 6 May 2020
United States

Playwright Lauren Gunderson presented Writing Killer Short Plays with Steve Yockey livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 6 May 2020 at 1 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 3 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 4 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 21:00 BST (London, UTC+1) / 22:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).

Headshots of Tori Sampson, Leah Nanako Winkler, Larissa FastHorse, and Jonathan Spector.
Comedy + Playwrighting Class!
Video

Comedy + Playwrighting Class!

with playwright Lauren Gunderson

Tuesday 5 May 2020
United States

Playwright Lauren Gunderson presented Comedy + Playwrighting livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 5 May 2020 at 12 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 2 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 3 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:00 BST (London, UTC+1) / 21:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).

two actors onstage
Writing Comedy and Wielding Power
Essay

Writing Comedy and Wielding Power

27 January 2020

Madeleine George and Mike Lew talk about writing comedy for theatre, vulnerability as playwrights, working with different aesthetics, and more.

three actors onstage, one jumping in the air.
On Bicultural Comedy
Essay

On Bicultural Comedy

An Interview with Herbert Sigüenza

5 January 2020

Matthew McMahan talks to playwright Herbert Siguenza about branching out as a solo writer after years as a member of Culture Clash, writing bilingual comedy, and more.

pink flyer for the hemispheric institute 2019
Encuentro 2019 hosted by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
Video

Encuentro 2019 hosted by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics

The World Inside Out: Humor, Noise, and Performance

Sunday 9 June to Thursday 13 June 2019
Mexico City

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University presented events from their Encuentro 2019 livestreaming from Mexico City on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Sunday 9 June to Thursday 13 June 2019.

two actors in costume
Laughing Matters
Essay

Laughing Matters

How Comedy Tells Us Who We Are

14 February 2019

Professor Matthew McMahan talks about the importance of understanding comedy’s theatrical history: how it has evolved, what it says about a society, and why the genre shouldn’t be forgotten in the American theatre.

We Had a Convening About Comedy in Theatre and People Couldn’t Stop Farting
Essay

We Had a Convening About Comedy in Theatre and People Couldn’t Stop Farting

27 November 2018

Playwright Peter Nachtrieb gives his reflections on the Comedy Convening co-hosted by HowlRound in Boston, MA on 17 and 18 October 2018. 

Neal Brennan, Mike Birbiglia, and the Rise of Personal Comedy Theatre
Essay

Neal Brennan, Mike Birbiglia, and the Rise of Personal Comedy Theatre

30 June 2017

Brett Aresco looks at personal comedy theatre and recent shows by Neal Brennan and Mike Birbiglia.

The I Told You Show
Essay

The I Told You Show

Anthony Atamanuik’s Take on Trump, The Election, and Where It All Went Wrong

31 March 2017

Allison Raynor interviews Anthony Atamanuik, a Donald Trump impersonator who critiques both the president and audiences in his latest solo piece.

One Man, Two Guvnors
Essay

One Man, Two Guvnors

When farce meets satire

28 February 2017

Anđela Vidović critiques the relevance of a Croatian adaptation of Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors.

Sexism and Spunk Duel Masterfully on Stage at DC’s Keegan Theatre
Essay

Sexism and Spunk Duel Masterfully on Stage at DC’s Keegan Theatre

3 November 2016

Patricia Davis on Keegan Theatre’s production of What We’re Up Against by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Susan Marie Rhea.

Neil Simon’s Legacy has Spoiled his Best Plays for Millennials
Essay

Neil Simon’s Legacy has Spoiled his Best Plays for Millennials

29 September 2016

Ricky Young-Howze writes about Neil Simon’s influence on pop culture comedic tropes.

Reconstructing and Reimagining
Essay

Reconstructing and Reimagining

Noah Diamond and the First Marx Brothers Musical

9 July 2016

David Levy discusses Noah Diamond’s adaptation and revival of I’ll Say She Is, the musical debut of the Marx Brothers. 

The Goodman Theatre revives Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker
Essay

The Goodman Theatre revives Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker

6 May 2016

David Dudley interviews members of the creative team behind the Goodman Theatre’s recent production of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker.

The Dangerous Old Ladies of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord
Essay

The Dangerous Old Ladies of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord

19 April 2016

Ellen Mareneck on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord, directed by David Hyde Pierce at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York. 

The Gainesville - Chicago Improv Connection
Essay

The Gainesville - Chicago Improv Connection

6 February 2016

Andrew Bailes describes the unlikely link between the Gainesville, Florida and Chicago, Illinois improv communities.

dramatists guild logo
Joe Toplyn on Comedy Writing for Late Night TV
Video

Joe Toplyn on Comedy Writing for Late Night TV

Thursday 13 November 2014
New York City, NY, United States

The Dramatists Guild of America in association with Harvardwood presented Joe Toplyn on Comedy Writing for Late Night TV, moderated by Jane Condon,  livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 13 November at 3:30 p.m. PST (Los Angeles) / 5:30 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 6:30 p.m. EST (New York) / 23:30 GMT (London). 

Logo for the Torch Theatre Book Club.
"Improvised Book Club" & Asking Your Audience to Do Homework
Essay

"Improvised Book Club" & Asking Your Audience to Do Homework

25 July 2013

Alice Stanley Jr. describes her experince at The Toch Theatre's "Improvised Book Club" and writes about how an audiences' preparation affects their involvement.