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Workshop: Improv for Stand Up

March 27 @ 11:00 AM 1:00 PM CDT

Is your joke writing killing it, but you are finding yourself tied to your pre-planned delivery? This workshop will help you improvise your way through tricky moments, audience interactions, and the dreaded “oh shit I forgot what I am doing next!” situations. Join Rachael Mason and Susan Messing, two of the top improv teachers and improvisers in Chicago, who will line you up with some great skills to take your stand up to the next level.


Rachael Mason began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, concentrating on Shakespearean Studies, she moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. She was the head of Advanced Improvisation for The Second City where she created the Scenic Improv and Dramatic Improv programs as well as The History of Satire Series for The Second City Training Center. She has performed musical improv with Baby Wants Candy at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, directed and performed at The Annoyance, played with The Hot Karl at ComedySportz, and had almost every job at iO (where she was Training Center Director for 8 years), done The Spoleto Festival with The Second City National Touring Company and improvised in The Second City Improv All-Stars. Besides when she is touring the world with her comedy wife Susan messing as The Boys, she is most happy when she is teaching improv.

Susan Messing, a NJ native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Theatre School, has been an improviser and comedian for thirty five years.  She is an alumna of the iO Theatre, Second City’s Mainstage, and a founding member of Chicago’s infamous Annoyance Theatre.  Susan created and has taught her curriculum at iO and iO West, The Annoyance Theatre, The Second City, and around the globe. Susan has been an adjunct instructor for Loyola University, DePaul University, The School at Steppenwolf, and currently teaches for The University of Chicago.  Her standup act with her puppet, Jolly, was featured at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and NBC’s Late Fridays. Her most impressive bit movie role was as a bad stripper in a halo brace in Let’s Go to Prison!  She performed at the iO with Blaine Swen in ‘Blessing’ with Norm Holly in ‘Molly,’  at The Annoyance in her critically acclaimed show, Messing with a Friend, and with The Boys at The Second City. She was in the lineup for the TBS/Just For Laughs festival all five years of its residence in Chicago.  She presented ‘Braving the Unknown’ at TedXUofC in 2014. However, the world is currently burning, so right now she mostly teaches around the world from her basement.

  • “Improviser of the Year” – Chicago Improv Festival 
  • “Best Improviser” – Chicago Reader
  • “Funniest Woman in Chicago” – Chicago Magazine
851 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657 United States
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(773) 697-9693
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