Kansas City is known for a lot of things—barbecue, fountains, Patrick Mahomes—and increasingly, comedy. In 2010, Rob Riggle put Kansas City on the comedy map by collaborating with some of his famous comedian friend with KC roots s to put on The Big Slick, a fundraiser for Children’s Mercy. And it features some big names year after year. Kansas City is a place for comedy now. Here are some details on Kansas City Improv.
Improv over stand-up
Don’t get me wrong, stand-up is amazing. It’s relevant, clever, and biting, but it’s all scripted out. In fact, have you ever been to a stand-up show where the material is the exact same as the comedian’s Netflix special you watched last week? Well, that never happens in improv. In fact, on an improv stage, you’re probably seeing a whole group of people you’ve never even heard of doing things they’ve never even tried before. The humor is in the surprising way they can turn random facts and phrases and other audience suggestions into a funny act.
The KC Improv Company
Located in the basement of the Westport Coffeehouse at 4010 Pennsylvania Avenue, the KC Improv Company puts on live shows every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm and 10pm in the Kick Comedy Theater. There’s even a family friendly show on Saturdays at 6:30. Or you can sneak through the Green Room for a burger and a beer and come in the back basement. You’ll see different teams of comedians each night, sometimes competing and sometimes just going all out for two hours of nonstop laughter.
The KC Improv Festival
Here’s the good news…the Kansas City Improv Festival is coming up and it’s a great way to sample some improv before the summer ends. On August 16th and 17th, it features Off Book, an improvised musical that’s also showcased on a regular podcast. And on August 23rd and 24th, Liss n’ Sams will perform. Joe Liss and Marcus Sams have big names on their resumes, like Second City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Third Rock from the Sun and countless improv festivals around the country. And there’s so much more, still to be put on the schedule, so pay attention!
Even if improv isn’t your thing, you have to give these comedians credit for getting up on stage each night, not sure of what’s going to happen, what suggestions the audience is going to throw out, where the other cast members are taking their scene, and which clever lines will work and which won’t. It’s impressive and it takes a lot of courage, confidence, and trust. And sometimes, a joke doesn’t work, which means that have to be resilient, get back up there, and try again. For tips on local comedy or how to find a job in a tight market, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh