I had a great opportunity a few years ago to make routine visits to Chicago for my job. I was able to make the most of it by seeing as many shows as I could at the iO, Second City, and the Annoyance Theater. Wednesday nights were my favorite at the iO. The show that I was the most excited about was TJ and Dave. In my opinion, TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are the two best improvisers in the country. They perform a 50 minute two person improvised play in real time, and every time I went to see them it was standing room only. You may be thinking, ‘If they are that good why wouldn’t it be standing room only?’ Well, the show starts at 11pm,…on a Wednesday. The show has also been running once a week in Chicago for 10 years.
What impressed me the most about attending those shows was that the room was filled with improvisers. As I waited for the show I could hear the other patrons talking about their classes and shows they were performing in. I could also feel the excitement they shared for watching these two local heroes.
The improv scene in Denver has boomed since I started 10 years ago. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it, and to watch it blossom over the years. I hope that it will continue to grow, but the one thing I feel that Denver needs is that same excitement and support I have witnessed at shows in Chicago, Austin, LA, and New York. I realize that those markets are significantly larger than Denver, but without improvisers supporting other improvisers, I often wonder if Denver improv will be able to reach the next level.
Denver has wonderful shows taking place all over the city almost every night of the week. We also have fantastic performers that we can all learn from no matter your level of experience. With so much improv happening in so many places, everyone is fighting for the same audience. Why fight? If we support one another that will go a long way in building stronger audiences and a stronger community.
I encourage you to go see more shows. If you are performing at a 9:00 pm show find out who is performing at 8:00 pm and see if you can agree to watch each other. Contact groups playing on a different night and see if you can be part of each other’s audience. Support. See. Be seen.
P.S. I’d also highly recommend seeing the TJ and Dave documentary “Trust Us, This Is All Made Up”.