Tag Archives: Ian Schempp

Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas

You better watch out. You better not cry. The original Christmas creep is back for his tenth season of ruining your precious holiday memories right before your eyes!

For those looking to escape the sickening sweetness of most holiday specials with a completely different sickening feeling, Jet City Improv is proud to announce the return of UNCLE MIKE RUINS CHRISTMAS, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 from November 25 through December 23.

As it has since 2007, every performance of this hit comedy gathers cheery and authentic Christmas memories from members of the audience that are then re-enacted live on-stage with a sappy saccharine charm. But every new season means more fresh meat, and it’s only a matter of time before Uncle Mike with all of his obscenity, vulgarity and bearded debauchery shows up to work his depraved magic. He defiles everything he touches until the once-precious memory is forever changed into something downright offensive, raunchy, and obscene. Before the dust and spittle can settle on the now-twisted Christmas of yesteryear, Mike has moved on to the next unsuspecting anecdote, covering a whole host of memories in one night like some sort of belligerent Santa Claus.

To celebrate ten holiday seasons under the tyranny of Uncle Mike, ten tickets to each performance will be made available for just $10 each on a first come, first-served basis starting at 12:01am on November 25 at jetcityimprov.org. Audiences in attendance at this year’s shows will also be able to purchase Uncle Mike’s Gingerbread Cookies” adorned with a very unconventional frosting design at the Jet City Improv concessions stand while supplies last.

. . . the satisfaction of watching groan-inducing Hallmark sentiments churned into late-night ribaldry. Seattle Met

. . . a foul, perverted, and often funny satire of family dysfunction. Seattle Weekly

This show is for mature audiences only. You’ve been warned.

Mike Murphy
Graham Downing
Nick Edwards
Alison Lührs
Mandy Price
Ian Schempp
Kalya Teel
Stephani Thompson

Created and directed by Douglas Willott
Live music by Rob Scherzer
Technical improvisation by Amanda Walker

Halloween Hell Harvest (of Comedy!)

Seattlecomedy.org presents its first ever original production: Halloween Hell Harvest (of Comedy!)
A collaboration of a few of Seattle’s weirdest minded sketch comedy writers and performers creating an entirely new, dark, bizarre, and sometimes surreal collection of horror comedy sketches. HHH’s sketches will range from strange and macabre looks at everyday places and events such as small down dinners and crafting shows to delightfully silly looks at familiar horror staples like interdimensional Lovecraftian horrors, Dr.Moreau’s abominations of science, and the real life terrors of sleep paralysis. Halloween Hell Harvest will be strange, creepy, unsettling, hilarious and all together entertaining.

Halloween Hell Harvest features a Seattle sketch comedy all star” cast that is: Elizabeth Brammer (Liz & Joel, Unexpected Productions), Kevin Clarke(The Entertainment Show, Weird and Awesome w/ Emmett Montgomery),Samantha Demboski (Fifty Percent Less Bear, BEEF!), Tom Gibbons (Tomato Tomato), Matt Hatfield (Drop the Root Beer and Run, Matt-enee), Elena Martinez (Sober Virgin, Getting Naked with Friends), Jason Miller (Ubiquitous They, Jason & Spike), Kara O’Connor (Day Job, The Fantastic Miss Adventures of Twisty Shakes),Matt Olson (Smat!, Drop the Root Beer and Run), and Joel Osborne (Liz and Joel).

In addition to the performance from the show’s main cast, each night will also feature guest performances from notable Seattle comedians and horror enthusiasts;
-Stand up comedian and creepy doll collector, Allison Lizotte (Oct 27th)
-Monster themed sketch comedy from Death and Taxes (Chris Allen and Graham Downing Oct 28th)
-Experts of the paranormal and occult: The Gloomwhisper Entrancement(Improvisers Elicia Wickstead and Ian Schempp Oct 29th).
-Each night will also feature a short film debut from Kara O’Connor, Matt Hatfield, Wes Johnson, featuring a brand new song from local sci fi synthpop hero, Jesse Mercury.
-Every night will also include a Costume Contest! Prizes! And of course, Candy!

October 27th, 28th, & 29th
Doors Open at 7:30, show starts at 8.
$16 at the door but $13 online!

Online Tickets available at: https://slate.vbotickets.com/event/Halloween_Hell_Harvest_of_Comedy/16599


[Performances at the Pocket are $10 online and $14 at the door. Online sales close Noon day of show. See all the shows for just $25 buy buying an all evening pass]

1 day, 11 shows, Ian has to be in all of them

Sunday, April 24th @ 3:00pm
Sunday, April 24th @ 4:00pm
Sunday, April 24th @ 5:00pm
Sunday, April 24th @ 6:30pm
Sunday, April 24th @ 7:30pm
Sunday, April 24th @ 8:30pm ROAST!

Tickets http://bit.ly/SCHFEST

Show Description Schemppfest is a one-day festival of 10 improvised duos and 1 roast, each one containing Seattle improviser Ian Schempp. Most of the shows have never been performed before. Some of the shows will almost definitely never be performed again. At least one of the shows will be magical. None of the shows are scripted in any way.

Doug Willott Producer, Actor
John Faga Actor
Elicia Wickstead Actor
Phill Arensberg Actor
David Gordon Technical Improviser
There will be probably 8 more actors, but we don’t know who yet.

Producer bio Ian has been improvising since 1997 and has been a part of Jet City Improv since 2004. Since joining JCI, he has been seen in many shows, such as Jet City’s flagship show, Twisted Flicks, Election Show, Quiz Show, Suave, and Funbucket. He is also the creator/director of the hit shows Shades of Gray, This Improvised Life, Funbucket, Unspeakable Horrors, and Explorer’s Club. He has two wonderful children and an amazing wife, to whom everything he does, including this, is devoted.

Cast Of One Season 2: Featuring Joe Vella

One featured improviser will perform a one-person production, in which they play every character. The audience will choose the story: any book, film or play ever created. With only the help of a quick glance at the synopsis, will they create an entirely improvised, once-in-a-lifetime adaptation of the work in question. In this show the improviser has no safety-net, no partner, no one to help. All they have is their wit, talent and a room full of strangers watching them attempt the bravest act a performer can attempt.

Tall Tales

Debuts  Thursday, January 7th at 8pm and will run every Thursday and Friday at 8pm through February 12th.

How did the robin get its red breast? How’d the moon get hung up so high? Curious souls from far and wide are invited to gather round the campfire, ask a big question, and hear one doozy of a tale in the style of American folk classics like Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill.

Tickets Available Here

Tall Tales is the newest installment to Jet City Improvs line of improvised plays. Unlike most short-form improv formats that involve improvisers switching from game to game and creating brand new scenes every time, Jet City Improv Presents is an ongoing series of longform improv shows that present one or many stories around one cohesive theme. Improv still lies at the heart of each show, and every story is created based on unique suggestions and input every night. So yes, even though Jet City Improv Presents shows have sets and costumes and some thematic rules, the major role of the audience guarantees that no two performances are ever alike.

Challenge Yourself to Fail.

(Note: I’ll likely be writing more blog posts in the future, but for the moment will be transferring over some posts about improv I originally wrote on my blog, An Hour of Play. This is one such example.)

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while now, and ironically, the reason I haven’t is because I want it to be perfect. I’m disobeying the damned title of the post! So here, finally, we go.

There is something that has happened so often in my time improvising, or that I’ve heard so often, that I’ve come to think that if there is one true rule of improv, it is this: Fail big! I’ll give some examples.


1) At the most recent SFIT Dust-up on closing night, I was fortunate enough to be grouped with Mike Christensen, Kate Jaeger, and Mike Murphy of Jet City Improv (Seattle); Joel Dale of Improsia (Seattle); and Antonella Serra and Enzo Zammuto of B-Teatro Boxeattori (Turin, Italy). For the SFIT Dust-up, each group has a bit over ten minutes to decide on a format before performing. Kate said that she wanted to do a set in which we spoke in whatever language we wished, especially for the Italian performers to be allowed to perform in Italian. We wound up speaking five different languages (if dialects count as languages) over the course of 12 minutes: English, Italian, French, Klingon, and Boomhauer Mushmouth. And it was a blast.

Mike Christensen, Enzo Zammuto, and Kate Jaeger (photo by Todd Gardiner)
Mike Christensen, Enzo Zammuto, and Kate Jaeger (photo by Todd Gardiner)

By far my favorite part was the final scene. In the wings just before they went on, Enzo nudged Kate and whispered, Me English, you Italian. And out they went. Enzo spoke nothing but English and Kate spoke nothing but Italian. And… IT. WAS. AWESOME. I could describe the scene, but are descriptions of past improv scenes ever truly satisfying? Trust that it was incredible. I mean, just look at that picture (for more of Todd’s amazing pix, go here).


On the way out of the theater after the show, I said to Kate how happy I was that she’d suggested the format. She commented that it was the most scared she’d been doing improv in years. And we both looked each other with huge grins on our faces and asked each other something along the lines of, How awesome is that?!

I hope you, reading this, know Kate. But if you don’t, know this: she’s a Seattle treasure. An awesome human being, an award-winning actress, a brilliant singer, and one of the best improvisers in town. She’s not someone you would think of being afraid on stage. And yet… having had that moment doing improv made her positively giddy talking about it afterward.

2) This one’s shorter, I promise. Ian Schempp? Know him? Awesome improviser, great improv teacher. Had him for a long-form essentials class a few years back. The single thing I remember best about that class? He said (and I may be paraphrasing), I’d rather do a terrible show than a mediocre one. Because if it was terrible, it meant I was trying something. If it was mediocre, I was just playing it safe.

Hell, yeah.

“The Adventures of Gilbert & Sullivan”

3) A couple years back, Joe Koenen directed “The Adventures of Gilbert & Sullivan.” An improvised light operetta. When auditions were announced, I thought, That sounds terrifying. And then thought, Well, that means I should audition. And I did. And got cast. And made the promise to myself every rehearsal to fuck up as big as I possibly could. Sing a patter song as fast as possible. Set up really difficult rhymes. While dancing. Et cetera. And others were doing the same. Almost every rehearsal, we did a patter circle. And in almost every patter circle, at least once the chorus was La la la la, la la la la, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Because we’d gone big and failed. And it was the most fun I’ve had in any improv rehearsal process. And the run was an absolute gas. AND we all gained improv levels during that process at an absurd clip.

My biggest regret about that show was when we revived it for festivals in Honolulu and Seattle. I felt like I’d gotten to a certain level, and owed it to the audience to hit that level in shows. So I played much, much safer than I did in the original run. And while I thought others in the cast did awesome work in those festival shows, I’m still angry at myself for striving for good enough” instead of terrifying.


I could cite example after example of cases in which I’ve seen improvisers shoot for something bigger than they thought they could do, and it didn’t matter whether they reached it or not. One of the many beauties of improv is that failures, at least if they’re on a grand enough scale, are delightful. Failures, to use improv nomenclature, are offers. Brilliant offers. AND they teach us and make us better at our craft?! They’re like snake oil that actually works.

Trust me on this. Want to get better? Challenge yourself to fail. Feeling like you’re in a rut? Oh my fucking god, PLEASE challenge yourself to fail. Try to speak too fast, to make up iambic pentameter, to play characters that no right-minded director would ever cast you in. Do it, do it, do it.

Fail big.