Chicago Improv Festival

The Chicago Improv Festival turns 15 this year, and the producers, again, have outdone themselves. There's a solid week of programming featuring Chicago's most talented performers, improv groups from around the globe and TV stars in Chicago to celebrate the art form they love.

Shows and workshops take place from April 1-7. Here are some highlights from a week packed with amazing events.

Celeb Spotting

CIF wouldn't be complete without a few star-studded stages. This year's festival closes with a blockbuster improv night featuring 30 Rock's Scott Adsit, John Lutz and Kay Cannon. The Improvised Shakespeare Company, one of the best improv groups in Chicago is opening, so the entire evening promises to be improv fireworks. Tickets are on sale now at UP Comedy Club.

But Adsit, Lutz and Cannon aren't the only names you'll recognize. Lucas Neff (Raising Hope) and Craig Cackowski (21 & Over, Community, a million more) hit the stage at The Second City e.t.c. Theatre on April 2.

Scott Adsit is also partnering with improv luminary Jet Eveleth in a two-person show on April 3, also at The Second City e.t.c.


CIF brings in some of the best improv groups from around the world. Each team has two performances, but if you can only catch one night, see "One World, One Stage" on April 3 at 7pm. It features representatives from each global team working together across language and culture barriers to create one show.


Chicago is renowned for "long-form improv," an improvised piece usually 20+ minutes in length that isn't bound by the rules of Whose Line Is It Anyway?-style games. There are infinite takes on long-form improv and CIF has assembled some of the best long-form groups in the world for this year's fest. Check out Cook County Social ClubVirgin Daiquiri or The Katydids. See other long-form improv shows.

Short and Sweet

In contrast to long-form, short-form improv features improv games you know and love (or will learn to love if this is your first time). If you need guaranteed laughs, check out The Moonsharks. See CIF's line-up of short-form improv.

On the Edge

In an art form where everything's made up to begin with, there's no shortage of astounding shows that break the mold. If you want to see musical improv, genre improv, improv with puppets or experimental works, then there's something out there for you the week of CIF. If you want to see a crazy improv form and drink with the cast, during the show, check out Hitch-Cocktails. To explore other experimental shows and to see the full Chicago Improv Festival schedule, visit

Help us keep the lights on by subscribing to Chicago Like a Local. For your efforts, we'll deliver awesome stories (like this one) to your inbox. Do we have a deal?