Brit Belsheim

I have been in this community for almost two years. In that time, I've had the pleasure of learning from, performing with, and watching hundreds of improvisers. A few weeks ago, I named "Nine Major Players in Chicago Comedy to Watch Out for in 2013" and I'm back again to bless the internet with some of the city's best on the spot performers. As was the case with the last list, these are not the only players to watch out for this fall. In fact, there are too many talented locals to name and hilarious stage shows presented every night in this city. With that, I present to you six up and coming Chicago improvisers you don't want to miss.

Mike Jimerson

Mike Jimerson

Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Years in Comedy: 4.5
Favorite Chicago Training Program: I took Annoyance first so it represents a pretty special time when I first moved here, but I honestly think I grew more as a performer at iO.
Favorite Teacher: A split between Rebecca Sohn and Craig Uhlir.
Current Shows/Teams: Shinbone Alley (CIC), Villain (iO), Squall (Playground), Dance a Lot Lancelot (One Group Mind)
Upcoming Shows/Projects: I'll be doing a small-group independent run at the Upstairs Gallery with some friends in the near future. We are going to call ourselves Delightful and I am really excited about that.
Stupid Thing You're Afraid of:
Any body of water too murky for me to see my feet when I'm standing in it.
Fun/Little Known Fact: I ate a guinea pig once while in Ecuador. It was pretty tasty!

Mike Jimerson plays with the ease of lazy Sundays and the casualness of drinking a beer with your best friend. Watching him on stage just makes me feel comfortable, as if I'm at home watching Friends in my pajamas. His intelligence is only surpassed by his quick wit and smart, seemingly effortless delivery. Mike is truly one of the "greats." If he decides to continue pursuing this path of improv, he will skyrocket and skyrocket quickly. Mike Jimerson is one of the most talented, humble and kindest individuals in the Chicago improv community. Do yourself a favor and go see one of his shows. There's a good chance you'll want to hug him afterwards.


Lindsey Smith

Lindsey Smith

Hometown: Springfield, OH
Years in Comedy: 8
Favorite Chicago Training Program: iO
Favorite Teacher: Farrell Walsh
Current Shows/Teams: Mad Contender (CIC), Desperado (Playground), Cross Pollination (Upstairs Gallery), Apollo (iO), Tandies Candies (Independent)
Upcoming Shows/Projects: Mad Contender and Apollo
Stupid Thing You're Afraid of: Tornado Warnings
Fun/Little Known Fact: John Legend is from my hometown and I love him. 

In many ways, I feel Lindsey Smith is the female counterpart to Mike Jimerson. When the two of them play together they fit like a glove. Independently, Lindsey has somewhat of an unknowing swagger when she improvises. She tends to play very grounded characters that you might run into at a family reunion or a random grocery store aisle. Always supported by truth, Lindsey plays from a very genuine place and brings a lot of herself to the stage.


Caleb George

Caleb George

Hometown: Arlington, TX
Years in Comedy: 10
Favorite Chicago Training Program: iO
Favorite Teacher: It's a tie between Jason Shotts, Craig Uhlir and Susan Messing.
Current Shows/Teams: ComedySportz Chicago Ensemble, Hitch*Cocktails (Annoyance), Thirsty (Apollo Theater), D'Hôtél Winñetkå (Chicago Improv League), Apollo (iO)
Upcoming Shows/Projects: D'Hôtél Winñetkå will be performing again with the Chicago Improv League. I've also recently been named the ComedySportz Training Center Manager, so that's taking up some time as well.
Stupid Thing You're Afraid of: Horses. I was thrown off a horse as a kid in Wisconsin. I hate them. They're stupid.
Fun/Little Known Fact: I love dancing. I took ten years of jazz, six years of ballet and two years of tap. I just love dancing... and baseball. Specifically, baseball saber metrics.

There is very little Caleb George can't do. Having an extensive background is in song, dance and theater, there's not much you can throw at him that he can't catch, juggle, twist into a balloon animal and spit back at you with precision like you've never seen before. Then he'd probably pull a quarter from behind your ear while he fills you in on the algorithms of saber metrics - because he can. Goofy characters are one of his fortes, but he is also a solid staple of truth in any scene and can just as easily provide support as he can freestyle rap his way into the spotlight. Caleb George is a force to be reckoned with...and he doesn't even know it.


Molly Jones

Molly Jones

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Years in Comedy: 3
Favorite Chicago Training Program: iO
Favorite Teacher: Rebecca Sohn and Craig Uhlir
Current Shows/Teams: Apollo (iO), The Night Shift (Playground), Susan (CIC)
Upcoming Shows/Projects: The Lockout: A Musical
Stupid Thing You're Afraid of:
Snakes. I'm terrified to the point of extreme nausea, panic and tears.
Fun/Little Known Fact: I graduated high school at 16 and college at 20.

Molly Jones is a character. She is in real life and she is on stage. The beauty is that she steps into character the moment she steps on stage and owns it for the entirety of the scene. She's very quick on her feet and makes smart and original choices. Outside of playing a grandmotherly figure, I don't know if I'd say Molly has a "go-to" character because her range is so diverse. She is a fearless performer and I look forward to watching her continue to shine in this community.


Alan Linic

Alan Linic

Hometown: Garrisonville, VA
Years in Comedy: 3
Favorite Chicago Training Program: iO
Favorite Teacher: Jason Chin
Current Shows/Teams: Switch Committee (iO), The Ruckus (iO), As The World Burns (Second City House Ensemble)
Upcoming Shows/Projects: Co-runner/co-editor of the www.microstory.me project, Abracadabro (working title): a two-man sketch show
Stupid Thing You're Afraid of: Unwittingly rupturing my organs doing everyday things.
Fun/Little Known Fact: I am color-blind and, according to a study done by The Royal Society, have the body mass index of an ideal woman.

When Alan Linic steps on stage, it's like having front row seats to a magic show. His scrawny frame and kind, but wry, voice transform on stage into a savvy, smart and uninhibited performer. He moves five steps ahead of everyone else in the room, the audience included. Every move he makes is a pleasant surprise and his willingness to put everything on the line results in many memorable and rewarding "yes and" moments. You know, the kind you tell your friends about. Alan is also incredibly gracious. His gratitude, sheer talent and eagerness to pursue this art form will ultimately lead to a very successful career path. He's a gem. Alan Linic is an improv gem.


Brit Belsheim

Brit Belsheim

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA / Los Angeles, CA
Years in Comedy: 10
Favorite Chicago Training Program: Second City Conservatory
Favorite Teacher: Colleen Doyle
Current Shows/Teams: Thunder Road (iO), ComedySportz, Hitch*Cocktails (Annoyance), Thirsty (Apollo Theater)
Upcoming Shows/Projects: Another run of Who-Prov in time for a Christmas special. Thirsty and Cowboy Villain (independent improv team) are on the horizon.
Stupid Thing You're Afraid of: I still run up the stairs from the basement. There's nothing behind me. Probably. But are we certain? No. So I run and do a lil' hyperventilating breathing thing that is - in all likelihood - very endearing.
Fun/Little Known Fact: I'm a first-rate Seeker in Quidditch. I know this because I first visited Chicago for a Harry Potter conference.

I was intimidated by Brit Belsheim from the moment I met her over a year ago. However, I have since come to know her as a very lovely lady. Her confidence, curiosity and relentlessness to build upon and refine this craft are enough to make anyone take a step back. I've never seen a performance from Brit that I didn't love. She has the voice of an angel and can convincingly play any character you pull out of a bag with perspective, personality and panache. She's every director's dream. She's beautiful, up for anything, doesn't do bullsh*t, works hard and is consistently an incredible performer. She is one of the most talented females on stage in this Chicago comedy community right now. Brit Belsheim is a powerhouse that has been flying under the radar, but I don't think she'll be flying low for much longer. Watch out Chicago.

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