BBIF 2008


DramaTech Theatre
Under The Couch
FRI 9/5 8:00PM
BBIT First Round – Atlanta
SAT 9/6 8:00PM
BBIT First Round – Atlanta
WED 9/24 8:00PM
Cineprov – Atlanta
Mr. Friskett – Atlanta
Dad’s Nonsemble – Atlanta
THU 9/25 8:00PM
Basement Theatre – Atlanta
Free Kittens – Atlanta
Laughing Matters – Atlanta
THU 9/25 10:00PM
Charlotte Comedy – Charlotte
Babies Mit Bearden – Atlanta
Whole World Theatre – Atlanta
FRI 9/26 8:00PM
Homunculus – Nashville
Side Show – Atlanta
Dirk and Blaine – San Francisco
Let’s Try This! – GA Tech
Mix Tape – Atlanta
BBIT Finals – Atlanta
FRI 9/26 10:00PM
Fuse Box – Nashville
Moral Fixation – Charleston
Razowsky and Clifford – LA
Canvas All Stars – Atlanta
Red Letters – Carboro
Doug Dank Project – Atlanta
SAT 9/27 8:00PM
GLOC – Atlanta
Robert Lowe Experience – Mixed
Razowsky and Clifford – LA
In Harm’s Way – Atlanta
Mock Turtle Soup – Clemson
Banana Breakup – Carboro
SAT 9/27 10:00PM
Drum Machine – Minneapolis
2 Girls 3 Eyes – Atlanta
Dirk and Blaine – San Francisco
Diversionary Tactics – Atlanta
Offsides Improv – Orlando
All Star Show – Mixed
SUN 9/28 6:00PM
Village Theatre – Atlanta
Solo Improv – Mixed
Dad’s Garage – Atlanta
SUN 9/28 8:00PM
Scene In (Movie) – New Jersey


Congratulations to the 2008 Black Box Improv Tournament Champions – Your Mom’s Mom.


FRI 9/26 1:00PM-4:00PM

INSTRUCTOR: Matthew Arisheh
    Improv is a tool often used to enhance creativity, yet many improv groups all over the country are performing the same short form games and long form formats. Explore the inspiration of improv pinoneers such as Spolin, Johnstone and Close. Learn how to work within the basic guidelines of improv theory to develop new and exciting performance pieces that will appeal to a broad audience. Push the art form into its next evolutionary stage.


INSTRUCTOR: Greg Tavares
    You hear it during every rehearsal. Improv scenes are “about the relationship.” But what is a relationship? Greg breaks the relationship between characters into 4 components (emotional response, physicality, history & status). Exercises taught during the class help students make offers based on relationship components.


INSTRUCTOR: Johnathan Wells
    Your team is everything to you when you are on stage however, it isn’t a machine you can program to do your comedy bidding. Take care of yourself, and know that your team members can take care of themselves. This workshop focuses on great techniques to pull yourself out of “Team Management Mode” and back to what is most important for you as a TRUE team player. As a consequence, this workshop also focuses on acting skills. Sweet, a bonus focus!

SAT 9/27 10:00AM-12:00PM

INSTRUCTOR: Jen Caldwell
    This technique is one that Jen has become know for teaching: it’s also been coined “Jen-Zen”. All about making your partner look great and vice-versa, this workshop pushes improvisers to explore character relationships on a deeper level. Steering away from arguing and immediate conflict, Jen shows players a fun and supportive way of thinking that will take your improv to a new level. This workshop is great for those starting out in long-form improv or for any improviser (long or short-form) looking to discover a new technique to put in their arsenal.


    You hate standing and talking while holding your improv cup as much as the audience hates watching it. But maybe you don’t quite know how to break that habit. In this workshop, you will be pushed to move forward and break routines both within scenes and as an ensemble actor. When driven by action rather than by dialog, your scenes become fluid, exciting, and full of discovery. Put the cup down. It’s time to improvise.


INSTRUCTOR: Jim Karwisch
    Take a trip through the foundations of a well written play and how those elements can and do apply to a well improvised scene. Moment by Moment play is combined with Playwrighting theory — JaCKPie’s approach to improvised scenework.


INSTRUCTOR: Mandy Bultler
    Grounded relationships keep scenes interesting and focused. By engaging your partner, you will also engage your audience. In this workshop, you will employ the teachings of Sanford Meisner to help you connect with your scene partner by listening, responding, and making eye contact. We will also explore the power of touch, while playing with distance between actors onstage. Get ready to get close!


INSTRUCTOR: Alyssa Mander
    Learn how to bring an entire town to life. The Henry Long Form focuses on one made-up town and the people in it. Connect different locations with real meaning, real relationships, and real juicy rumors!

SAT 9/27 1:30PM-3:30PM

    Tommy Futch and Jamie Moore of Laughing Matters teaching verbal and nonverbal communication techniques for the clue giver and listening and narrowing of choices for corret conclusions. Plus, how to make your guessing game scenes interesting.


    This Workshop will focus on the good, the bad and the ugly of short form improv. Games and scenes, things we hate and why, things we love and why, how to make the things we hate better and the things we love betterer.


    How far do you think you are willing to extend the Improv envelope? Come to this workshop and find out for sure.


INSTRUCTOR: Matt Stanton
    This is for kidses who have studied enough to understand basic improv philosophy of accepting offers and building on what is present. We will combine narrative structure with long-form exploration, some serious gear-shifting.


INSTRUCTOR: Cutris Smythe
    Yes. Curtis Smythe and Nicolas Cage are going to train you in the finer points of stealing cars while being chased by dirty cops and baby mommas, all this happening in one fun filled cracked rocked out night! Nah… seriously, this workshop will focus on effectively laying down the basic foundations of an improv scene including character development, relationship, environment, premise, want and desire in less than a mere sixty seconds. It will also focus on getting you to leave your “comfort level box” by exploring the vast possibilities opened up using different mannerisms, speech patterns, and body languages to create new characters. It will show how to take your improv abilities to a brand new level that you always knew was there, but haven’t quite been able pull out of the holster. It will be kool. It will be kosher. It will be kopasetic. Peace.

SAT 9/27 4:00PM-6:00PM

INSTRUCTOR: Jill Bernard
    Jill Bernard offers a character toolkit to give participants the ability to create strong, compelling characters that they can hang onto through the whole scene. This session will focus on using Voice, Attitude or Posture, and Animal, Prop or Obsession to build instant characters. Participants will use these tools to fearlessly initiate scenes, create relationships and find agreement.


INSTRUCTOR: Steven Kearin
    Space Object work is a gateway to deeper levels of character and story for the improviser. Develop an increased awareness of the world you inhabit onstage, and learn to ground yourself in the simplicity of the moment.


    Relationships between characters is a major part of what makes improv scenes sizzle! Explore how to establish, advance and deepen relationships on stage. Listen, feel, react — fun stuff!


    Let go of preconceptions, trust your improv instincts, focus on your partner and work that ability to be spontaneous and reactive rather than contrived.


INSTRUCTOR: Kit FitzSimons

    Remember how much fun we had as kids? Playing with action figures, searching for pirate gold, pretending the swing set was Dracula’s spy car? Imagine if we’d known then what we know about improv now. Well… that’s not possible, so how about the opposite: Know NOW what you knew about PLAYING then. Learn how to grab onto every exciting idea and catapult your scenes to new heights and new worlds. It’s not What If; it’s What When.
SUN 9/28 12:00PM-4:00PM

INSTRUCTOR: Jill Bernard
    There are no “schools” of improv – we are each our own school, which means your solo piece is the ultimate expression of that school. Work with Jill Bernard to practice the skills that are universal to most solo pieces – character snapping, stage pictures, and aggressive choices – and also tease out what will make your solo piece unique. This class includes a performance by the students during the SUN 9/28 6PM Show.


INSTRUCTOR: Dave Razowsky

    While teaching for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre’s school, Second City veteran David Razowsky was exposed to–and immediately taken with–the power of Anne Bogart and Tina Landau’s Viewpoints training, and he immediately saw the power Viewpoints plays in improv theatre. Razowsky’s master class will focus on how by using elements of Viewpoints actors can instantaneously connect to their playing environment, to their partners and, most importantly and most strongly, to themselves. Be prepared to see your craft in a new light, be prepared to see with new eyes, and be prepared to be rejuvenated.


All Star Show

The All Star Show is a one shot performance featuring BBIF 2008 instructors. Under the leadership of Matt Stanton (founding member and former Artistic Director of Dad’s Garage) this massive talent pool will be providing some Grade A hilarity to a willing audience. Don’t miss out on your one chance to catch this amazing group perform.


Dirk Manly and Blaine Bustier — Movie Mega-Superstars of Stage, Screen, Television (and sometimes Radio), return to Atlanta reprising two of their most beloved roles – those of improvisers “Tim Orr” and “Stephen Kearin”. Together, “Tim” and “Stephen” will create scenes based on audience suggestions. San Francisco-based musician David Norfleet is on keyboard.

An Evening with Dirk and Blaine

Babies Mit Bearden

Babies mit Bearden is a troupe of four men who have been friends for ages and now use that friendship as a force of good in improv. The four learned short-form improv on their own before training with Atlanta’s JaCKPie to learn long-form improv. BmB has performed together for many years in both long and short forms in theatre and festivals throughout Atlanta and the rest of the world, including the 2008 Chicago Improv Festival.


Everyone remembers the childhood mantra: “The floor is lava!” where you climb around on the furniture and aren’t allowed to touch the ground. That’s Banana Breakup’s motto. Kit FitzSimons and Eitan Lees perform the highest energy two-man longform improv you will see this side of Saturday morning television as they perform every scene ABOVE the stage. Banana Breakup will amaze you, they’ll entertain you, they’ll make you fear for their safety. Banana Breakup: GO!

Banana Breakup

The Basement Theatre

The Basement Theatre recently celebrated it’s 4th year on the Atlanta improv scene. Always innovative in its improv formats The Basement has created many unique fully improvised shows including Motel, Monkey Pants, Drive-In Prov, Axel’s Angels, and of course Much Ado About Improv. The Basement Players have traveled the country to perform at many festivals and love performing at Atlanta’s own Black Box Improv Festival. The Basement has weekly shows at their intimate theatre in North Buckhead Atlanta.


Four teams enter, one team wins in an elimination-style improv comedy tournament. During each show two teams will fight for survival until the audience decides the winner. The two teams that make it through the First Round get to put it all on the line in the BBIT Finals! Come for the comedy. Come for the action. Come for the pure decision-making power! >>More Info

Black Box Improv Tournament

Canvas All Stars

Sharp, Stylish, Comfortable and Cool. (We couldn’t get Talented or Funny out of shoes. Sorry!) Canvas All Stars is composed of teachers and coaches from the JaCKPie Theatre Workshop at Relapse Theatre in Midtown. Watch as this team take syou on a trip through one of their signature forms… Cocktail Harold or Town-ville. Sit back, relax and enjoy this group of creative and intelligent individuals at play!


The Charlotte Comedy Theater is a grass roots organization made of up of Charlotte’s most notorious improvisers. Founded and directed by an 13 year Chicago improv veteran, this group is skilled in all improv forms. They perform both long and short form improv as well as having developed their own versions of both. This group of incredibly committed performers has taken Extreme Improv from a back room improv group to a top level improvisational Comedy Theater. Their hard work, enthusiasm and love for the art form is present in every show they do.

Charlotte Comedy Theatre


CIneprov is Atlanta premier movie mockery show, performing every Friday night at Relapse Theatre in Midtown. We make fun of movies so you don’t have to. It’s a live improvised version of MS3K… without the puppets


Dad’s Garage is a casual theatre in Atlanta where you can get a drink, sit with your friends, and watch award-winning Comedy Improv and never-before-seen plays. Theatre in America is often thought of as elitist and Dad’s Garage is a perfect example of artists working to change that label. We do the kind of theatre we would want to see. Our improv shows are made up on the spot, our mainstage shows are all innovative and original, and our children’s show is the only one of its kind being done. When we’re on stage, there are few boundaries and hardly any rules. We believe in taking chances. The riskier, the better.

Dad's Garage Theatre

Diverionary Tactics

All three members of Diversionary Tactics are: 1) Let’s Try This! alumni 2) Computer Programmers 3) BBF of BBIF 4) Thinking about a milkshake – the same milkshake. Diverionary Tactics presents: Rock, Paper, Scissors – 3 improvisers, 3 options, no rules. Improv guided by the winner of the time-honored schoolyard decision-making game of chance. It could lead to a short form game. It could lead to a Harold. It could lead to an audience member giving dental lectures. Even we don’t know until it happens.


The Doug Dank Project is a new long-form style improv show, fusing the unpredictable and impulsive nature of improvisation with the steadiness and permanence of true life stories. The world renowned monologist Doug Dank once declared: “Feed your dog, and she’ll be your bitch for life. Kick your cat, and you may have discovered a game.” A guest monologist will be spilling their guts and providing the inspiration for a bevy of groundbreakingly funny (or possibly heart wrenching) scenes. The show continues where Doug Dank left off before he mysteriously disappeared in the early 1980’s… attempting to capture a similar sense of eccentricity, unconventional style, and irreverent behavior.

The Doug Dank Project

Drum Machine

Drum Machine is a one-person unscripted structure featuring scenes, monologues and songs accompanied by the mad beats of the Zoom-Rhythmtrak 123 which Bernard calls, “Nature’s finest drum machine.” Typically the show opens with an improvised sing-along, and then explores a historical period suggested by the audience. From a punk persona launch pad, Bernard switches back and forth between characters with stunning virtuosity.


A ragtag group of professional actors, filmmakers, musicians, puppeteers and writers, Free Kittens! is a long-form improv troupe at the JaCKPie Theatre Workshop, trained under Jim Karwisch and coached by Jen Caldwell.

Free Kittens

Fuse Box Theatre

FuseBox Theatre is a non-profit, multimedia improv and sketch comedy company. We were founded in January 2008 by veterans of the Nashville improv scene with the intention of expanding the community for improv, sketch comedy, and live theatre in Nashville and beyond. We also maintain, a community resource for improv articles, interviews, videos, and more.


The hostesses of humor, the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy have been serving up improv entertainment to metro-Atlanta audiences since 2000. With every show a party, the Gorgeous Ladies treat audiences to their own brand of short and long-form improv comedy with a heavy musical influence.

Gorgous Ladies of Comedy


Formed in 2005, Improv Nashville’s Homunculus incorporates philosophies and styles of long-form improvisation from all over the country. Our cast has trained with, performed with and directed troupes in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and all over the Southeast. According to Wikipedia (which is on the internet so it must be right), the Latin word “Homunuculus” means in “little man,” and is commonly used to illustrate the functioning of a system. It’s also been used in literary works for centuries to describe magic and mystery, the voices in your mind and enlarged body parts. We believe all these definitions represent our troupe best. Really. Check our pants.


They are mercinarys who, with the help of the ever dependable DMV, discarded their previous identities. They are soldiers of misfortune. They do not belong to any one affiliation, but are instead a movement for the people, by the people. They are IN HARMS WAY ………let them save you too.

In Harm's Way

Laughing Matters

Laughing Matters is Atlanta’s longest running improvisational comedy troupe. We’ve performed for thousands of groups since 1985 and have been voted Atlanta’s best improv troupe by Atlanta Magazine! Let us get you involved in a great time! Laughing Matters is also the leading provider of interactive corporate entertainment on the East Coast! Troupe members and alumni regularly perform on stage and screen! Laughing Matters has also developed programs that have been used in product launches, national team building exercises, and award presentations. Whether you want to come see one of our public improv shows, book a private murder mystery, or help your organization communicate more effectively, Laughing Matters is your turn key solution!


Let’s Try This! is the offical theatre improv troupe of DramaTech. The troupe was formed in the summer of 1989, inspired by workshops taught by Robert Lowe, who has remained a constant source of help and inspiration to us. As our name suggests we will try many things, from games to short scenes to long-form to what-in-the-world-was-that? We have many directors with different styles amongst ourselves making our shows quite diverse, however we all share a common belief in being in the moment and making our partners perfect.

Let's Try This!

Mix Tape

Mix tape is a one man show that is fully improvised in front of a live audience. Using principles of theatrical playwrighting combined with long-form improvisation, Jim performs a 30 to 45 minute production based on the information provided from music on a Mix Tape. Mix Tapes created by friends, audience members and local musical artists are presented to Jim at the start of his performance and the songs are used as source material for his scenework.


Mock Turtle Soup is the official improv troupe of Clemson University. Formed in the Fall of 2002, MTS has provided Clemson and the surrounding area with 6 years of quality Short-form and Long-form improvisation.

Mock Turtle Soup

Moral Fixation

Moral Fixation does long form the way it should be done — long and formy. When they rehearse they usually suck, but that’s a good thing. When they get on stage, they pimp the *t out of each other. Moral Fixation is the brain child of Caleb Usry and Lee Lewis. Very early in the process Greg Tavares was asked to join the group when the previously mentioned two members found out that by having Greg in the group, they would have a free rehearsal space. Ever since then they have been performing long form improv that could only be called “world changing.” After the conclusion of Piccolo Spoleto 2007 Caleb left the group to search much browner pastures. Good Luck in the Windy City buddy. So, irreplaceable Moral Fixation now remains Greg and Lee saving the world from evil doers.


Mr. Friskett is a Syrian, golden hamster with bat-like wings, a bowler hat and a destiny to save the world. He has gathered around him a variety of talented artists and performers who he is training in new forms of improvisational comedy. Will they be instrumental in his plans to save us all, or does Mr. Friskett just enjoy improv? Nobody knows. Mr. Friskett is ineffable.

Mr. Friskitt

Offsides Improv

Offsides improv is a professional theatre troupe that has been performing in Central Flordia since 2004. During this time, Offsides has explored improv in its various forms, taking favorite elements from each and using them to influence their show style. Drawing from a palette consisting of character, environment, relationship, time, and story, Offsides strives to create a show that is both vivid and textured…and funny. Seriously.


Razowsky & Clifford is a two-person improv show that has become one of LA’s “must see” performances. David Razowsky and Carrie Clifford relish in the purist form of improv—starting with nothing. Well, almost nothing, an audience member decides where to place two chairs for the first scene and they’re off and running. The random placement of those two chairs dictates the entire performance, and becomes the spring board for a variety of characters and relationships.

Razowsky and Clifford

Red Letters

Red Letters is a two man group comprised of Alyssa Mander and Bryan Buckley. The duo began improvising together in 2005 and have been playing together ever since. They will perform their original form The Punch which explores new characters and relationships all from a single suggestion. To get ready for a show, the two love to dance, rap battle and chug Dr. Pepper.


Atlanta Improv Guru and author of “Improvisation, Inc.: Harnessing Spontaneity to Engage People and Groups” leads a performance that will boggle your mind. No one knows what will happen or even who will be in the show. Not even Robert Lowe himself! But you can be certain that he will expose the spontaneous creative potential of the human mind right before your very eyes.

Robert Lowe Experience

Scene In

Scene In is a 95 minute movie about a short form group from Little Silver, NJ by the same name. Written and directed by Bryan Strang and starring Matt Kawczynski, Gina Merchan, Rich Monahan, Andy Stein and Bart Nickerson. This tough-in-cheek documentary style movie takes a look at an improv group in turmoil as they struggle to gain respect and credibility in the New Jersey improv scene.


Each Friday night Relapse Theater hosts the midnight SIDESHOW, a multimedia comedy improv show. Each week we feature a new Editor who creates a film of slides and moving images that the improvisers perform in front of – using it as a suggestion and as an environment. One moment we might be put in a commercial for Smokable Snack Crackers, the next we’re at an awkward Korean wedding. It’s all up to the twisted mind of our Editor.

Side Show

Solo Improv Showcase

Under the direction of Jill Bernard, students from her Solo Improv Workshop will perform their solo pieces for the first time. Jill’s own solo improv show, Drum Machine, has been featured at the Chicago Improv Festival, the Toronto Improv Jamboree, and the Philadelphia Improv Festival, among others. She has taught improv in over twenty states, two Canadian provinces, and on an episode of MTV “Made.”


Two Girls Three Eyes performs short-form improv every Friday night at Atlanta’s Relapse Comedy Theatre ( This raw, down and dirty game-inspired improvisational comedy show is hosted by Relapse Artistic Director Bob Wood.

Two Girls Three Eyes

Village Theatre

The players of The Village Theatre have performed improv together in Atlanta for up to a decade. Originally, they performed together at Whole World Theatre in Midtown and have since been performing at the 10 High in Virginia Highlands and The Earl in East Atlanta. They can now be seen regularly at their new theatre, The Village Theatre, on Decatur Street near Lenny’s Bar where they perform sketch, standup, scripted work and of course improv!


Whole World Theatre (WWT) is a non-profit theatre company that began in Atlanta, Georgia in late 1993, with a dedicated and talented core of actors, led by Founding Artistic Director David Webster, united to form the hottest improv company in town. In June of 1996, Whole World Theatre opened their current location at 1214 Spring Street in mid-town Atlanta. As their popularity grew, the cast of Whole World Theatre were given the opportunity to produce their live improv comedy show for television. “Last Hour Live” – Whole World’s premier TV show – helped to launch the southern based Turner South Network. The Company continues to perform improv shows and remains one of Atlanta’s most successful theater companies.

Whole World Theatre


Matthew Arisheh


Matthew Arisheh is the founder and executive producer of the Black Box Improv Festival. He started doing improv in 2001 and has worked with many improv groups in and out of the Atlanta area, including serving as Production Manager of Let’s Try This! and Business Director of the Basement Theatre. He taught the Newbie Workshops for incoming freshman at GA Tech in the Fall of 2005 and 2006 and lead the Crawl Space workshops at the Basement Theatre in the Spring of 2007. He is a veteran of the Dirty South Improv Festival, Out of Bounds Improv Festival, and Miami Improv Festival. Matthew is currently involved with JaCKPie Theatre Workshop and Dad’s Garage Theatre Company.

Jill Bernard


Jill Bernard has been performing with ComedySportz-Twin Cities since 1993. Her solo improv, Drum Machine, has been featured at the Chicago Improv Festival, the Toronto Improv Jamboree, and the Philadelphia Improv Festival, among others. She has taught improv in over twenty states and two Canadian provinces, and on an episode of MTV “Made.” She is the recipient of the 2005 Chicago Improv Festival Avery Schreiber Ambassador of Improv Award.



Mandy Butler is co-Founder, Artistic Director, and Youth Program Director of FuseBox Theatre. She also performs as a member of the FBX Ensemble. She holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Georgia College & State University and has studied Meisner with instructors from Atlanta, Nashville, New York, Great Britain, and Yugoslavia. Mandy has studied and performed improv at Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, Atlanta’s Whole World Theatre, and Improv Nashville.

Jen Caldwell

WORKSHOP: Uber-Agreement

Jen Caldwell is currently a member of the JaCKPie touring team Einstein meets Elvis and House Team Amerika and coaches JaCKPie’s newest Harold team: Free Kittens. Previous Atlanta Improv and sketch credits include the Comedy Response Unit, Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy, and numerous shows with Dad’s Garage. She has trained with the Comedy Response Unit, Improv Olympic, UCB, JaCKPie and now teaches Improv throughout the Southeast. Jen was recently appointed to the Executive Committee of the Southeastern Comedy Arts Alliance that will hold it’s second annual Southeastern Comedy Arts Festival in September. Atlanta Theatre credits include Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical, The Computer Wore Flat-Soled Pumas, Kobe Bryant: The Totally Unauthorized Autobiography, Bad Habits: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Private Lives, Bedroom Farce and thousands of other shows. She can also be seen in Films and on TV, most recently on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne as Kim Chin. She is the front (! wo) man, writer and guitar/bass player for the band Anna NicoleMiner’s Daughter . She is now a rapper. That’s right, a rapper. Check out her myspace for more on that. Jen holds a BFA degree in Theatre (with an emphasis in Television, Radio and Film) from Valdosta State University. In a former life, she was a Sports reporter and Radio DJ and subsists on a steady diet of coffee and comedy.

Kit FitSimons


Kit was a member of Georgia Tech’s improv team, Let’s Try This! for 2 years before moving back to North Carolina and joining DSI Comedy Theater, where he currently works, performs and teaches classes. He is a member of the high-flying two-man group Banana Breakup, Harold team Proletariat Princess and is a member of the ComedySportz Carrboro ensemble.

Tommy Futch


Tommy Futch is the President of Laughing Matters, an interactive entertainment company. In addition to improvisational comedy, Laughing Matters’ repertoire includes team-building, murder mysteries, game shows, scavenger hunts and school performances. Tommy’s life changed dramatically in 1971 when he was injured in a car collision near Adel, Georgia. Futch was paralyzed from the waist down. Everything he knew about life was altered or no longer applied. For the next 10 years, he dabbled in school, work and self-fulfillment. In 1985, Futch took a comedy course and discovered his passion—improv comedy. He and a dozen partners soon formed Laughing Matters, an improv comedy troupe. As years passed and partners moved on, Futch became President and expanded the company’s mission. Tommy has worked alongside and coached Mitch Rouse, a Laughing Matters member from 1987 to 1991, who helped write the comedy film Without a Paddle, Joe Kelly, who begins his first full season as a writer for Saturday Night Live. And Gary Anthony Williams who is part of the cast of Jeff Foxworthy’s surprise summer hit Blue Collar TV. Laughing Matters owner and executive producer Tommy Futch says he feels like a proud papa: “I can’t make you famous, but you can use me as a steppingstone.” For Kelly, who worked with Laughing Matters from 1993 to 1998, the troupe taught him “clean” humor. “I learned to be funny, as opposed to shocking,” he said. Kelly worked on three episodes at the end of last year’s SNL and got three of his skits in: a tattoo removal commercial parody, a hilarious Harry Potter takeoff where Lindsay Lohan played a suddenly buxom Hermione and a rap scene with Snoop Dogg. On any given day, you can find Tommy selling, performing and producing at corporate events throughout the South.

Jim Karwisch


Jim Karwisch (pronounced Carwish) is the Founder and Artistic Director of the JaCKPie Theatre Workshop which is Atlanta’s only long-form training program. Jim is currently a member of improv teams Guttersmack, Canvas All Stars, Ninja and JaCK (duo puppet improv), his one man show Mix Tape and is the coach for Babies mit Bearden and Einstein meets Elvis. Jim also enjoys writing, reading, playing guitar, photography, drawing and graphic design.

Steven Kearin


Stephen Kearin was a founding member of both Improv Theatre and True Fiction Magazine and performed with BATS Improv for 14 years. Stephen is currently a member of Impro Theatre in Los Angeles and a founding member of 3ForAll. He has appeared in numerous stage productions, including the stilt-walking Iago in San Francisco Opera’s Otello, as Sally-Sue Weber in A Weber Family Christmas and originated the role of Blaine Bustier in An Evening With Dirk & Blaine. Stephen is the co-creator of “Simlish” and is the principal male voice of The Sims. He is currently featured in the Dreamworks Animation films Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar2 and Monsters Vs. Aliens. Stephen is a visiting instructor at Stanford University and Cirque Du Soleil.

Robert Lowe


Robert Lowe is the author of Improvisation, Inc.: Harnessing Spontaneity to Engage People and Groups, (Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer, 2000). This book is the pioneering work in the use of Improvisational Theatre techniques for organizational development and business and professional communication. Robert is known as the Grandfather (sometimes the Godfather) of Improvisational Comedy in Atlanta having founded “The Lightside City Players” in 1983, “Comedy Atlanta” in 1985, and “The Next City Comedy Theatre” in 1988. In 1989 Robert had a significant influence in the founding of Georgia Tech’s “Let’s Try This” Improv Comedy movement. For nearly 20 years he has brought Improv technique, fun, and exploration to business and organizations of every size and form. His work is known in more than 20 countries, and it has been noted that either Robert, or his students, and now students of his students, have had an influence on almost every venue of Improv comedy in the Atlanta region. Mr. Lowe’s public Improv Comedy Workshops have provided the inspiration and the formula for programs that have placed hundreds of non-performers on live Improv stages throughout the region.

Amber Nash


Amber Nash has been improvising in Atlanta for over 10 years. She is seen on stage with The Doug Dank Project, Couch Party, Laughing Matters and Dad’s Garage. She has traveled all over the U.S. and Canada learning and performing and is glad to be back at BBIF this year.

Alyssa Mander

WORKSHOP: Henry Long Form

Alyssa Mander is an alumni of Clemson University’s Mock Turtle Soup, a current performer with Red Letters and a performer with the DSi Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill. She’s trained under Tj Jagodowski, Anthony LeBlanc, Jeff Griggs, Asaf Ronen, Zach Ward, Anthony King, Mark Sutton, Joe Bill and many others. This summer she was hired by the DSi Theater to teach improv and perform with ComedySportz. She loves improv and she loves meeting new improvisers.

Tim Orr

WORKSHOP: Relationships

Tim Orr has improvised since 1988, primarily with BATS Improv, Improv Theatre, and as a guest for True Fiction Magazine. He has appeared in numerous plays in the Bay Area, and received critical acclaim for his role as Dick Goodman in Brien Burroughs’ 1999 improvised film, Suckerfish. He stars in the new Brien Burroughs improvised film, Security. Tim originated the role of Dirk Manly in An Evening with Dirk & Blaine. He has taught improvisation at BATS Improv and at American Conservatory Theatre and elsewhere. He coaches the championship wheelchair sports team, the Bay Cruisers.

Dave Razowsky


David Razowsky former Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Los Angeles, was a cast member of the Second City revues where he created material with Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, and Jeff Garlin, among countless other performers. David has directed Second City Mainstage’s No, Seriously, We’re All Gonna Die, Second City LA’s, Encino Evil, The Second City Untitled Project, The Second City Detroit’s acclaimed 19th Nervous Breakdown, and The Second City National Touring Company. David is a freelance consultant for Dreamworks PDI, an adjunct faculty member for California State University, has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre for the California State Summer Arts Festival, and has directed two of Amsterdam’s Boom Chicago theatre’s productions– RockStars, and their critically acclaimed Live at the Leidseplein – Your Privacy is Our Business. He is a co-founder of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, and was the voice of Albert Brooks’ parrot on the David Letterman Show, as well as the voice of Dixon, the world’s coolest adult on ABC’s The Weekenders.

Kevin Reome


Kevin Reome started classes in ’93 at Second City and IO (Del Close and UCB). Founding member of Inside Vladimir. Taught improv at Univ. of Mich. Currently play with the Barstool Philosophers and have been teaching at Second City for past 3 years.

John Sexton


John is co-Founder, Executive Director, and Director of Education for FuseBox Theatre. He currently directs the FuseBox Ensemble. John has trained at Chicago’s Annoyance Theater and Second City, and with members of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, iO, and Dad’s Garage. John is also a co-founder of Improv Nashville, where he served as Director of Development, instructor, and performer in the Mainstage cast before leaving to form FuseBox Theatre.

Curtis Smythe


Name: Curtis Smythe
Weight: 175
Height: 6’1
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Previous Improv Experience: Koalaty Productions, The Social Complex, Dads Garage, Let’s Try This, The Basement Theatre, Relapse Theatre, In Harms Way.
Favorite Comedian: George W. Bush
Religion: Whatever One Gets Me To Heaven Quicker Without Spending Money
Political Affiliation: That Chick From Alaska Is Hot!
Hobbies: Helping Old Ladies Across The Street, Rescuing Kittens From Trees, Donating My Free Time At The Free Clinic, Curing Cancer
Favorite T.V. Show: Saturday Night Live
Favorite Movie: Fast Times At Ridgemont High
Favorite Music: Anything That I Can Shake My Butt To
Pet Peeves: Rudeness, Littering, Mass Murderers
Favorite Quote: …Who’s That Guy Over There On The Grassy Noll… By John F. Kennedy
Words To Live By: The Sun Has To Shine On Every Dogs Ass Once In A While

Matt Stanton


Matt Stanton is a co-founder and former Artistic Director of Dad’s Garage in Atlanta. He has performed and studied at festivals all across North America, including Improvaganza in Edmonton, Tournament of Wonders in Toronto, Big Stinkin’ Improv Fest in Austin, Fool Fest in Orlando. Matt took a couple workshops from Keith Johnstone, and a real dinger from Armando Diaz. His workshop’s focus is on the playground around the corner from Keith and the hoop in Armando’s driveway.

Greg Tavares


Greg Tavares is a co-founder of The Have Nots! improv company, Theatre 99, Piccolo Fringe & The Charleston Comedy Festival. He has created the training program at Theatre 99 and taught thousands of people in hundreds of classes. Greg lives in Charleston, SC where he performs improv with The Have Nots!, Moral Fixation and many other groups.

Jonathan Wells


Jonathan began with LTT! here at Georgia Tech. He was elected leader of the group for his senior year. This year saw the first ever Black Box Improv Festival. He moved on to serve as improv director of The Basement Theatre in Atlanta until making the move to Chicago. In Chicago he studied for one year at the Second City Conservatory. He co-produced a show in Donny’s Skybox at The Second City, and he’s a founding member of Comedy Accident. He has trained under Norm Holly, Michael Gellman, Anne Libera, Tim O’Malley, Joe Bill, Zach Ward, and many, many others.