November 15, 2014

Chicago Improv Contest at Under The Gun Theater

By Mark Wachtler

November 15, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) Everybody knows that when it comes to comedy improv, Chicago is king. But who are the best improvisational comedians in the Windy City, or the entire nation for that matter? We’re about to find out. Under The Gun Theater on Chicago’s north side is hosting the Under The Gun Improv Classic. It’s a four-week, four-round elimination tournament similar to March Madness. Except the tournament will feature the best improv comedians in the country, vying to find out who is the best of the best.

Join the Under The Gun Improv Classic at Under The Gun Theater. Entries due Nov. 28th.


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“The Under The Gun Improv Classic is back for its second year!” announced Kevin Mullaney, artistic director at Under The Gun Theater, “We are hosting a four-week improv tournament to crown the best of the best of Chicago improv and declare a new world champion.” Deadline for entry is midnight Friday, November 28th. Cash prizes will be awarded.

Under The Gun Improv Classic

As detailed on Under The Gun Theater’s website, this improv comedy contest is like no tournament or competition you’ve ever seen. Follow carefully, and if you plan on being in the audience for the first round, you could win the tournament! The contest is open to two-person teams only, but by the end of the contest, a four-person team will be crowned world champion of comedy improv.

Round 1

Round 1 is literally the competition to be chosen as a participating team in the Under The Gun Improv Classic. Only 42 two-person comedy teams will be chosen to compete. There is no cost to enter. But if chosen as one of the tournament teams, there is a $15 per team entry fee which goes to fund the cash prizes. Only one team entry per person allowed.

Round 2

During six shows on five nights between December 27 and January 16, seven teams per night will compete before a live audience. Six of the two-person teams will be made up of Round 1 qualifiers, while one team will be randomly selected from among each night’s audience. Audience members who want to be entered into the same-night lottery must fill out an entry before the show.

Teams must have a team name and after given a subject by the audience, are given six minutes to improvise their comedy routine. At the conclusion of the show, audience members will vote for the two best teams of the seven. The top two vote-getting teams will advance to the next round. But wait, there’s a surprise. Each of the two advancing comedy teams must draft a third member from the eliminated five teams they just defeated. Twelve three-person teams will move on to Round 3.

Round 3

Round 3 will occur during three shows over two nights on Friday and Saturday, January 16-17. The twelve remaining teams will be divided up into three semi final tournaments, each with four teams pitted against each other. Each three-person team will be given twelve minutes of stage time to show off their improv skills. Again, each team will be working from an audience-supplied suggestion. After each semi final, audiences will vote to decide which one of the four comedy teams they just watched will move onto the finals. The winning team must then draft a fourth teammate from among the teams they just defeated.

Final Round

The final round of the Under The Gun Improv Classic will take place Saturday night, January 17. The three remaining four-person teams will face-off against each other with each team given 16 minutes to perform. Audience members will again provide the improv subjects to each team, and at the end of the night, vote to crown the winning team. First place finishers will receive $300, second place $200, and third place will receive $100.

For more information, visit the contest rules page at Under The Gun Theater.

Holiday shows at Under The Gun

There’s more than just improv contests going on at Under The Gun Theater. It’s holiday season. And with that comes holiday themed comedy. To celebrate Thanksgiving, ‘Dinner with the Clarks - A Thanksgiving Family Catastrophe’ is performing November 28-29. From December 5-26 the theater features ‘The Last Mall Santa’ placing Christmas in the year 2071.

Also from December 5-26, Under The Gun Theater features ‘Comedy Against Humanity - A live show for horrible people’. On December 13th only, ‘Warm Welcome’s New Years Jambalaya’ is performing, a show of sketch, song and even a little performance art. The grand finale is December 31st. Ring in the new year at Under The Gun Theater with food, drinks and a performance of Comedy Against Humanity. Champaign will be on hand at midnight to celebrate the new year.

Under The Gun Theater is located on Chicago’s north side at 956 W. Newport. Visit for details.


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