Los Angeles's Best Weekly Mag Gives Our Hollywood Theater Some Love
“The link between Hollywood’s iO West and Chicago’s Improv Olympic — one of American comedy’s great meccas — isn’t just in name only. Just try walking into the front bar any time the Cubs are playing; pitch after pitch, performers and bartenders will cheer the good and bemoan the bad, while the faces of luminary Chicago comedians hang from the walls. iO (pronounced “eye-oh”) has helped push the world of sketch and improv into the mainstream, mostly under the on-and-off guidance of improvisational guru Del Close. You can actually buy a t-shirt with his face on the front from the box office, or step through the black curtains to the theater in the back to see what the man is responsible for. Seven nights a week, iO plays host to long-running improv house teams, sketch comedy performers currently working through the curriculum levels, and old standby shows featuring the links of David Koechner, Bob Dassie and beyond. For students within the iO education stream, there are two black box theater spaces in the back, where a lot of the real experimentation goes down."