Electives & Workshops

Punch House: A Joke Writing Workshop for All Levels of Stand-Up

Taught by Shawn Gnandt

A 6-week workshop aimed at both people brand new to standup and for the more experienced performer looking to sharpen and build material. The class will focus on finding and improving material via a workshop format. You’ll learn how to say it your way and say it better!

Shawn Gnandt is a performer at iO West (Slow Hustle) and a veteran stand-up who has played in clubs and colleges across the country for decades.

Sundays 12-3PM in the DCT
July 2nd through August 6th (6 weeks)

Register HERE


Taught by Erik Kuska

Puppetry, like improv, can appear ‘easy’ and ‘effortless’, yet proficiency comes from learning proper technique. And once you learn those fundamentals, puppetry can unlock characters and worlds you never knew were inside you.

In this 3 hour workshop, we’ll cover the basics of ‘hand and rod’ puppetry (Muppet style), and through improv games and exercises, explore new, fun ways puppetry can help share your voice with the world.

Please bring your own puppet! If not, we’ll have a few demo puppets for use during the workshop. We hope you can join us!

Erik Kuska has puppeteered on MST3K, the Pee Wee Herman Show, Garfunkel & Oates, MTV’s Greatest Party Stories Ever, and many more. He is a former teacher of PUPPET SCHOOL and will be performing and teaching this summer at the National Puppetry Festival (and he wants to bring more puppetry to iO!).

June 24th
Saturday 1-4PM


Register HERE

“IMPROV CHOPS REQUIRED”: Auditioning for Commercials

Taught by Irene White

I love auditioning for commercials. Commercials are not only a good way to make money, but they are also a fantastic training ground for getting on a professional set and seeing how it all fits together. Today there is so much talent overlap in Commercials and TV/Film that being a well-rounded actor is a requirement. Commercials also take a different set of skills from stage/film work, so in this workshop, we will focus on the PRACTICE of auditioning for commercials and bringing your best work to each one. We will run drills (spokesperson, bite-and-smile, testimonial, groups) and watch playback so that when you walk into that waiting room filled with desperate people, you can stand out by simply being glorious you. EVERYONE is a “good commercial type” and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not. There is room for you. Let’s find it.

Irene White has been a proud member of the iO Community since 2002 and considers it a home. She currently performs with “Easy Now.” Over the course of 20 years, Irene has appeared in over 60 commercials and has probably auditioned for, I don’t know, 500? Irene can also be seen in episodes of Girlboss, Speechless, Gilmore Girls (2016), Modern Family, Friends, Will & Grace and Major Crimes. Irene currently recurs as Carol on NBC’s Superstore.

July 16th, 30th, and August 6th
Sundays,  3:00pm – 6:00pm


Register HERE


Taught by Holly Laurent

Many of our improv habits are based in what we believe we should do instead of what makes it feel fun. This one-day workshop targets scenic moves that remove over-thinking and replace it with more organic initiations to isolate joyful play and instant agreement. FUN AF emphasizes playing smarter, riskier and more confidently by focusing on great edits, stronger scenes, and savvy long form moves. We will wipe out the pressure, planning and judgement that weigh down your play and pursue funny and compelling scenes that feel easy and fun as fuck.

July 8th
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM @ the Main Stage


Register HERE


Taught by Margot Leitman

earn how to use your untapped humanity and embarrassing moments in a way that can reach a wide audience. You will finish this class able to fill in the blank, “———– is the story of my life.”

Each student leaves class with a six-ten minute showcase-able set of autobiographical material. The first three classes are  filled with fun exercises to derive all the life experience that already lies within you. From that hilarious material, you will find your final piece. The last class focuses on polishing and perfecting your story, which will stand alone but can also be a part of a bigger solo work. Learn to dig inside your own life to find humorous, relateable material, which unifies an audience by making them laugh at their own experiences through your brave performance. Additional focus is on getting through the fear of being judged for our honesty, and true life experiences. In the past, many students have gone on to produce autobiographical one person shows, or perform on the storytelling circuit, or complete their memoir. Taught by Margot Leitman-Curry.

4 Weeks. Starts July 11
7PM in Studio 2


Register HERE

Click HERE for more information regarding our class policies and Registration FAQ