Come enjoy the Improv Comedy Festival and all the benefits.  This wide selection of 2-Hour workshops are taught by leaders in the comedy and improv community.  Don’t miss this opportunity to brush up on skills, get new insight or get your first glimpse into what this type of training can offer you.

Jason PardoFRIDAY, AUGUST 7th

Start Simple, Play Strong, Have Fun – Jason Pardo

Jason draws on his twenty years of diverse improv experience to guide improvisers toward making simple choices early, building behaviors, supporting through character, and having fun in discovery. His workshop focuses on simple, consistent choices and how they ultimately lead to strong characters, rich relationships and quality scenes.
Jason Pardo has studied and performed with all the major Chicago improv theaters including The Second City, iO Chicago, The Annoyance Theater and Comedy Sportz. When not teaching and performing improv at iO West, Jason works with Abso Lutely Productions as a Line Producer. He’s had his hand in shows that run the comedy spectrum, including multiple seasons of Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, The Eric Andre Show, Nathan for You, Comedy Bang Bang,The Birthday Boys, and new episodes of the Mr. Show reboot With Bob and David.

Friday, August 7th @ 10am – The Del Close Theater Register Now

Razowsky Sees You


Pro-(Positive) Choices – David Razowsky

A toolbox contains more than a hammer, so shouldn’t your scenes contain more than anger and conflict? Find creative freedom when positive emotional choices drive your scenes. Guide your scenes forward without a need to conjure up an argument, defend your side of the story, or your need to have your ego intact at the scene’s end. It’s not about winning our losing—it’s about keeping the scene alive.
David Razowsky has worked with The Second City, iO West, The Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Dreamworks, BBC’s Whose Line Is It Anyway, and Amsterdam’s Boom Chicago Theatre. He was Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Los Angeles, has been honored with an INNY award for Best Improv Coach, and is adjunct faculty in the California State University system. He has been a featured performer and lecturer at the Chicago Improv Festival, The San Francisco Improv Festival, the Vancouver Improv Festival, and The Kennedy Center. David continues to act and direct professionally in Los Angeles. He’s the host of the popular podcast ADD Comedy with Dave Razowsky, and has had many members of the iO family on the show

Friday, August 7th @ 2pm – The Del Close Theater Register Now

Colleen Doyle HS.


Start at the Start – Colleen Doyle

This workshop will focus on making discoveries at the top of your scene to find the good stuff faster: relationship, POV, emotion. Let go of the burden of premise to make your scenes easier and more fun!

Colleen Doyle grew up in Cleveland where she wrote greeting cards and was a part of the cast that opened The Second City Cleveland. She has made appearances in the indie features Close Quarters and Open Tables as well as the NYTVF Best Comedy Pilot, Shrink. Colleen taught at iO Chicago for the past five years (Teacher of the Year 2014) and performed with the lovely ladies of Virgin Daiquiri, Babymakers, and in the first sketch revue at the Mission Theater, Trap. In LA, Colleen can be seen every week with Dummy and Wheelhouse at iO West where she continues to teach. For more info, please visit ‘‘ or follow her at

Friday, August 7th @ 4pm -The iOWest Main Stage Register Now

Dorian FrankelSATURDAY, AUGUST 8th

Auditioning for Sit-Coms – Dorian Frankel

Get the inside scoop on auditioning for TV sit-coms from casting director Dorian Frankel, whose credits include Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, Maron and many more.

Saturday, August 8th @ 10am -The iO West Main Stage Register Now

Celeste headshot 2014 (1)SATURDAY, AUGUST 8th

A Broad Perspective – Celeste Pechous

A workshop for chicks. Jump in and play to your greatest strengths of you as a whole performer; playing without apologizing, while finding and curating the brave, hilarious, smart and all encompassing player you are by playing to your full potential.  The workshop will have a short discussion on women in improv and the triumphs and challenges we face off and on stage.  Excerises will be composed of two-person and ensemble driven scenes with a major focus on point-of-view.  Game on.

Celeste Pechous has been kicking the comedy improv tires for the last two decades.  As an alumnae of the National Touring Company with Second City and House teams at iO Chicago/West, Pechous performed comedy all over the world.  She has trained and performed at iO Chicago/West, Second City, and The Annoyance Theatres.  Pechous was recently honored Best Actress from the Downtown LA Film Festival and The SNAFF Film Festival for her work in the dark-comedy short, Past Due, based on her short story.  TV credits include Workaholics and Review on Comedy Central and TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.  When she’s not selling you milk, insurance, BMWs or computers, you can see her improvise regularly with Bingo, Triumph and Two Beer Queer at iO West and Second City LA.  Pechous proudly directs and coaches iO’s house sketch team Walk of Shame and several other long-form and short-form ensembles throughout the city.

Saturday, August 8th @ 10am -The Del Close Theater Register Now


Yes Anding The Person – James Mastraieni

Oftentimes in scenes when we are yes anding and adding information we are doing it in a way that takes us away from the most interesting part of the scene…the relationship. Learn a tool I call “yes anding the person” in order to figure out what the dynamic is between you and your scene partner so that you don’t have to live in improv purgatory.

James Mastraieni is an actor, writer, improviser and owner of the world’s most Italian last name. Raised in Pittsburgh, James majored in theatre at Kent State University before dropping out to pursue his comedic ambitions in Los Angeles. James cut his teeth while touring with the Second City theatricals for two years and is now a regular performer at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade with the Harold team, Outside Dog. James can also be seen every Friday night at iO West with the group, Orpheus Roy, whom The LAist called, an “improv powerhouse”. James is half of the two man sketch show, James and Drew presents: Drew and James, with his writing partner Drew DiFonzo Marks. James and Drew also created the webseries, “2Bed/1Bath” which has been featured on the front page of Funny or Die. James studied acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse where he also taught improv. He is currently a faculty member at iO West.

Saturday, August 8th @ 4pm -The Del Close Theater Register Now


Embrace your Inner Jazz Hands – Then Wash Them. Musical Improv technique for short form, long form, and narrative improvisation – Norm Thoeming & Hughie Stone Fish

Depending on the improviser, Musical improv can be a sweet spot to show off those classically trained pipes, or a sweat dripping nightmare stone fishpimped into existence by a group game – or worse, a TV audition. This workshop will strengthen the skills of the musically inclined, while providing the tools for the hesitant to hold their own, even if they can’t hold a tune. Bring tap shoes and a cane…and be prepared to make up songs. On second though, just be ready for the make-up-songs thing. Only bring a cane if you need it to support your weight or as a fashion accessory.

Norm Thoeming has performed at the iOWest since 1997, and is a founding and current member of Opening Night: The Improvised Musical! (Fridays @ 9 PM, iOWest MainStage, since 1999). In addition, Norm has performed, coached, and directed short form, long form, and sketch comedy on most of the stages in Los Angeles, as well as the dirtier parts of Chicago, New York, and ships at sea. Now featuring a beard!
Hughie Stone Fish has a Bachelor of Music in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music. He is a music director at Second City Hollywood and can be found around town improvising, music directing shows, and playing original songs almost every night of the week.

Sunday, August 9th @ 10am -The Loft Register Now


Get out of your head and into the scene – Lyndsay Hailey

This workshop will help you get out of your head and into the scene by showing you tricks to thinking less and doing more.  Take a journey to some of your most free and liberated scenework through over commitment, big physical choices, and unapologetic emotions and characters.  Come remember what it is like to not know enough about improv to be hesitant or judgmental.

Lyndsay Hailey performs and teaches “impro” all over the world.  Austria, Australia, Belgium, England, France, London, Scotland, Poland, and other places she’s forgetting like Chicago and New York.  She is famous…ridiculously famous in Warsaw, Poland, but can’t sell out a workshop in LA.  Would she have really been flown all over the world if she wasn’t good at teaching?  I guess maybe, she knows some bad teachers who have been flown places.  Lyndsay screen tested with SNL, toured with internationally with The Second City Touring Company, and continues to tour her sketch shows, 30% Chance of Hailey and The Lyndsay Hailey Variety Hour in LA, NYC, CHICAGO and Internationally.  30% Chance of Hailey, was awarded the Chicago Tribune’s Critic’s Choice Award, calling it “one of the most inventive solo productions in years.”  Movie wise, she’s working on it – but has been in two features, Close Quarters and Uncle Kent 2, which won Viewer’s Choice at SXSW.  Lyndsay is also nice, and I should know because I am Lyndsay.

Sunday, August 9th @ 12pm -The Del Close Theater Register Now


mcauliffeSUNDAY, AUGUST 9th

Improv to Sketch – George McAuliffe

Are you an improviser curious to try sketch comedy? Improv to Sketch will teach you how to take ideas generated from improvised scenes and turn them into sketches! During the first hour, iO West training center director  George McAuliffe will lead you through a variety of iO West improv exercises to generate ideas and concepts for sketches. Students will use the second hour of class to re-improvise and write a show ready, sketch.

George McAuliffe is an improviser and writer living in Los Angeles. He started in Chicago with the iO team Revolver and is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Chicago sketch group Sad On Vacation. He currently contributes writing to The Onion News Network. George has written and performed in pilots and films that have screened at the New York Television Festival, Sundance and South By Southwest Film Festivals. He has been a featured performer at TBS Just For Laughs Festival, in Bob Odenkirk’s Not Inappropriate Show and has written five critically acclaimed comedic plays at The Annoyance Theatre. George can be seen performing with the harold team Boy at iO West, The Blank Experience Sketch Show and Single’s Motel.

Sunday, August 9th @ 2pm -The Del Close Theater Register Now



Mind Reader: The Art of Hyper Listening – Annie & Levin O’Connor

We are all mind readers. Our natural intuition guides us through our daily lives. We recognize and analyze the smallest emotional cues, body language and inflection in a flash and that information shapes to the specificity of the words use and the choices we make. We do this all day every day and with little to Levin-O'Connorno conscious effort. Yet on stage we often ignore these natural abilities and instead rely on the broad strokes of a scene, looking for premise and laughs. Spend two hours slowing down, listening to the smallest details of the moment and let that help you find the best and most unique scenes possible.

Annie & Levin O’Connor met in the summer of 2005 (they had different last names back then) as cast members of the iO West Harold team The Jungle. They immediately recognized in each other a deep passion for the art of improvisation and have been teaching, performing and touring together ever since. They are founding members of the award winning USS Rock N Roll and tour internationally with their show NOW? w/ Annie and Levin. In both their own play and in the classes they teach they focus on simplification and performing from a place of presence and honesty.

Sunday, August 2 @ 10am -The Del Close Theater



Taking Your Comedy To A Bigger Stage: The Internet & Beyond – Jason Horton

You can write for the stage, but will it translate to video? You wrote it, now how to you produce it? You produced it, now how do you get people to look at it? You got people to look at it, but how do you get the RIGHT people to look at it, and turn it into an online resume, and even a career? Take your comedy, and put it front of hundreds, to thousands, and even millions of people. This workshop will focus on what works for video, how to produce it, and take a finished product and make it as accessible as possible on the Internet. The workshop will cover sketch writing for video, social media, some production, & turning your hard work into a vehicle for success.

Jason Horton is a Los Angeles comedian, actor, writer, & improviser. He can be seen in over 1 billion total video videos on the Internet, and written over 500 million viewed videos.  He has written commercial content for Foot Locker, Sony, Netflix, Nintendo. He can also be seen in commercials for Honda, TV Land, Exxon Mobil & Hyundai. He can also be seen on TBS’ Conan, & his videos have been featured on Funny Or Die & Comedy Central’s Tosh.0. Jason has written two feature films that have been optioned, one that started as an Internet video. He is a former writer for Rogue Films online & UCBComedy Originals, and a former staff writer/content creator at Maker Studios, and has done creative consulting for movies studios and reality TV. He has been featured on Huffington Post, Forbes, & CNN. Jason has been performing at iO West since 2006. Jason is a former sketch director at iO, & studied sketch at UCB with Matt Besser. Jason produces content out of the YouTube Space LA, and has done project out of both YouTube London and New York. Jason is a former producer and host for the Game Show Network & American Funniest Videos. He is currently in pre-production with his web series “Yes, Vacancy” with WITv, can be seen in the new sketch comedy show “Six Degrees of Everything on TruTV. He is currently developing features for Untitled Entertainment.

Sunday, August 2 @ 12pm -The Del Close Theater



Standing Out In Stand-Up – Jodi Miller

What sets you apart from other comics?? Knowing how to write great material AND finding your voice! This workshop will go over the basics of standup i.e. The different types of comedy and how to set yourself apart from the rest. It will also cover the structure of the joke from set up, punch to tagging a joke and expanded on your existing material. We will also talk about how to find material that fits your voice.

Jodi Miller has been performing Stand Up comedy all over thecountry for over 16yrs, and has also done 4 military tours including going overseas to entertain the troops in Afghanistan. She was just on Season 9 of America’s Got Talent where she received a standing ovation from all four of the judges! She is a high energy comic who has a unique take on life. She’s not afraid to push the envelope covering everything from cats, to singer/song writers and how her dad is desperate to get her knocked up! She’s a reoccurring guest commentator on CNN’s Showbiz Tonight and has also been seen on The Tonight Show, Comedy Central, SyFy, GSN and Playboy Plus. Jodi was writer on the Cinemax series Co-Ed Confidential and is also the co-author of the WTF Series WTF College, WTF Work & WTF Women SRSLY WTF, WTF America and OMG: GUYS all available in stores and online now. And just in case you were wondering, yes she has a cat! For more info follow her on twitter @JodiMillerComic

Sunday, August 2nd @ 2pm -The DCT

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The Triangle of the Scene – Paul Vaillancourt

Get these three basic elements of the scene out there and never again worry about the game, how to connect to your partner, what to do next, how to use the where, etc., etc.  All of these problems and more are solved by setting up the triangle of the scene.  Also includes great tools like HAVE, SAY, DO and YES IN SPITE as well as the principle of WORK, HOME, PLAY.


Paul Vaillancourt is the co-founder (with Charna Halpern) of the iO West and has been teaching and performing improv for close to 30 years. In that time he has appeared all over the country including such notable venues as HBO’s Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Chicago’s iO (where he studied with the immortal Del Close), New York’s UCB Theater, and Austin’s Out of Bounds Festival to name a few. Paul has also had success as a writer and producer, co-creating and serving as supervising writer for the MTV hit “The Blame Game” as well as lending his writing and producing talents to a score of other shows for MTV, VH1, USA, Oxygen, Bravo and AMC. Recently, he published a book about improv called “The Triangle of the Scene” (available on iBooks and Amazon Kindle) and started producing a weekly series of videos called “Improv Tips” available on his YouTube channel PVImprov.

Friday, August 7th @ 12pm – The Del Close Theater Register Now

paul .vaillancourt.headshot


The Improvised Movie – Paul Vaillancourt

In this intense two hour workshop Paul will use his 15+ years of experience with the Improvised Movie to teach students the basic skills necessary to improvise movies of their own including camera technique, use of genre, scene painting and the teepee method of story telling. For movie lovers and lovers of linear narrative in general.


Paul Vaillancourt is the co-founder (with Charna Halpern) of the iO West and has been teaching and performing improv for close to 30 years. In that time he has appeared all over the country including such notable venues as HBO’s Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Chicago’s iO (where he studied with the immortal Del Close), New York’s UCB Theater, and Austin’s Out of Bounds Festival to name a few. Paul has also had success as a writer and producer, co-creating and serving as supervising writer for the MTV hit “The Blame Game” as well as lending his writing and producing talents to a score of other shows for MTV, VH1, USA, Oxygen, Bravo and AMC. Recently, he published a book about improv called “The Triangle of the Scene” (available on iBooks and Amazon Kindle) and started producing a weekly series of videos called “Improv Tips” available on his YouTube channel PVImprov.

Friday, August 7th @ 2pm – The iO West Mainstage Register Now

Zach Huddleston Headshot


Go-Juice for your Funny Engine – Zack Huddleston

Are your scenes aimless and unfunny? I bet you’re not heightening. Come get a taste of tall-ening.


Zach Huddleston is a teacher, coach, and performer at IO West. He performs in the House Harold Team Heyday and with the Armando cast.
Friday, August 7th @ 4pm – The Del Close Theater Register Now

mclendonSATURDAY, AUGUST 8th

Everything Matters – Mike McLendon

In this workshop improvisors will revisit the basic mechanics of longform improv and focus on three major components of a scene: What’s real? What’s funny? Why is it funny? Through a series of exercises and scenes cultivated from Second City, iO West, and UCB, the class will focus on Base Reality and Context, the Game of the scene, and how to explore and heighten what you’ve already created without resorting to invention, conflict, or going blue. It’s a great class for intermediate students struggling with scenework as well as advanced improvisors looking to make a leap in their game play.
Mike McLendon is a comedian, improvisor, and writer of short bios originally from Austin, Texas who can be seen performing weekly at iO West with “Orpheus Roy” a team that is as great as it’s name is confusing. Mike also performs at UCB with the Harold Team “Outside Dog” and has toured across the world with Second City Theatricals and Mission Improvable. Mike is a faculty member at Second City Hollywood and coaches teams at both iO West and UCB. He has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comedy Bang Bang, AXS TV’s “Mockpacalypse,” and has helped develop content for ABC, MTV, FX and more.

Saturday, August 8th @ 12pm -The Del Close Theater Register Now

Dave-Hill-HeadshotSATURDAY, AUGUST 8th

Just The Facts – Dave Hill

Do you find yourself lost in scenes? Not sure which pieces of information are important and which ones aren’t? Tired of ending your scenes grasping for anything and leaving scenes feeling like they were about nothing? “Just the Facts” will help you develop the ability to zero in on what is most important in your scenes so that you can get to the fun that is possible at the beginning of each scene.

Dave Hill is an actor, improviser and writer from Chicago where he trained at the iO and Second City.  Now living in LA he improvises with Hill Jones, King Ten and The Armando Show. His work can be seen in the Hulu original series QUICK DRAW and the Comedy Central classic RENO 911.  His voice has been heard on such animated series as AMERICAN DAD and BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD as well as numerous video games.   He co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the up-coming feature film THE NIGHT IS YOUNG.

Saturday, August 8th @ 2pm -The Del Close Theater Register Now



How to Play with “That Guy/Girl” – Drew Coolidge

We all know “That Guy/Girl” on our team or in our class. Ya know, the one that people try to avoid playing with. The one that denies the reality of a scene, the one that only seems to throw curveballs, and makes improv feel impossible. In this workshop you’ll learn how to handle anyone and anything that’s thrown at you. It’s time to become “That Guy/Girl…Who Can Play With Anybody.”

Drew Coolidge is a member of the iOWest Harold team MAX as well as one half of the improv duo Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger. He has performed for the last 14 years and taught improvisation all across the US, from Pennsylvania to Texas, Utah to Alaska. He can be found on YouTube as host of New Media Rockstars and his writing has been featured on sites like CollegeHumor and Higgs Weldon.

Sunday, August 9th @ 2pm -The Loft Register Now


Producing Your Own Web Sketch – Evan Watkins
In this 2 hour workshop, CollegeHumor post supervisor and producer Evan Watkins will reveal the secrets to creating web sketches from development through distribution. Everything from what to write, how to produce on a budget, effective directing choices and where and how to distribute will be covered.
Evan Watkins is the post production supervisor/producer/actor at He’s produced Weird Al’s Foil and Handymusic videos, CollegeHumor’s Directv series The Britishes, as well as several other viral hits that have netted millions of views. He was previously the head of production at The Laugh Factory, where he produced and released standup comedy videos five days a week. An alumi of iO West, he’s on the iO mainstage sketch team Redford. He has a bachelor of fine arts degree in Film and Television Studies from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Sunday, August 9th @ 4pm -The Del Close Theater Register Now



Getting to the Heart of It – Irene White

In this workshop, we focus on truthful, vulnerable scene work.  The exercises are geared toward longer, relationship-based scenes that are not jokey, but still funny in the most human ways.  The goal is to be simple, generous and you.

Irene White graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied at the Second City in Chicago, iO West, Groundlings and UCB-LA. Her Chicago theatre work includes The All-Female Bonanza at Live Bait Theatre and Chamber Music at the Transient Theatre. Her Los Angeles theatre credits include Blue Window, The Women, The Red Coat and her one-woman show Open to the Public. Irene can be seen in lots of commercials and in episodes of The Middle, The Millers, Gilmore Girls, Friends, Will & Grace, and Scrubs. Her recent film credits include Men, Women & Children, Parkland, and Green Hornet.

Sunday, August 2 @ 10am -The Loft

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How to Make A Memorable Character – Nick Armstrong

In this workshop improvisors will learn how to play strong characters by playing their behavior. You will learn how to get there fast and play in the rest of the scene. You will learn how to throw away exposition and story and focus on just your character gifting yourself and your partner.
Nick Armstrong is an Actor, Improvisor and Writer living in Los Angeles, CA. On TV Nick has been on the Emmy-Award winning shows The Office and Grey’s Anatomy. He has also made appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, New Girl, Hot in Cleveland and Parks and Recreation.

Onstage Nick has trained at The Groundlings and iO West. He is an alum of The Sunday Company at the Groundlings and currently performs at the world-famous iO West in Hollywood, CA on LA’s Critically Acclaimed Harold Team King Ten. Nick has taught improv at iO West, Westside Comedy Theatre, NOW Improv and has done workshops all over the country.

Nick is also the Camp Director and Founder of Camp Improv Utopia an improv retreat for grown ups. He is also one of the founding members of the National Improv Network.

Sunday, August 2nd @ 2pm – The Loft 

Brian James O'Connell


Position Play – Brian James O’Connell

Position Play was invented by Miles Stroth. Brian is the only person besides Miles who can teach it the way he does. In this workshop you’ll learn about the 4 basic scene types and how to listen for them and your position or character in that scene all in the first lines of a scene. Knowing what type of scene you’re in and what your position is in that scene makes scene play effortless.

Brian James O’Connell is a working actor, writer, director in Los Angeles and a graduate of the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts (David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jody Hill, Dane DeHaan and Jeff Nichols).  A regular performer and teacher at the iOWest Theater in Los Angeles, Brian also currently teaches as part of the Core Faculty at The Miles Stroth Workshop.
His comedy troupe, Dr. God recently completed their first feature film project BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS (starring Fran Kranz, Pedro Pascal). which O’Connell directed (his third feature as a director) as well as co-writing the script. BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS was the Opening Night Premiere at Slamdance and will be released theatrically by Scream Factory! in 2015.

Sunday, August 2 @ 12pm -The Loft

You can also register for workshops via phone (323 926-7560), in person at The iO West Theater (6366 Hollywood Blvd.), or Online by clicking on the following button: Pay Online


A portion of the proceeds from the festival shows and workshops will benefit The Chris Farley House.

The Chris Farley House is a state-certified residential treatment program for recovering men and women. Sober, structured living, as well as case management and counseling, are available to assist with the transition to productive independent living and employment.

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