Chicago Public Library Receives Huge Improv Comedy Archive

A massive collection of improv material — from video performances to show programs — will be available for future researchers and performers.

Chicago Public Library Receives Huge Improv Comedy Archive
The cast of MAD-TV performing at the Chicago Improv Festival: (Left to right) Michael McDonald, Nicole Parker, Ike Barinholtz, Keegan-Michael Key, Arden Myrin, Frank Caeti, and Jordan Peele Courtesy of Jonathan Pitts
Chicago Public Library Receives Huge Improv Comedy Archive
The cast of MAD-TV performing at the Chicago Improv Festival: (Left to right) Michael McDonald, Nicole Parker, Ike Barinholtz, Keegan-Michael Key, Arden Myrin, Frank Caeti, and Jordan Peele Courtesy of Jonathan Pitts

Chicago Public Library Receives Huge Improv Comedy Archive

A massive collection of improv material — from video performances to show programs — will be available for future researchers and performers.

Chicago’s improv stages have seen the early days of some of comedy’s greatest performers, from Aykroyd and Radner to Colbert and Fey. Thousands of up-and-comers have been part of the city’s comedy scene, and now that history will be catalogued and preserved for future generations.

A massive collection of improv-related material — about 23 years’ worth — from Chicago Improv Productions has been donated to the Chicago Public Library, where it will be preserved and made available to researchers, the public and future improvisers.

Reset takes a closer look at the history of Chicago improv, and what it tells about the past, present and future of local comedy.

GUEST: Jonathan Pitts, co-founder and former executive director of Chicago Improv Productions