Python Process with Kim Howard Johnson

iO Theater - Writing Room

Sunday, April 24, 2016 - Sunday, June 12, 2016
Writing Room 1501 N. Kingsbury St. ChicagoIL  60622
Sunday, April 24, 2016 - Sunday, June 12, 2016
Writing Room 1501 N. Kingsbury St. ChicagoIL  60622

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What's Included

This eight-week workshop will immerse participants in the Python creative process, and by the end of the final session, participants will have completed, polished sketches which can be presented on stage as a sketch show or revue. The sessions begin with a detailed look at the Python process as Howard, occasional collaborator and former personal assistant to John Cleese, will discuss the general Python approach to writing and the various writing styles of the group members. Monty Python’s Flying Circus clips will be shown which demonstrate their styles, and clips from pre-Python and post-Python works will also be featured to demonstrate how their styles evolved. Howard will also discuss his own experiences and offer an insider’s perspective concerning their sketch-writing. Students will learn the value of editing with examples by the Pythons. Finally, students will “collaborate” with the Python teams on a sketch, and learn how to use John Cleese’s advice on sketch-writing. Students will be asked to write three short sketches in this class, based on the various styles of the Python writing teams, but they won’t have to do it alone. Just as the Pythons collaborate, the students will collaborate as they complete their assignments. And then, after class discussion, their sketches will be passed along to other writing teams within the class—the same process used in so much modern television writing. In addition to the writing and discussion, there will be lots of Python videos used throughout the sessions as examples. There will be some favorite well-known Python shows, but there will also be some rare clips of pre-Python sketches, live Python shows, and much more, including videos of Howard interviewing Terry Jones on writing, and a discussion of the John Cleese method for increasing creativity for writers. By the end of the course, students will study running order and putting together a show, including criteria used for picking sketches, links, timing, and castin

About This Organizer

Founded in 1981, iO (Formerly ImprovOlympic) is the world famous flashpoint of comic creativity that spawned an entire generation of America’s best and brightest entertainers. Over 5000 people have trained and performed at iO’s Chicago and Los Angeles theaters, including some of the most recognizable names in show business; Mike Myers, Chris Farley, David Koechner, Adam McKay, Tina Fey and many, many more.

Charna Halpern held a belief that improv was capable of more than the short games and competition-style shows that dominated the scene through the 1970s. It was then that she met legendary director and improv luminary Del Close. Their shared vision for a deeper, more robust form of improvisation based on trust and agreement would be rounded into shape and set in motion when they developed the Harold at iO (then ImprovOlympic). With Del serving as the mentor and Charna the guide, longform was born and the two would change the face of improvisational comedy.


It was Del’s belief that performers needed to have the utmost respect for one another- that if they treated each other like geniuses, poets and artists, they could become that on stage. This philosophy and the famous “yes, and!” notion that agreement is vital on stage helped iO establish itself in the community, and with that the Chicago improv scene was born. In short order iO grew from a ragtag nomadic group of comedic artists into a nationally recognized artistic institution, a destination for the world’s most talented comedians to study and experiment and work. In 1995, iO moved into its current location on Clark Street in Chicago and iO West opened in Los Angeles in 1997. Charna and Del would co-author “Truth In Comedy”, hailed by Bill Murray as “The most important group work since they built the pyramids,” and considered by many to be the bible of improvisational comedy.






Organizer Info

  • iO Theater

Map & Direction

Writing Room 1501 N. Kingsbury St. ChicagoIL  60622
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