PythonProv with Kim Howard Johnson

iO Theater

Sunday, January 3, 2016 - Sunday, February 21, 2016
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury Street ChicagoIL  60642
Sunday, January 3, 2016 - Sunday, February 21, 2016
iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury Street ChicagoIL  60642

This camp has passed

What's Included

Everyone knows that there are two types of comedy that simply cannot be improvised -Shakespeare and Monty Python. Both are so carefully scripted, re-written and polished, with words so carefully chosen, that to try to improvise in the style of—I’m sorry, I have just been informed that one of the most successful shows at the iO is, in fact, Improvised Shakespeare. Well then, in that case, why not improvise in the style of Monty Python? And so, this inaugural PythonProv class will guide experienced improvisers through the Monty Python style of comedy, and how to use improvisation to create new long form comedy inspired by the Pythons. PythonProv will examine the components of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the different writing styles involved, and focus on the stream of consciousness approach that was so important to their TV shows. Students will improvise sketches,blackouts, interviews, documentaries, game shows, outriders, music, links, and running gags as portrayed by the Pythons. We will examine Python characters and create new ones of our own. And of course, we will watch videos of classic sketches(and some rare examples of pre-Python works). And at the end of this eight week session will be the first ever PythonProv show to unleash this new form upon a weary world.Of course, standing at the intersection of improve and Monty Python would require someone trained in the Del Close style of long form improvisation, perhaps someone who was on the first house team of the iO, and even co-authored a book like Truth in Comedy. And, that person would also need to be a Monty Python expert who authored several books on the group, perhaps someone who worked on one of the MontyPython films, collaborated with Terry Jones, and spent years working for John Cleese. Someone like … Kim “Howard” Johnson, who is not only uniquely qualified to teach PythonProv, he is the one writing this class description. You must have completed Level 3 at iO to enroll in this workshop.

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

iO Theater 1501 N. Kingsbury Street ChicagoIL  60642
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