Our Mission and History
Jet City Improv was founded in 1992 by Andrew McMasters and Mike Christensen as Seattle’s own improvised comedy show: more games, more comedy, no points or rules. As the show gained popularity, so too did our desire to spread the power of improv to the community in new ways. We obtained our 501(c)3 non-profit registration from the IRS and formed our mission:
To educate, enlighten, and entertain audiences through the art of improvisation.
Since 1992 we’ve been doing just that. It started with the development of brand new improv comedy formats, calling upon members of the Jet City Improv ensemble, along with other local actors and comedians, to create improvised experiences never seen before.
The first performance of our improvised movie-redubbing show Twisted Flicks came on Halloween night in 1997, when improvisers re-dubbed the classic B-movie “Creature From the Black Lagoon” based on audience suggestions.
In 2003, after years of performing in venues like the Northwest Actors Studio, the Belltown Theater Center and UW’s Ethnic Cultural Theater, Jet City Improv moved into its current home on the north end of the ‘Ave in the University District. This marked the first time that Jet City Improv had control of an entire theater space, allowing the company to begin producing improvised plays (a series now referred to as Jet City Improv Presents) that cover everything from political satire (“Election Show”) to musicals (“Goin’ Steady,” “Lease,”) to murder mysteries (“Clues”) and more.
It’s been a steady flow of five to eight performances every weekend, six to eight world premiers every season, and a brand new show every night – a pace JCI can keep up only because we’re performing without a script and putting some of the nation’s best improvisers on stage.
We’ve also worked to bring improv to the people with a 40-week improv training curriculum (known as the Jet City Improv Academy) as well as outreach work that provides free performances and workshops to homeless and incarcerated youth in Seattle and physically ill children around the state of Washington at a variety of summer camps.
All of these programs – both in our bright yellow theater and out in the community for those in need – are made possible by the support of adventurous theater-goers, performers, volunteers, technicians, donors and artists that believe in “a higher plane of comedy.”