Comedy Parlor

The History of Tulsa Improv

Improv has possibly been performed in Tulsa, before 1989.  Though I’m not talking about practiced theatre games or semi-improvised bits within written scripts.  Those have always been around.  I’m talking about shows that are performed specifically to showcase improvisation.

1989

Laughing Matter, at Heller Theatre, forms.  This group is still performing today.  It is an open troop and free of charge.  Laughing Matter has always been and still is a great introduction to short form improv.  Many of the improv troupes that have formed in Tulsa have roots in Laughing Matter.

1990′s

I don’t know much here.  Laughing Matter is going strong.  At some point, Clark Youth Theatre started a teenage “Laughing Matter”.

 

2001

FLAM starts their brand of long form improv, at The Nightingale Theatre.  They performed regularly through 2004.

 

2002

The Obnoxious Party Guests is formed.  They later called themselves The Comedy Clinic.  As far as I know, their last performance was in 2011.  SuperOvum, an all female troupe, started performing semi-sketched routines and long form improv.  They performed regularly until 2007.  SuperOvum is still active, just choosing to do shows every now and then.  Ad-Libs, an established Dallas club, opened its doors to the public.  They focused on a competition-style short form show.  Meeting many obstacles, it quickly shut down.

 

2003

Improv Experiment opened its doors to the public.   It was the first locally-owned improv comedy theatre in town.  They ran 2 shows a night on the weekends, and held classes.  They focused on short form improv.  They also hosted Tulsa’s first Improv marathon.  I think it was 36 or 48 hours of non-stop improv.  They closed in 2004.

 

2004

See Dick Run, a short form improv and sketch group began performing at the Nightingale Theater.  They performed regularly until 2008.

 

2006

The Spontaniacs is formed.  They are still actively performing their funny brand of short form improv.

 

2007

Crayons, a family-friendly, short form improv group, formed.  They are still actively performing, mainly at the Agora Coffeehouse.  They now perform both short form and long form.

 

2008

Comedy Uhhh… Da Partay! was performed at the Nightingale Theater.  It was a modern sitcom take of Commedia Dell’ Arte. Several other groups formed with 1 or 2 performances each: Empirical Playground, Sac o’ Silly, Old Crow Players.  

 

2013

Tulsa Proper produces its first show, “One Night Stand”, in February, at the Nightingale Theater.  Free Soles Impro, featuring Keith Johnstone inspired improvisation, begins performing in April, at the Spotlight Theatre.  Tulsa Proper changes its name to Comedy Parlor.

[box_warning] I wouldn’t be that naïve to think that I could write a comprehensive 
essay on the history of theatrical improvised comedy in Tulsa.  I will simply share 
what I know.  If anyone wishes to submit some information that I don’t have, please 
please do!  Just write to jasonw@comedyparlor.com [/box_warning]