Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art

Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art

From the best-selling author of Fosse, a sweeping yet intimate?and often hilarious?history of a uniquely American art form that has never been more popular. At the height of the McCarthy era, an experimental theater troupe set up shop in a bar near the University of Chicago. Via word-of-mouth, astonished crowds packed the ad-hoc venue to see its unscripted, interactive, co From the best-selling author of Fosse, a sweeping yet intimate?and often hilarious?history of a uniquely Amer...

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Title:Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art
Author:Sam Wasson
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:0544557204
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:464 pages pages

Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art Reviews

  • Duncan
    Jan 29, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

  • Andrei Alupului
    Dec 24, 2017

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

  • JBP
    Feb 07, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

  • Sarah
    Feb 07, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

    Very informative and entertaining look at how improv really took root in America. The third section of the book I feel should have been part of a second, longer book because you can feel Wasson's laser focus starting to fade as he burns through a lot of information. Still, a very fun r...

    I absolutely loved this. Turns out that improv comedy is the most unexpectedly fascinating lens to view twentieth century American history. If you have the slightest interest in this topic, I recommend this so highly. ...

  • Chris
    Jun 05, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

  • Clark
    Jun 09, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

  • David
    Jan 16, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

  • FittenTrim
    Feb 11, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

  • Craig Leimkuehler
    Apr 01, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

  • Michael
    Dec 24, 2017

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

    Very informative and entertaining look at how improv really took root in America. The third section of the book I feel should have been part of a second, longer book because you can feel Wasson's laser focus starting to fade as he burns through a lot of information. Still, a very fun r...

  • Jeff J.
    Jan 14, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

  • Ryan
    Feb 20, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

  • Mark
    Jan 24, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

    Very informative and entertaining look at how improv really took root in America. The third section of the book I feel should have been part of a second, longer book because you can feel Wasson's laser focus starting to fade as he burns through a lot of information. Still, a very fun r...

    I absolutely loved this. Turns out that improv comedy is the most unexpectedly fascinating lens to view twentieth century American history. If you have the slightest interest in this topic, I recommend this so highly. ...

    I am not sure what I thought this book would be but I didn't think it would be dull and boring. I have studied improv in Chicago, DC and Richmond, performed short form, long form, Harolds. Read all the books on improv. couldn't finish this. ...

    A little dry at first, but it picks up mightily! Anyone want to start an improv class? ...

    Required reading for comedy nerds. It made me really miss Harold Ramis ...

  • Justin
    May 19, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

  • Robin
    Jan 03, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

  • Gregory Butera
    Jan 08, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

  • Dan Lalande
    Jan 02, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

  • Stewart Tame
    Nov 29, 2017

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

  • Jordan Parker
    Jan 20, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

  • Michael Brown
    Mar 09, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

  • Erin
    Apr 18, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

  • Lyndsay West
    Apr 05, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

  • Lee Evans
    Mar 24, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

    Very informative and entertaining look at how improv really took root in America. The third section of the book I feel should have been part of a second, longer book because you can feel Wasson's laser focus starting to fade as he burns through a lot of information. Still, a very fun r...

    I absolutely loved this. Turns out that improv comedy is the most unexpectedly fascinating lens to view twentieth century American history. If you have the slightest interest in this topic, I recommend this so highly. ...

    I am not sure what I thought this book would be but I didn't think it would be dull and boring. I have studied improv in Chicago, DC and Richmond, performed short form, long form, Harolds. Read all the books on improv. couldn't finish this. ...

    A little dry at first, but it picks up mightily! Anyone want to start an improv class? ...

  • Melinda M
    Jan 31, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

  • Valerie Bradley
    Feb 20, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

    Very informative and entertaining look at how improv really took root in America. The third section of the book I feel should have been part of a second, longer book because you can feel Wasson's laser focus starting to fade as he burns through a lot of information. Still, a very fun r...

    I absolutely loved this. Turns out that improv comedy is the most unexpectedly fascinating lens to view twentieth century American history. If you have the slightest interest in this topic, I recommend this so highly. ...

    I am not sure what I thought this book would be but I didn't think it would be dull and boring. I have studied improv in Chicago, DC and Richmond, performed short form, long form, Harolds. Read all the books on improv. couldn't finish this. ...

    A little dry at first, but it picks up mightily! Anyone want to start an improv class? ...

    Required reading for comedy nerds. It made me really miss Harold Ramis ...

    won this book for my son who loves comedy and stand up. he liked it very much ...

  • Mary
    Dec 26, 2017

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

  • Rebekah Haas
    Jan 18, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

  • Ann
    Jan 26, 2018

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...

    The author tried real hard to cover everything. Each section covered a group of years. In each section were various chapters that covered either groups, players, events or all of them. Too much time was spent at times on trivial points that seemed to not be continued later or part of f...

    NOTE: I know/knew a few of the people in this book; improvised at some of these theaters. Bringing the unruly history of improvisation into one book was always going to be difficult. IMPROV NATION does as well as one book could; though a tighter focus on the original Compass players w...

    As an improvisor and a long-time fan of most of the folks whose history with the form is chronicled in this book, I found it amazingly engaging. The recounting of the evolution of the form as it has passed through the minds and artistic souls of so many adherents and participants is no...

    Sam Wasson takes on what is, by his own humble admission, a formidable task: an inventory of the development and influence of American-style improv, from its proletariat origins in 1950's Chicago to its imprint on today's ubiquitous political satire. In the spirit of the brave ad-libbe...

    Exhaustive and comprehensive history of improvisational comedy--from its earliest beginnings to now. It focuses mostly on Chicago/Second City connections but it does go into Toronto, NYC, a little bit of L.A. I go to the Groundlings all the time [it's a 15 minute walk from my apartment...

    Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art by Sam Wasson is a history of Improv in American. It has wonderful notes filled with videos to watch as well as articles and books to read. It was interesting to find out how connect to each other that the performers all seemed to have wo...

    I was really excited for this one and it was kind of a letdown. For starters, it's a book about improv comedy that really isn't all that funny. With that being said, it does have moments that were really interesting but there are so many stretches(especially towards the beginning of th...

    This book is a must read for anyone who performs improv, enjoys improv or for that matter is alive and breathing. (Zombies will not enjoy it.) It gives a very detailed history about this aspect of comedy that is often overlooked. The one fault is that it fails to explain why Del Close ...

    I enjoyed this very much; it actually made me miss doing improv and I?m currently part of a team that performs and practices weekly. I appreciated the breadth of the book and that the author decentered Del Close?s place in improv?s invention. It is imperfect, as are all histories...

    Informative look at the history of improv, and how many well-known comedians/actors passed through Second City and other troupes. Bill Murray and Tina Fey come across particularly vividly in the recollections of fellow improvisers. I wished there had been more about the actual formats,...

    What a wonderful history and introduction to improvisational theater. It covers a lot of ground, so you may find yourself wanting more information on the players or feeling someone was left out. Nonetheless, it does a great job discussing the major trends and themes in improv and hitti...

    This is one of the all-time best books I?ve read. Even if it weren?t about Improv, it is so well written and gave so many great perspectives behind the history of Improv. I have found a greater appreciation for artists that I didn?t love before, and was introduced to some artists...

    4.5 Stars. I enjoyed this very much, and it was cool to be introduced to improvisers who I had never known. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep all the details of the different personal histories in my brain, but I was impressed with how well so many threads of developing improv w...

    Inspirational and funny, Wasson takes you on a wild ride, from many years past, to modern comedians with a household name. Filled with many side-stories and anecdotes that perfectly add to the plot-line, Improv Nation really does prove a compelling argument to why improvisation is the ...

    There?s a very thin line between improv and sketch comedy, and even standup comedy. Was son makes an admirable effort to establish improv as a unique art form but never quite succeeds, largely because his subjects tended to migrate away from improv. I did enjoy many of the profiles, ...

    I really liked this book. The way it weaves the tendrils of all the different ways improv influenced entertainment was really well done. However, as a performer at ComedySportz, an organization with a 30 year history and teams all over the world, I felt like a glaring omission was made...

    Very informative and entertaining look at how improv really took root in America. The third section of the book I feel should have been part of a second, longer book because you can feel Wasson's laser focus starting to fade as he burns through a lot of information. Still, a very fun r...

    I absolutely loved this. Turns out that improv comedy is the most unexpectedly fascinating lens to view twentieth century American history. If you have the slightest interest in this topic, I recommend this so highly. ...

    I am not sure what I thought this book would be but I didn't think it would be dull and boring. I have studied improv in Chicago, DC and Richmond, performed short form, long form, Harolds. Read all the books on improv. couldn't finish this. ...

  • Hannah Petosa
    Dec 31, 2017

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

  • Steve Lionel
    Dec 18, 2017

    Full disclosure: I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As you?d surmise, this is a history of the improv movement in the USA. Wasson presents it as an American artform--yes, there are antecedents in European traditions, but nothing quite like improv as the term i...

    I can?t even begin to describe how much this book means to me. When I first started reading it, I assumed it would be the history of improv. However, this was way more than just a history book. This is the story (or should I say, stories) of artists we have come to know and love and ...

    really solid and entertaining history - the notes section alone is a trove of cool stuff to follow through on, videos to check out, interviews to read, etc. the writing gets a lil clumsy i think, proportionate to the author's enthusiasm. like based on how he described some of the sctv ...

    Unlike the quirky creators of the art of improv and the many improvisors about whom the author so beautifully and lovingly writes, all of whom seem to know just what to say on the spur of the moment, I find myself at a loss for words to describe just how much I enjoyed this extraordina...

    Here's an excerpt from my review of this book on my blog. You can check out the rest of the review here: http://humpdayhardbacks.blogspot.com/... Stepping on my soapbox for a sec! Improv has significantly improved my life, and if you?re on the fence about taking a class, DO IT. I...

    "They were creating constantly, and without the help of lighting, costumes, sets, script, or even story. In or out of the theater, Shepherd had never seen such interconnection. These people were all working together, like a family, to alchemize empty space into art." Rating: 5/5 ...

    This is the hilarious story of America?s largest dysfunctional family, since it seems everyone really has worked with nearly everyone else in the improv comedy world. If you have any interest in improv comedy or comedians or the process of creating humor this is a must read. I just l...

    Until I read Improv Nation, I had not realized how many comedians/actors I was familiar with had connections to Chicago's Second City. Sam Wasson starts in the 1940s with the birth of improvisational comedy and Viola Spolin and Del Close who taught classes in what was later to be calle...