As not only a Rupaul’s Drag Race and Real Housewives historian – I would also dub myself a historian of modern-day improv. I’m a millennial with a man-bun. Some of you may be rolling your eyes, but that role that your eyes play were vital in the birth of what I call the Attitude Era of improvisational, as asinine as that sounds.
Since the inception of The Second City, many people were highlighted in a mid-western city, but gave the opportunity for others to flourish in the community’s growth. No doubt, The Second City was the face of Chicago; the old school WWF. I’m talking gold-logo, Hulk Hogan, improv-mania. Then came the need for a heel. That’s where Improv Olympic came to engulf the flame of improvisation.
Improv Olympic, later named and most recognized as iO – opened in the 80s by the godfather of improv, Del Close and protege Charna Halpern. Charna Halpern is the current owner and powerhouse of iO Chicago located in Chicago, Illinois and iO West located in Los Angeles California. The iO is the original home of the Harold. The Harold is the official form of the RISE Comedy Playhouse School of Improv inspired by Del Close. [shameless plug – sign up for classes here]
Naturally that evolved the scene into the Attitude Era, the new scribbled WWF sign that drank up Stone Cold Steve Austin and smelled what the Rock was cooking. The birth of the Mick Napier‘s Annoyance Theater was born.
Jon Jon Lannen is a writer, performer and instructor at the Voodoo. He loves improv and fizzy drinks… a lot.