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IB Awesome Award

The IB Awesome Award is a monthly designation of awesomeness onstage or off at ImprovBoston. The award recognizes extraordinary, positive contributions to our community of artists, our audiences, our staff, our stages or our nonprofit mission. Nominees can be performers, directors, producers, writers, musicians, techs, staff or even die-hard fans; anyone who goes above and beyond to make IB a better place.

Help spread the love: NOMINATE SOMEONE AWESOME

Current and previous IB Awesome Award Winners

February 2019 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Gabrielle Ehrlich


For those of you that have not met Gabrielle before, she is the reason ImprovBoston can open its doors every week. As the Finance Director, she is often overlooked and unseen, but someone has to count all the money and make sure the business is running smoothly. Gabrielle has taken this often thankless job on since 2013 after answering a Craigslist ad, and has been helping us grow ever since.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Gabrielle’s grandparents always brought her to shows around the city, sometimes downtown at the Charles Playhouse, but also frequenting IB! It also helps that her parents enrolled her and two of her brothers in improv classes as kids.

When asked about why she has stuck around IB, her answer speaks volumes. “I see it as an amazing institution that I am more than proud to support and look after. One of my favorite things in the world is being around a talented group of our people doing what they do best and knowing that I help them achieve that by looking after this place and the people within”.

Thank you so much for everything you do, Gabrielle! You are AWESOME!

January 2019 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Michelle Boncek


Michelle Boncek is an IB powerhouse. Instructor, producer, performer, and a constant voice in the community. The first time she came to ImprovBoston was to support friends from her troupe, The Tribe. She later performed in her first show, Dear Internet, directed by John Serpico.

Since then, she helped us move from Inman Square (even spackling the Studio Theater), worked on our Front of House staff, helped create the popular Wheel of Austen, directed You’re All Gonna Die, and so much more. She continues to love this theater because of “a large group of dedicated people who love improv, hard work, and people. That sense of family has filled a hole in my heart I never even knew existed”.

Now as a performer on Family Show, producer of the Harold Night Jam, and an instructor with the ImprovBoston Comedy School, she constantly shares love with so many students and patrons every single week.

Thank you, Michelle, for all that you do. You truly are AWESOME!

December 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Joe Szafarowicz


Joe’s first time at ImprovBoston was performing in the College Comedy Festival (CCF) with Guerilla Improv of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After that, Joe began watching shows at IB, and was particularly captivated by the the original run of Magic: The Gathering: The Show. Joe then enrolled in classes where, in his words, he “discovered the warm, welcoming community behind the theater”. He has since poured his heart and soul into doing everything he could with ImprovBoston.

Joe has been a part of numerous projects at the theater including Mango, Puff Puff Lion, GoreFest XV and GoreFest XVI. He is currently a co-producer of Comedy Lab, producer and co-creator of “ClueProv: A Comedy of Murders”, and the coach for Northeastern University’s No Jokes.

In true Hufflepuff nature, Joe wants to thank a number of people who have lead him on his improv journey. Matt Bistany for teaching him how to host, Ben Snitkoff for making Harold fun, Sara Burns for getting him out of his head and into my heart, Stacey Smith for renewing his faith in improv, and Josh Garneau for the constant inspiration and support.

And Joe, we want to thank YOU for all you have done to contribute to the ImprovBoston community. Your creative spirit and wonderful positivity make the theater a better place and we couldn’t imagine it without you. You’re awesome! 

November 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Michelle Barbera

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Throughout her years as a comedian, Michelle has done a great deal to contribute to the Boston comedy scene. She has directed a plethora of improv troupes, taught improv master classes, and founded the award-winning “We’re Making a Movie” production company which has screened films at festivals across the country. To top it off, she performed as a member of the ImprovBoston Mainstage cast for four years,  and even designed the current IB logo!


One of Michelle’s greatest achievements in the world of comedy has been her contribution to the Women in Comedy Festival, which she helped found in 2009. Since the festival’s birth, the show has grown into an event that Bostonians and comedians look forward to every year. Acts have included Maria Bamford, Jane Lynch, Rachel Dratch, Wanda Sykes, and so many more. The festival is now heading into its 10th year, and has done an invaluable amount to close the gender gap in comedy. It is evident that due to all of Michelle’s hard work, a future generation of hilarious women will grow up knowing that they deserve to have their voices heard in comedy.


Even with all of this expertise, Michelle is so dedicated to comedy, that she has decided to retake some of our Comedy School classes. It goes to show that you can always brush up on the basics! Thank you Michelle for all you have done for Boston, IB, and women everywhere. You are awesome!


October 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Wes Hazard

10 years ago, we asked Wes Hazard to be the featured comic on one of our shows. Since that night, Wes has been an active member of the IB community.

Wes’s impact on the theater spans many spheres. He has acted as an amazing host, a moving instructor, a skilled producer, and a stellar talent booker. One of his most notable contributions to the IB community is the production of Mixtape, a monthly show aimed at bringing underrepresented voices to the Boston comedy scene.  Wes has played a huge role in shaping the show into the fun, safe, and hilarious experience it is today.

In addition to his work with us, Wes hosts WGBH’s show “Stories from the Stage”, was named by The Boston Globe as 1 of “5 Boston Comedians to Watch”, and recently became a 3-day Jeopardy Champion! Wes has always made himself known around the city and serves as an inspiration to aspiring comics.

Wes, we wish you all the luck in the world as you take your career to the next level in New York City. Thank you for everything you have done for IB. You are awesome!


September 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Mina Bond

Seventeen years old and in her last semester of high school, Mina Bond googled the words “Improv” and “Boston”. Thus began her fantastic career at ImprovBoston. Starting out as a summer intern for Comedy Clinics, Mina has been around every aspect of the theater. Now, you can see her performing in Top Shelf with Neighbors or on All Access, as well as being a leading voice with so many other teams.

This summer, Mina’s IB story came full circle when she returned as a Comedy School intern, helping organize and execute a series of ComedyVacations. She was paramount in helping with the Comedy School Manager transition, and has even continued to lend a helping hand after her internship ended.

According to Mina, the most valuable lesson she has learned from her time at IB is “to lead with kindness and understanding”. She credits her teammates on Neighbors, Diana, Terrible People, and more recently, All Access and Dangerfield, for pushing her to be the most wonderful, silly, creative, smart, and kind version of herself that she can be. Mina would also like to thank her father, Howie, for his unwavering support and unconditional love for her self proclaimed “little-weirdo-artist-self”.

Since the beginning, Mina has worked hard for the people and the art that she is passionate about and we are so thankful that she is a member of the IB community. 

August 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Dylan Uscher

Dylan is one of the best IB success stories! Although his first time in the theater was in high school, the show that really got him involved was Super Gay Comedy Fun Time back in 2015. As a newer stand up comedian, Dylan found his footing after performing in Comedy Lottery, LaughterRisk*, and at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. As he continued to grow, he wanted to try his hand at producing, which began with Queer Qomedy Hour (which just celebrated its one year anniversary!).

According to Dylan, he was “really apprehensive about starting standup because it seemed like such a straight boy’s club”. But after seeing Super Gay Comedy Fun Time, he has gone to not only travel as a celebrated queer comedian, but his leadership with Queer Qomedy Hour for the last year has encouraged so many other queer Qomedians to put themselves out there in the Boston comedy scene.

Dylan, we are so proud of everything you have done and all you continue to do. Although this chapter is coming to an end, we hope you return for many years to come.

July 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Emmy Serviss

For anyone who does not know Emmy, you are really missing out. She has so many hats around the theater as a strong voice in our sketch community as a writer, instructor, and director. Being as phenomenal a writer as she is, it makes the most sense to let her share her story in her own words.

“I moved to Boston in 2011, and when my friend picked me up at the airport to go to our new apartment, we first made a stop at IB so he could pick up tickets for a fundraiser. I had NO IDEA how much IB would intertwine into my life over the next 7 years. At first I was at the theater as a patron, and occasionally filming various Dennis Hurley projects. But eventually I started getting involved on the stage, and fell in love with sketch. I went from being a member of sketch groups (Accidental Awkwardness, Taco Party, Õhio Landslide) and specialty shows (Comedy, America! 2015-2016, Holiday Spectacular 2015, Fool Descending A Staircase) to directing these groups and shows (SUZZY, Comedy America, 2017-2018, The (First Annual) Sketchy Holiday HA-HA).

One of my favorite things about being at ImprovBoston is teaching sketch classes, and getting others excited about sketch. When I see students of mine getting accepted into Writer's Rooms, or starting their own sketch groups, or asking me about how to get more involved with sketch, it makes me feel like I'm doing something right. MORE SKETCH! SKETCH FOR EVERYONE!”

Thank you for all you do, Emmy. If anyone is going to make SKETCH happen, it’s gonna be you.


June 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Willy Hennigan

Willy Hennigan joined ImprovBoston in a classic tale. He started by taking classes in stand up and improv before becoming an intern, then a Front of House Staff member, and, most recently, a Tech Director. Willy has been known to spend any amount of hours at the theater, constantly covering shifts and working late nights, just to turn around and be the first one here the next morning. You have seen him at the box office with a smile, or a kind greeting on your way up the ramp.

Now as a Tech Director, we all get to see more of Willy. Not only has he conquered both theaters, but he has fallen in love with the community around him. Willy said he is lucky to be “surrounded by people who are inspired to be themselves and do what they love”, but we are the lucky ones.

Willy, thank you for always giving 110% to everything you do for us, and we hope to continue seeing you all the time, sporting some of the most amazing beanies known to mankind.


May 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Nonye Brown-West


As she departs for New York City, we want to celebrate the great Nonye Brown-West. Nonye has been a staple of the ImprovBoston standup scene, as well as a phenomenal team member behind the scenes. From producing Jelly: Women in Comedy and working with The People’s Show, she showed that her talents backstage were just as strong as her performances and hosting ability. Nonye brought in performers and audiences from all different backgrounds, and we are forever thankful for all of her time here. Enjoy NYC, and make sure to come back and visit soon.


April 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Chloe Zwiacher


Chloe Zwiacher is a true joy and light here at ImprovBoston. Chloe started taking classes in the summer of 2015, before moving into the office as a daytime intern, and then growing to Co-Producer of Comedy, Producer of Something Wicked, and cast member to the stars (including Face Off, Aww, Here It Goes, Mango, Gwen Chlo Chlo, and more). She has also had a hand in the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, IBConnect--our mentorship program, and the College Comedy Festival, showering all of us with her enthusiasm, energy, and grace.

Anyone who has worked with Chloe knows how determined and passionate she is. They also know not to arm wrestle her, since she can deadlift 255lbs. Over the last three years, Chloe has made herself indispensable with all of her gifts and her continuously positive attitude.

In true Chloe fashion, and matching her philosophy of “Be Kind, Be Generous, Have Fun”, she has several people she wants to thank. Joe Szafarowicz for believing in her, and actually buying Chloe’s first improv class. Erik Volkert for inspiring her in Improv 101. Danny Balel for being a friend and Improv Dad through 201, 601, 701, Short Shorts, and Something Wicked. Sara Burns for being “the most badass lady director” she knows. And last, but not least, the wonderful community of women at this theater, since Chloe is “constantly floored by their strength and talent”.

March 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Noah Pestana


Noah Pestana is not only a phenomenal tech director, he’s also involved in many other facets of ImprovBoston life. He is an IB die-hard who logs countless hours helping out around the theater, supporting the performers and staff, and generally making ImprovBoston a friendlier place to play. Outside the comfort of the tech booth, Noah can be found performing with his indie team, The Quarry, and producing shows like Madness the Musical in the Comedy Lab. He can also be found onstage between shows singing along to the drop tracks and occasionally lifting his leg behind his head (seriously, ask him).

Back in 2014, Noah signed up for his Improv 101 class to build his confidence going into job interviews. He got his current job while still in 101, and has continued to spend his weekends at the theater. He has gone on to countdown the New Year in the tech booth, and even accomplish his lifelong goal of singing in a musical while taking Musical Improv 201. When he is not at IB, he also produces OnPoint Improv, which provides stage time to indie teams while raising money for a different Massachusetts charity every month.

We always look forward to shows with Noah because of his endless dedication to the art of comedy. You are awesome, as well as all your amazing lighting cues.

February 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Morgan Mann


For those that haven’t met Morgan Mann, look no further than the first couple rows of the Main Theater. Morgan is an avid audience member and ImprovBoston supporter. She started attending Harold Night when her partner was cast in Fresh Blend, and is now on Top Shelf. However, the more she attended Harold, the more she fell in love with the community. “Honestly, the major reason I attend Harold Night is because it’s such a big community night, so I get to see all these people every week that have come to mean a lot to me and get to see them all be funny!”

Now, Morgan is attending shows two to three nights a week. From Studio 40, Cagematch, and Harold Night to Showcase shows and indie teams, she is always there and ready to laugh. “It's just very important to me to support people I care about, plus I get to see tons of amazing comedy so it's really a win-win situation!”. If there was a competition for ImprovBoston’s Number One Fan, Morgan would be a strong contender. Thank you, Morgan, for supporting the mission of the theater, filling up the crowd every week and laughing at all our jokes (even the bad ones).

January 2018 IB Awesome Award goes to...

Kwasi Mensah


Kwasi Mensah is a first rate comic and a first rate human. He's been a passionate member of our Standup Producing Team since the very beginning and is the new producer of our monthly Standup Jam. Kwasi is a kind, measured, creative and dang funny member of the IB family. He works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure comics have all the stagetime, logistics support, and resources they need to do their best in front of packed crowds show after show after show.

Kwasi speaks out with a strong voice and a collaborative spirit. He's constantly looking for ways the theater can improve, making suggestions with keenly perceptive insight and lots of heart. He understands the delicate balance between challenging an audience and giving them what they want. He observes the comedy community, our culture and the world with an eye for how we can actively step up and contribute to something greater than ourselves. Kwasi's artistic ambition is clear both onstage and off. He's a force for good in the Boston standup scene and we're grateful for all he brings to ImprovBoston. Kwasi--you are awesome. 


December 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to...

Dan and Lauren Chapman


For the first time, we get to give this award to a duo. Dan and Lauren melted our hearts with their kindness, joy, and humility both onstage and off.

Dan has been in the IB fam since his first class in 2008. In the last nine years, he has performed in nearly every resident cast and shared his passion with students in Improv 201, I2I, and YAP. “Teaching is one of my favorite things because the classes really helped me to get where I am now, and it is an experience I want to give my students. I want them to fall in love with it the same way I did, and I want them to be great!”. Because of Dan, so many of us have fallen in love with improv.

Lauren joined us in 2013 (Lauren Robinson, at the time) after moving here from New York. Since then, she has been a dream in both theaters wearing every hat you can think of. For the last two years, she has proven herself  a born leader as the producer of Studio 40, as well as a passionate and generous Improv 101 instructor. She is such a giving and welcoming presence, and that is even evident in her own words. “I want every student and new team that I interact with to know how important they are to the process.” We hope you know how important you are to us.

As the Chapmans head out to LA to pursue their California dreaming, we wish them nothing but the best, and will gladly send them all our snow.


November 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Mac Gostow

Mac Gostow wins comedy. For 5 years, our Lead Producer Mr. Gostow has proven himself indispensable in all the ways you’d imagine for a theater our size. He’s like a really good mechanic. You know him, you trust him with your car, you know he gets the job done and you have absolutely no idea how. He is some kind of car wizard that toils away whispering magical incantations into the unseen underparts of your beloved vehicle and then by some mystical chicanery it runs like a charm. (This is how cars work)

But Mac is so much more than the expert auto guy of the theater spreadsheet world. Mac is a big-hearted goofball who cares so deeply about you. Your show. Your passion. Your comedy dreams. Your comedy terrors. Your emotional well-being. You know, YOU. The arts are coded in his DNA and he eats/sleeps/breathes this theater. From day 1 when he started his internship as assistant to the Artistic Director, Mac was a force for calm, for resilience, for faith. He’s been that ever since in each of the many hats he's worn. He is insightful, kind, impenetrably organized, generous, weird, humble, talented, truly collaborative, snarky, hopeful and perpetually hungry (literally and figuratively).

Mac's lent his many talents to producing the Jam, Music Comedy Night, College Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Arts Fest, The StandUp Throwdown, Jelly: Women in Comedy Night (the list goes on). He's taken the stage with The Family Show, All Access, our music festival cast, You're All Gonna Die and an inspiring list of indie teams. He's represented the theater at conventions, marches, rallies, business meetings and brunches. As far as IB stuff goes, he's done it all.

While Mac is headed out to explore the world--as well he should--he leaves behind a legacy of laughs, generosity and solidarity that ImprovBoston will treasure for years to come. For us, a beautiful 5-year journey has come to an end. For Mac, a new one is just beginning. Bon voyage, good sir. 



October 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Marissa Farmer

Marissa Farmer has been a relentless champion of ImprovBoston for the past 9 months. Despite her relatively short affiliation with the theater, she's given just about everything someone can give in the time she's had including volunteering for the 35 Hour Comedy Marathon, volunteering for the Boston Comedy Arts Festival and diving into the role of number one audience member. 
Marissa found her way to ImprovBoston by Googling "Boston Improv Free" and, wouldn't you know it, we popped up first! (Thanks, AdWords!) She took our Intro to Improv class, checked out the Ladies Improv Jam soon thereafter and was hooked. She stayed awake for pretty much the duration of the 35 Hour Comedy Marathon in August and we specifically remember the 8am block attendance: the show host, the performer onstage and Marissa in the audience. 
She has dedicated a delirious amount of time to this theater and we are grateful every day to have her in the community and to have such an ardent supporter in our ranks. 
Marissa shares, "ImprovBoston means a lot to me. I've felt incredibly welcomed and embraced by so many and felt judged by so few. I think for every second or dollar I've contributed, it's been paid back to me with laughter and warmth. Every day, I can't wait to come back to what feels like a second family."



August 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Ellen Holbrook

Ellen Holbrook is the founder of ImprovBoston. After taking classes at Second City in Chicago, she came to Boston with a vision for what the comedy scene here could be. In 1982, the magic started. She brought together a talented group of performers, showing them the improv ropes as they honed their craft and developed the potential needed to get itinerant shows started. Flash forward 35 years and here we are with an expanding brick-and-mortar space, two theaters, 8 classrooms, hundreds of artists, thousands of students, tens of thousands of patrons and a considerable national profile. And it all started with the passion, dedication and creativity of one person: Ellen Holbrook. 
We're proud to count Ellen amongst our impressive list of alumni and thrilled that she was able to return for Alumni Weekend and the 35-hour Comedy Marathon earlier this month. At the end of the Marathon, we presented Ellen with the IB Awesome Award in perpetuity. Because she is, quite frankly, that awesome. Thank you, Ellen!


July 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Ryan Marchant


Ryan Marchant puts the pro in professional. An ImprovBoston House Manager and front of house staff member, Ryan is a shining example of ebullience and productiveness that makes patrons and performers alike feel at home. Always dressed to the nines and sporting a jolly demeanor that puts the Jolly Green Giant to shame, Ryan embodies the joy of comedy both onstage and off.
Ryan got connected with ImprovBoston in August of 2014 as an office intern, where he was instrumental in boosting the theater's social media presence in the days prior to the hire of a full-time marketing manager. Ryan would vigilantly manage the Twitter account and lent a helping hand in the office wherever he could. His joyful demeanor and valuable skillsets immediately made him an asset to the team. In May 2015, Ryan joined the front of house staff and for the past two years he has served as a bartender, box office representative, worked a variety of comedy festivals and earned his spot as an ImprovBoston House Manager.
While he's not holding down the fort, Ryan loves to improvise.
His onstage highlights include duo project Twin Marlin, an impressive 9-week CageMatch victory run alongside his brothers as, you guessed, it, The Marchant Brothers, and various Comedy Lab sets. A talented actor, Ryan has also appeared in Sh**-faced Shakespeare, Flotsam Productions' From the Sea, to Somewhere Else, and more.
Ryan will be moving on from ImprovBoston in the not too distant future and we are saddened to see him depart. If you see him upfront in the coming weeks, be sure to shake his hand and compliment his beautiful head of hair.



June 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Shannon Nolan

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A masterful technical director possesses a rare personality. The job calls for an individual that is assertive and anticipatory but also adaptable and relaxed under stress. Shannon Nolan has all these ingredients while also adding a double dose of smiles and assurance. When a producer hands over a set of sketch cues or a director looks at who will be calling their show's blackout, they breathe easier when they see Shannon in the booth.
Shannon came into the ImprovBoston fold in 2015 - not through the typical performer funnel but through a resume. Shannon's experience with performance arts and technical adeptness (matched with a charming personality) made the tech director hiring process easy. Shannon fit expertly into the fold of tech directors and quickly became one of the "go-to techs" for many performers, producers and directors. Shannon made a home in the Studio on Wednesday nights, teching the Comedy Lab and Comedy Lottery for the past two years. An eagerness to work more closely with experimental and developmental comedy acts matched with the technical experience gathered, made Shannon a shoo-in when it came time to bring more Comedy Lab producers onboard. Shannon now continues to tech the Wednesday night Comedy Labs and assists on the backend with the difficult process of booking, curating and communicating with the acts.
Shannon is a special project mastermind, working tirelessly as the technical director of T: An MBTA Musical which appeared both at ImprovBoston and the Rockwell Theater in Davis Square. Shannon assisted in the lighting, audio and design of the 2016 GoreFest production and will do so again this fall. A prime ambassador of ImprovBoston during the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, the College Comedy Festival, and the Women in Comedy Festival, Shannon works with acts from across the country. Shannon has also performed with Miyamoto's Revenge, indie teams Tristate Fair and Not Legal Tender.
If you haven't met Shannon, drop by our Studio Theater on a Wednesday night. You'll meet a person who loves to smile, loves the theater and loves comedy. 




May 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Blair Howell

Blair Howell has steered the good ship ImprovBoston for over a decade as a member of the Board of Directors. Prioritizing the interests of the community and artists, Blair has cultivated an ImprovBoston that is sustainable, organized and accessible.
In 2007, Blair joined the Board and fell in love with the tight-knit and supportive community he found at ImprovBoston. 5 years later he became Board Chair. Throughout the long and colorful board meetings, he always championed the power of comedy, leading with a true "Yes, And" mentality. So much so that he made his way through the entire improv curriculum so he could lead with the principles put forth in the art form itself. 
When you look around the theater, chances are you'll set your eyes on something that Blair himself installed. Several years back, Blair and the Board invested a great deal of time and energy in physical space improvements that give the space the polished and professional look it has today.  Infrastructure overhauls included a re-design of the Main Theater lighting system and HVAC ductwork (no small task), new stages, drapes, tech booth layout, house lighting, audio, video and control systems, new spaces, an audio PA, an HD Projector and a motorized dropdown screen, which he donated to the effort.
Blair shares, "IB has always centered on giving every individual artist the runway to challenge their artistic expression as much as possible within a supportive community - which is pretty darn cool."
Blair will remain on the Board for one more year but has handed the gavel to the amazing and wonderful Leslie Walstrom to lead IB to the next chapter. Blair now turns his attention to another arts institution in his home town of Reading. We've no doubt he will lead that organization to similar success. Thank you, Mr. Howell!

April 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Jennie Weiner



When it comes to non-profit comedy theaters, the big show happening offstage is as important as the productions onstage. It takes a special person to oversee behind the scenes initiatives while remaining a dedicated, inspiring and approachable leader. For the past two years, Jennie Weiner has been just such a guide, serving as Secretary on the Board of Directors and ceaselessly furthering a number of projects including diversity & inclusion integration, board governance and so much more.
Jennie got her start at ImprovBoston in 2007 through our comedy classes. She made her way through the improv curriculum and dabbled in standup as well. She advanced quickly and before long performed with shows and acts including the Family Show, We Three Kings, Agent Spy, This Improvised Life, Girl Incarcerated and Nightcap. While dazzling onstage, Jennie simultaneously worked hard out of the spotlight on important initiatives focusing on gender equity, board transparency, system overhauls and more. With Jennie's guidance, ImprovBoston has become a more diverse, efficient, transparent and sustainable organization that shows no signs of slowing its growth. She inspired fellow board members, encouraged them in their efforts and served as an important liaison between community members and the board, making sure that 'The Board" isn't some scary group of higher-ups but an approachable and caring committee of fellow comedy lovers. 
Fellow board member Ryan Sheely shares our positive sentiments, "I can personally attest that Jennie's leadership was critical in activating me while giving me a sense of purpose that has driven the past two years of my board term." Thank you for everything, Jennie. And congratulations on retiring your Board hat; we look forward to seeing you in the audience and on the stage again soon.

March 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Rachel Andelman

Rachel Andelman is passionate about comedy. Her love for all things funny shines through in all she does - and there's very little she doesn't do. Whether she's directing a cast, coaching college kids at Beanpot or lovingly trolling a post on Facebook, her bright sparks of energy and insight are second to none.
Rachel first got connected with ImprovBoston in 2011 as a member of the front of house staff. She returned in 2013 ambitious as ever and hasn't looked back since. A notable member of the indie circuit, she joined teams Russian for Elephant, First Impact, M'Dici, Charice the Bear and AB Chemistry. Her tenure on Harold Night has spanned several years as she has performed with Viceroy, Skateboard Graveyard, Stagecoach and Mothership. Rachel was also featured in ImprovBoston Showcase shows Puberty: An Improvised Field Trip, Red Alert, Magic: The Gathering: The Improv Show and True Defective. She's thrilled to be directing upcoming showcase show, The Last WASP in May. 
And it's Rachel's behind the scenes flare that has steered so many aspiring improvisers in the right direction. She coached indie teams Technical Error and currently coaches Studio 40 team Bonfire. She's directed or assistant directed Harold Night teams Duchess, 54 Forty and Gloria and she has served as a drop-in instructor, College Comedy Festival coach and team captain for Women of Harold Night over the past several years. Anyone looking for advice on improv, a poignant perspective on topical events or playful, artistic renditions of community members, can find it with Rachel. 
Rachel - thank you for your bountiful creativity, your dedication to developing talent and your terrifically enigmatic laugh. We are better with you. 

February 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Steve Sarro

comedy shows botson

Few people on earth embody their passion for their craft the way Steve Sarro does. If you've sat in the Main Theater at all the last three years during a packed Face Off show, there's nobody enjoying the show more than the guy literally bouncing over the keys with glee. He has music directed like half the comedy projects in the New England hemisphere and when it comes to comedy and music Steve has proved himself a staple in the singprov scene. 
Steve first set foot in the ImprovBoston community in 2012 with a Sketch 101 class. A stellar musician, he caught wind of the combination of improvisation and music and he was instantly, well, hooked. Within no time, he became the first resident music director for Face Off (a show that up until then didn't feature a music director) and since then has served as music director for most weekly resident cast shows and ImprovBoston special projects including musical masterpieces like GoreFest, Comedy, America!, Quest, Bistany's Mysteries, The Improvised Holiday Spectacular, Oregon Fail, Magic: The Gathering: The Show, Downton IB and many more. He even has a solo show called Songs in the Key of Steve. 
He reflects on his start at IB reminiscing, "I was going through a great deal of uncertainty about my career path and had just quit my 9-5 office job with no backup plan in a huge leap of faith, and ImprovBoston was the net that caught me." Steve has now become one of the people holding the net, and sharing his passion, dedication and affability with anyone searching for their path. 



January 2017 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Lauren Magnuson

Lauren Magnuson is the person you want to know and the friend you want to keep. She gets. Stuff. Done. With a go-getter personality that always has a new project or venture around the corner, Lauren takes the toughest parts of show production and makes them look like a cake walk.
Her performance tenure at ImprovBoston began in the spring of 2011 with an Improv 101 class lead by Artistic Director Emeritus, Will Luera. From there she joined indie free-form wizards Big Gulp and then became a member of Harold Night (teams included Eddy, Strangelove and Midnight Avenue), All Access Improv and now Boston Sketch Co. She has also been a cast member in showcase shows, WIPR: Improvised Public Radio and Oregon Fail: You Have Died of Comedy.
While simultaneously juggling her onstage exploits, her behind the scenes work has made her a pillar of the community. Lauren has proven herself an invaluable gear in the IB production machine, where she has executed logistical wizardry for shows including Comedy Lab, Harold Night, Milk Money, and the ImprovBoston Holiday Spectacular. She has worked countless hours the past couple years to ensure Wednesday nights at ImprovBoston are truly something special.
Most recently we are proud of her stellar new gig as the Business Manager of North Coast NYC. Fear not - hip hop improv shall flourish in Beantown and beyond.



December 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Jeff Chou

Jeff Chou is a bridge-builder of the highest order. Connecting comedians with creative means and building new opportunities for stage time, Jeff is a true curator of Boston comedy. 

Jeff first entered the ImprovBoston community in 2014 and has quickly established himself as a cornerstone over the past two years. As a founding co-producer of the ImprovBoston Diversity Mixer (now The Mixtape), Jeff worked hard to create a welcoming space for comedians representing diverse voices to share their stories, craft and comedy. And also snacks. Thanks to Jeff's tireless commitment, the monthly event is now one of Boston's most successful gateways to the world of comedy for rising talent of all backgrounds and perspectives. 
Mr. Chou has also been a trailblazer for longform improvised comedy in Boston, lending his talent and passion to Harold Night teams including Eddy and Rabbit while working behind the scenes to direct Strangelove and Saint Brad. Beyond ImprovBoston, he's an important member of the local troupe Naffy, orchestrating performances across the river at the Riot Theater. 
We can't wait to see what Jeff gets his hands on next!



November 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Peter Fenzel


Pete Fenzel's list of projects at ImprovBoston reads like the Magna Carta. He has served the community in a variety of roles for over a decade now, lending his expertise, his good-natured attitude and his willingness to assist with any project that presents itself. With an illuminating smile and a knack for athletic garb, Pete is an IB stalwart with a heart as big as his laugh. 
Pete joined us as a result of a move from New York City in 2005. He took all of our then 5 level improv curriculum at ImprovBoston's previous Inman Square location and then his graduating class formed a troupe called Unexpected Turbulence, coached by the illustrious Steve Kleinedler. From there he joined Neutrino Boston where he performed from 2007-2011. He went on to appear in projects including Doc Severinsen and the Short-range Time Machine, Quixote Ugly,  Uniprov: The World's First Unicycle Improv Group, Duets, Five Loco, Party Horse and more. Yes, we have more questions about the unicycle group too...
Pete was also instrumental in ImprovBoston's move to its current Central Square location, assisting with the demolition of the old space and the installation of many technical aspects in the theater. Since the move in 2008, he has directed a myriad shows including 1.21 Jigowatts: An Improvised Tribute to Back to the Future, Achievement Unlocked: An Improvised Video Game Tribute, In the Zone, an improvised tribute to the Twilight Zone, Whistle Whistle and Twin Marlin. 
But today's community knows Mr. Fenzel for his invaluable guidance with Harold Night, where he has been a long-standing cast member and director since its first expansion in 2008. He was a cast member on teams including Marjean, Shay's Rebellion and Rich Uncle. For the last several years, he has directed casts including Great Lakes and current Harold Night phenoms, 54 Forty. 
Pete will be stepping down from his role as Harold Night director this coming season, but what he has left is a legacy of unparalleled improv pedagogy and hundreds of improvisers who consitently utilize the performance tools he has instilled in them. We <3 Pete. 

October 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Barbara Kremen

ib awesome award

Barbara Kremen was a walking smile on the ImprovBoston stage. She was an active member of Active Ingredients, a house team at ImprovBoston and a student of Dana Jay Bein's Standup class. She was the founder of Improv Incubator - a meet up group based out of Cambridge (actually based out of an empty classroom at Lesley, where she worked her magic). She created a space for people who were interested in exploring or even just trying out the craft of improvisation. Through her work and inspiration, through her endless positivity and laughter she gave people the confidence to take the first step into the spotlight.
She volunteered her time and passion for the pure joy of the art and bringing folks together. She loved making people smile and making people feel welcome. While it may sound cliche, Barbara truly saw the best in everyone.  She inspired us to have more fun with each other and in front of an audience.
On September 10th 2016, Barbara lost her battle with cancer. She fought the hard fight for 2 long years along side her lovely doting husband Jason Baker, her ever-loving mother and father Phyllis and Stanley Kremen, and her brother Scott and sister Lori.

Barbara, thank you for embodying the spirit of ImprovBoston and for sharing your awesomeness with us, all too briefly. We love you Barb. 


September 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Ian Dyer



Ian Dyer has a smile that illuminates Sleepy Hollow, a wit faster than Speedy Gonzales and a laugh that wakes up a Snorlax. A man who seems to be in thirty places at any given moment, Ian has hand in just about every comedy cookie jar Boston could offer. His hunger to excel his craft, his eagerness to lend a hand and his endless enthusiasm make him a joy to work with behind the scenes and a showstopper in front of them. 
Ian got his start at ImprovBoston on March 23, 2013 (yes, he knew the exact date) and has never stopped never stopping as his onstage and production credits scroll on like the Magna Carta. Ian has volunteered behind the scenes for the Women in Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, Alumni Weekend and the College Comedy Festival, he has co-produced Harold Night, he has interned and worked with the front of house staff, has appeared in countless sketch and improv shows including Full Leather Jacket, Sophie, Two French Guys, Galaxy Poo (yup, it's real) and resident casts First Date, Houdini, Grove and Face Off. There are many more. He can tell you all of them, just ask. 
Ian departs for New York City this week to further pursue and refine his craft knowing that he will always have a home in Boston. Give him a farewell hug, buy him a drink at the Field and remind him that he bears an uncanny resemblance to Vizzini from The Princess Bride. Come back soon, Ian! 


August 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Ashley Voltz

Ashley Voltz works endlessly to keep the flame of sketch comedy burning with dazzling fervor. The sketch producer for Battle Royale and other indy sketch teams, she delivers fantastic and well-rounded shows while bolstering the presence and quality of the sketch comedy in Boston. One of the easiest folks to work with, her favorite outfit is the smile, which you can see her wearing anytime she's near the theater. 
Ashley first got her comedy fix taking classes through ImprovBoston's Comedy School in early 2013. She not only found it an outlet to meet new people but she proved herself dang talented in the process. She began honing her sketch craft through producing shows with Bistany's Mysteries, Baby Cut, Terrible People and ImprovBoston's annual Holiday Spectacular and breached the improv frontier with acts including Dreamphone, Proud to Be An American Girl, Oregon Fail, Cuddle Party, Dangerfield, hatchbabies, 20 Minute Movie and recently as a resident cast member with All Access and the harold team Saint Brad.
Ashley's eye for piercing sketch comedy in both the acts she writes for and the acts she books reveal just how much of an influencer she is in this community. With her creative assistance and guidance, sketch groups have flowed seamlessly through ImprovBoston's show pipeline and found stage time where they wouldn't otherwise. Thanks Ashely, for your passion for the craft, your endless support of aspiring comedians and your drive to ensure each act has the tools they need to go the distance. 

July 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
MaryBeth DeKara



Many folks flock to the ImprovBoston community because of the warm and supportive people. And there is one person in particular in this community who opens her arms to anyone, nurturing their growth as a performer and human while selflessly offering guidance. Her name is MaryBeth DeKara. 
If you know MB, you know she radiates positivity and kindness. A longtime ImprovBoston Comedy School instructor, she is an active gateway for comedy to hundreds of students annually and every student that passes through her class knows they have an active mentor and support system in her. 
MB first got involved with ImprovBoston as a performer in 2006 with longform troupe Neutrino Boston. In 2009 she really dug her feet in, working on the admin team as a Ticketing and Scheduling Manager and then as an Assistant to the Managing Director. She has also served in the capacities of house manager, bartender, box office representative, tech director, producer, director and personally hauled and installed the more than 75 chairs in our Main Theater that serve nightly as homes for butts. She has painted, cleaned, plunged, scrubbed and mopped every square inch of our facility over the last decade. And she did it all with a smile because she loves this place almost as much as this place loves her. 
MB has also produced The Comedy Lab, The Boston Comedy Arts Festival and has performed with acts including Channel Surfing, On Deck, Shay's Rebellion, The Ruckus, The Family Show, Rich Uncle, Panamax, Screen Time, Comedy, America!, Rabbit, ImprovBoston's National Touring Company and more. 
If you are ever looking to talk to someone about comedy, MB probably wants to talk to you. Not just because she has words of wisdom to offer but because that's just the kind, caring and compassionate person she is. 

June 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Jenny Trenchard


Some good things come out of Canada - hockey, great comedy and Justin Trudeau's smile, to name a few. But every once in a blue moon a magical creature crosses the border and settles in the old U S of A. While some would argue Justin Beiber was a boon, there is no arguing that the greatest Canadian entity to grace America's soil is Jenny Trenchard. 
Night in and night out, Jenny works endless hours behind the scenes to keep ImprovBoston's patrons cheerful. She does the staff and performers proud with a spirit that makes you question the true placement of the Northern Lights. The coveted blend of affable and decisive, Jenny is a leader of leaders, transforming the role of House Manager from "nighttime boss" to "the guiding force of goodness" on even the most stressful Saturday night.
Our welcoming ambassador came to us a little over one year ago and the improvements the theater and community have seen over that time are palpable. Jenny has swiftly navigated ImprovBoston changes including staffing, inventory, ticketing processes, festival development, theater infrastructure, and that's just the tip of the Newfoundland iceberg. Whether it's a mother orchestrating her child's birthday party or rowdy college kids out to catch a late night comedy show, Jenny throws down the red carpet for each and every soul that steps inside our theater. 
Jenny - we're glad Canada made you who you are, but we are even more glad you've helped make us who we are. 


May 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Corey O'Rourke


It takes a very special type of person to fuse relentless support and encouragement with swift, determined professionalism. Corey O'Rourke does it all--it's just the type of person he is. An unflappable comedy camp instructor and cast member of ImpovBoston's National Touring Company and All Access Improv, Corey throws himself at every opportunity to help out behind the scenes.
Corey got his start at ImprovBoston in fall of 2013, when he was cast on Harold Night and the National Touring Company. Since then he has been a cheerleader for developing talent in all its forms and a beacon of support for his peers. He showcases the power of the work we do with kids through our summer comedy camps, where he transforms shy youngsters with no improv experience into self-confident artists over the course of 4 days every week. His impressive talents with youth are on full display in our anti-bullying work at local schools where he quite literally changes lives. He champions the art form and furthers ImprovBoston's mission to serve the community through laughter with every person he comes into contact with. As our Artistic Director put it, "Thank you for believing in all our art form can be and always being the guy to step forward and say 'I got this. I got you.'"

April 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
the Women In Comedy Festival Producing Team

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April is Women in Comedy Month and who better to honor than the indefatigable heroines of the Women in Comedy Festival. For eight years, this festival has celebrated women in comedy, seeking to bridge the comedy gender gap through providing talented women (and men) an opportunity to showcase their craft. While every festival needs a dedicated staff (the fest wouldn't be possible without assistant producers Christine Cannavo, Valerie Frank, Michelle McNulty, and Dave Sawyer), these three lead producers have made the collective mic drop of women in comedy heard 'round the nation. Elyse Schuerman, Michelle Barbara and Maria Ciampa have shared their improv, sketch and standup comedy talents with Boston for decades and banded together to form the Women in Comedy Festival in 2009 here at ImprovBoston. Their invaluable work has blazed the trail for thousands of funny women in Boston and for thousands more to come. We are proud to continue our partnership with the WICF and these Awesome producers year-round.


March 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Francesca Villa

Francesca  "Yung Chess" Villa is wanted in 7 counties for being too fresh for life. With an unmatched swag that makes Kanye's butler look like Jeeves and an assembly of fresh hightop kicks that stretches well over a mile, Villa is a true game killa. And beyond cosmetic swag, her unflinching willingness to throw herself into and dominate any and all projects is what gives her the realest OG cred in the unruly streets of comedy. 
Real talk, Francesca has brought a raw enthusiasm, energy and passion for comedy arts since her IB inception in 2012. She is a behind-the-scenes force, directing and producing shows including Improvised Dreamphone, Spice Girls: World Tour, Just the Duo of Us, The FranShow and ImprovBoston's monthly peril-fueled comedy showcase, LaughterRisk*. She has coached burgeoning crops of young comedians in the College Comedy Festival and routinely lends a hand in volunteer projects at the theater. Her performance creds are also impressive and include the ImprovBoston Family Show, All Access Improv, The ImprovBoston Holiday Spectacular, Devlin Down, Milk Money, and her masterpiece, BokCITY, among others. Yung Chess brings people together over their shared love for comedy like nobody else.
Even the hardest comedy warriors get sentimental sometimes. Yung reflects on her empire, "I just want people to have fun doing good work, and feel supported in this community."

February 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Sean Gilligan

"Maybe you’ve seen Sean Gilligan at a show as an enthusiastic member of the audience. Or maybe you’ve seen him at an IB town hall, explaining legal document or policy statement for Tom or Mike, or if you’ve attended an open board meeting, you’ve seen him explaining again to the rest of the board about compensation packages or HR policy. A partner at Boston law firm Gesmer Updegrove, Sean has been a long serving member of the ImprovBoston Board of Directors. He has volunteered his expertise for years, guiding the theater through all the legal trials that a not-for profit arts organization faces. He has administered contracts with landlords, contractors, insurers, architects, accountants and the other professional services an organization like ours requires. And he has been significant in facilitating the move from Inman Square to Central Square, crafting trademark policy, the IP policy that we use for the video recording of performances, and agreements with other groups and performers so we stay out of the deep legal doo doo that is often right in front of us.
Sean is leaving the board after many years of unheralded but incredibly important volunteer service, and we thank him for his contribution and wish him the best in the future."
Write-up graciously provided by Board Member Roy Doolittle.


January 2016 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Kevin Quigley

Super Fan. Volunteer. Video Runner. Host. Performer. Writer. Booker. Podcast Guest. Creator. Festival Curator. Producer. Competition Judge. Director. Comedy Nerd.
Kevin Quigley's exploits and evolution in the Boston comedy scene read like a biography on Alexander the Great, though not quite as ruthless. Few folks in Boston possess such inexorable drive for the craft and passion for all comedic forms. Kevin has put an immeasurable number of hours into his work at ImprovBoston, elevating the caliber of sketch, standup and storytelling and has, we believe, seen more shows at ImprovBoston than anyone else ever. Period.
Kevin has been involved at ImprovBoston for nearly ten years, getting his start as a video runner for Neutrino and making his way through one project after the other. In 2012, he found his baby in SketchHaus, where, to this day, he produces a weekly playground for local Boston sketch acts. His directing credits include Sketch Avengers, The August Monologues Duct Tape Revolution/World of Hurt. His producing credits include Comedy, America!, Hook, Let There Be Rock, Best of Boston Sketch Comedy and The ImprovBoston Holiday Spectacular. And that's not even half of the list.
Kevin has also pioneered outlets for progressive comedic forms including Wild Memory Nation and Night Moves - a show that unites local storytellers, OpenHaus - Boston's first sketch comedy open mic, LaughterRisk* - a variety show that pushes comedian's comfort zones and Super Gay Comedy Fun Time, which sought to elevate the presence of GLBT comedy.
Looking for Kevin? He'll be in the front row of the crowd, your biggest fan, with a Redbull in hand and a laugh that echoes his genuine fire for comedy. Thank you Kevin, for your enormous heart and relentless passion.

December 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Nate Lopez

Nate Lopez is a pillar of ImprovBoston. Nobody knows quite how he finds time for everything (maybe he's Santa?), but he supports the theater and everyone around him as a true life-long scholar of comedy. With unwavering determination, he jumps at every opportunity to elevate his craft - whether it be direction, production, teaching, coaching, performing, or binge-eating alcohol-infused ice cream bars (for the art, of course).
When we asked him to direct this year's GoreFest, he took the job without hesitation, despite the enormity of the undertaking. Undaunted, Nate led the cast in putting on one of the best damn completely sold out original musicals we've seen in years. Whether it's as a Comedy School instructor, Family Show director, Showcase show producer (Prom or Wedding anyone?), indie team coach or Mainstage cast member, Nate brings the same insatiable hunger, humility and generosity to all he does. 
Nate single-handedly summed up everything wonderful about himself when he made a spur of the moment decision to get "General Tso's Chicken" tattooed in Chinese characters on his forearm...or at least that's what he believes it says. 
Thank you, Nate. You are #IBAwesome. 


November 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Taylor Cotter

comedy clubs boston ma


We hold dear to the rare gems that leap at the opportunity to lead or assist with any project before them. With striking initiative, a mastery of communications and a twinkle in her eye, Taylor Cotter is one of these rare gems.  
One of the most dang pleasant to work with, Taylor has lead the charge in a potpourri of projects whose expansiveness is second only to her immense kindness. Storming into the Boston comedy scene in 2013, Taylor performed with groups like ComedySportz Boston, Improv Jones and the indy troupe Cuddle Party. She quickly added the title of producer onto her resume with a variety of ImprovBoston projects like Dream Phone: Whose Got a Crush on You, So That Happened and the Harold Nigh: Fresh Blend Jam. As if this wasn't enough she became a director this year, leading the way with Nancy Drew, Truck Stop Diner and The Quarry. Perhaps the magnum opus of her young career, Taylor just wrapped ImprovBoston's first-ever Main Theater duo showcase, DoubledOver in which she provided an outlet for Boston's most talented duo acts to get the spotlight they deserve. 
As she continues to crush everything in front of her and does so with a smile that shows she's in it for all the right reasons, Taylor shares "ImprovBoston has truly made my life so much better." Taylor - we want you to know the feeling goes both ways. 


October 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Mike Cox

With an unmatched tenacity, tireless work ethic and a heart bigger than Donald Trump's ego, Mike Cox has led the Boston Comedy scene to new heights over the past several years. With a list of producing and directing credits that would make Mr. Claus weep, he has built bridges between theaters, carved performance opportunities for independent teams and pushed the boundaries of comedy production in the city. And even though at times he miraculously juggles more projects than anyone could fathom, he does so with a laid-back grace and that "Oh Mike Cox just entered the building" smile that forces you to be a happy person. 

Mike found his way to ImprovBoston's Yes And Practice in 2012 and the funny bug bit hard. Soon after he made his way through the entire Comedy School improv curriculum and polished his comedy as a member of independent teams like Ch!co, The Harmondo and many more. In fact, it would be futile to list all of Mr. Cox's projects but some of the most notable ones include BAIT, which united the city's independent improv teams, current producer of Studio 40 and producer of ImprovBoston's inaugural upcoming duo showcase, DoubledOver. 
Mike - countless independent teams share a deep gratitude for all you have done for them the past couple years. And the ImprovBoston community thanks you for showing what's possible when love of comedy and exceptional producing skills join forces. 


September 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Luke Bruneaux

Luke Bruneaux is the bridge-builder of ImprovBoston with his unmatched tenacity, dedication and love for the craft. He is one of the most laid-back, friendly and thoughtful comedy proponents you will meet and with a sense of endearment and his knack for bringing folks of different stripes together, has garnered the monicker: "ImprovDad". 

Luke is a longtime member of the long-running Boston indy staple Aeropuerto and currently performs in three ImprovBoston resident casts-- Family Show, All Access Improv, and Harold Night's Top Shelf team, Duchess. He has also been a key figure in projects including Atreus, INC, Double Feature, Spice Girls, Bok City, The Con Men, True Defective and more. 
While Luke is inarguably hilarious onstage, his tireless and passionate work behind the scenes make him a textbook IB Awesome Award recipient.  He skillfully produced a sold-out run of CageMatch from 2012-2013. He now is the creative producing force behind the monthly community-centred So That Happened, Cambridge's funniest talk show, where he recruits Boston cultural icons to tackle serious issues in a comedic setting. Luke has also worked wonders for the comedy scene outside the walls of ImprovBoston as a founding producer of the Riot Theater's Indie Night. 
Thanks for making us all remember how cool a comedian can be, ImprovDad.


August 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to... 
Jamie Loftus


Few minds have the ability to extract comedy from the raw, surreal and bizarre fringes of the human psyche. But Jamie Loftus dwells there comfortably. 
A true comedic powerhouse, workhorse and leader, Jamie has led a march of boundary-pushing comedy at ImprovBoston since 2013, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes. As a producer, director, writer, instructor, comic, improviser, crew member and house manager, Jamie has left an indelible stamp on ImprovBoston and in the span of a few short years, has inspired fellow performers, co-workers and patrons alike to breathe new life into the art of comedy. Although she leaves for Los Angeles this month, she has left a ketchup handprint on everything she touched at this theater.
Jamie got her start in the front of house crew and quickly climbed the ranks, becoming a house manager and associate producer of the theater. She has produced a multitude of shows and events including the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, College Comedy Festival and Battle Royale.
She exhibited her prowess at all comedic forms as an improviser in the Family Show and All Access Improv, a sketch writer/director for Divorced Siblings, Basketball City, Death Wish, Girl Choir, Creating Creating Rem Lezar, The Holiday Spectacular, Bad Art and Farewell and a standup comic, appearing on Fox's Laughs, the Women In Comedy Festival, Boston Comedy Arts Festival, Laughing Devil Festival, Chicago Women's Funny Festival and as an opener for Kumail Nanjiani and Chris Hardwick. 
Jamie Loftus is the only person at ImprovBoston to ever eat an entire can of dog food onstage.

July 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Amy Click

The brilliant Amy Click has impacted more ImprovBoston shows over the last couple years than anyone thought possible. With infectious charisma, she lent her talents as a director, producer, performer and host all while maintaining an unparalleled professionalism. 

Click is a shining product of the ImprovBoston pipeline, getting started with comedy classes in 2012 and being cast on Harold Night team Intervention in the spring of 2013. While remaining an active performer on Harold Night in teams including First Date and Houdini, she dipped her toes in many other acts including M'Dici, Aeropuerto, Baby Giraffes, Downtown IB, Space! Asteroid Mission, Red Alert, So That Happened and Party Quirks: The Show (Yes, THAT one) and ImprovBoston's Mainstage.
In 2013, she served as co-producer of Comedy Lab where she radically bolstered the presence and programming possibilities of ImprovBoston's home for experimental comedy. She also produced a handful of studio shows including The ImprovBoston Dating Game and Nancy Drew and the Improvised Story. As if all this wasn't enough, she co-directed Harold Night team War Cupcake and other indy teams. Ok phew. That should be it...
A comedic powerhouse to say the least, Click reflects on her time at IB with a bittersweet nostalgia, "I can't really describe how much this community means to me. This is the place where I learned to be funny, where I learned that I am funny. I've learned so much about how to be on stage, how to improvise, how to read a room. But even more importantly, this is the place that gave me a home in Boston."
We are sad to see Amy depart for the Great Golden State, but know that she will keep the masses laughing and continue her amazing work.


June 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Ben Walsh

For the past 18 months, Ben Walsh served as the mastermind behind Harold Night, ImprovBoston's communal celebration of longform improv comedy. With a careful determination, producing proficience and brilliant execution, Ben built on Harold Night's legacy as a pillar of the ImprovBoston community. He's also just the kindest, most sincere guy you'll ever meet and put in countless hours to take Wednesday nights at ImprovBoston to a new level of funny.
Ben joined the ImprovBoston community in 2011 as a Comedy School student. He discovered a magnetic connection to longform improv and began exploring his love for the Harold with teams Birthday Milk, BANKWOLF and Houdini. He also appeared in the showcase show "Camp", which kickstarted a series of comedy shows exploring the culturally satirical momentous occasions of our lives. He shifted his talents from the stage to behind the scenes as director of Garbagetown and Rabbit and ultimately as producer of Harold Night. Ben found another outlet to flex his comedy muscles as co-producer of Harold Night's Wednesdaynight sister, Comedy Lab, raising the bar and opportunities for experimental comedy at ImprovBoston.
Though Ben steps down from his command post as producer of Harold Night, Ben will remain an integral member of the community as he looks to take on more performance opportunities. Thanks, Ben for your talent and vision that took Harold Night to a new place we never thought possible.



May 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Alex Tennant

improvboston ib awesome award

Alex Tennant is a comedy surgeon. In addition to being a dedicated Harold improviser, Alex is all about dissecting the art and looking at life through the lens of improvisational comedy. Tackling fragile topics in comedy such as gender representation, diversity, and a myriad others, Alex is an influential proponent of the power of comedy to shape lives and social conditions.
Alex was first introduced to improv in college as a member of Clark University's perennial College Comedy Festival champions at ImprovBoston, The Peapod Squad. Alex officially joined the ImprovBoston community post-college, performing at Harold Night with teams Eddy and Houdini and at Studio 40 with duo team Whistle, Whistle. Alex recently signed on to co-produce the Harold Night Jam, looking to shape the structure and vision of the final and most communal component of every Wednesday evening at the theater.
Last summer, Alex participated in the iO Summer Intensive in Chicago and her heart stayed there. We are sad to see Alex move to Chicago in September but rejoice in the intentional perspective she brings to comedy through her blog, producing and behind-the-scenes volunteering. Thank you Alex, for bringing such positive energy to our community and challenging us all to be better. You will be missed.


April 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Tim Cusack

Tim Cusack is hip, trendy and really good-looking.  One of those rare personalities that nails the balance between laid-back and assertive, Tim is a brilliant jack-of-all-trades by day and comedy nerd by night. As a House Manager, Tim maintains a level head in a theater where so many logistics and moving bodies would render more volatile folks unconscious.

In 2009 Tim came to see a Face Off show at ImprovBoston and that same year began making his way through sketch comedy classes. Sometime in 2011 our office staff interviewed Tim and hired him on the spot, as he was both brilliant and experienced but mostly because he looked like James Van Der Beek. When he first arrived he helped boost staff professionalism, setting the bar for dressing sharp and top-notch customer interaction. He helped us organize processes and keep the office clean, working 5 nights a week and pouring every ounce of himself into making IB a wonderfully warm place for patrons and performers alike. 
Tim performed regularly with sketch troupe Daft Agenda over the course of four years and has lent his sketch prowess to performances with Gypsies, Stamps, and Bees, the Ruckus, World of Hurt, Best of Boston Sketch, and the Prism show. He's also dabbled in standup and improv classes here.
Since the beginning of his tenure, Tim has seen the theater undergo many changes and has helped us navigate them with kindness and candor. Deana Criess, ImprovBoston's Director of Sales shares, "He has a laugh that is amazing to hear, and if you ever get to see his non snarky smile it is a joy. He is also one of the funniest people at our theater." 



March 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Rosena Cornet

Rosena Cornet is the kind-hearted, brilliant and driven individual that people dream of working with. A flawless juggler of projects both onstage and off, she pursues comedy with an unwavering determination that results in everything she touches turning to gold. But perhaps most impressively, she maintains her cool, collected and genial persona, making all feel welcome and invited to partake in her mission for comedy.
Rosena has taken the stage in many capacities since her start at ImprovBoston in 2013 performing with Russian for Elephant, Bodega and An Improvised Women's Prison. Her onstage experiences enable a behind-the-scenes producing prowess that make her truly awesome. She has produced an array of shows including History 101 & Fufu & Oreos, leading to several sold-out runs and unforgettable performances. She has also served as a producer for the College Comedy Festival the past two years, executing the laborious task of acquiring sponsors while carrying relations and spearheading communication with the performers. In 2014 she served as a host for acts in the Boston Comedy Arts Festival and made for an exceptional ImprovBoston ambassador. She also develops experimental comedy in all its forms and puts performer's comedy dreams onstage as a co-producer of Comedy Lab.
Rosena will no doubt be around the theater this month, providing an outlet for the next up-and-coming comedy act with a smile on her face. Say hello and thank her for the amazing work she does. She is truly Awesome.


February 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Stirling Smith

Stirling Smith is a friendly firecracker of the highest order. With a lightning quick mind, a tireless work ethic and a huge heart for others, she can make anyone stepping into the ImprovBoston lobby (veteran performer or first-time customer) feel welcome and loved.
The comedy bug bit Stirling hard in Spring of 2009, when she took her first improv class at ImprovBoston. But her real forte came in the form of standup comedy: an outlet that caters perfectly to her poignant, hilarious social observations and commentary. She has served behind the scenes as an indispensable member of the front of house staff day-in and day-out for several years.
She captures the extent of her love for laughter when she says, "the sound of laughter is one of the most satisfying and universal joys any human can experience. It transcends gender, class, age, physical and psychological borders. I am certain that through our continued pursuit of this most creative endeavor we can make the world around us a little more enjoyable, more pleasant if only for a moment."
Thank you, Stirling, for all you've done and will continue to do for this theater and community. 


January 2015 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Will Lautzenheiser

Will Lautzenheiser proves the power of comedy to change lives. In September 2011, Will contracted a severe infection that left him a quadruple amputee. In 2014, Will received a double-arm transplant in a ground-breaking surgery at Brigham & Women's Hospital. Finding humor in the least likely of places, Will turned to comedy. He shared his personal story through standup (on a dare) arranged by IB regular Myq Kaplan at the ImprovBoston NightCap in 2012. Will met his good friend and partner in comedy-crime Steve Delfino at that show and since the duo has performed over seven sketches at The Kerfuffle and SketchHaus in the past two years. 
Will pushes the boundaries of comedy with expertly crafted high-wire sets that challenge both performers and audiences alike. The subject of Stumped, an award-winning documentary short currently on the film festival circuit, Will is an increasingly familiar face to Boston crowds and is eager to return to ImprovBoston for more comedy after completing his rehabilitation. Will jokingly reflects, "I've gotten standing ovations on two occasions at IB, but I can never tell if that's just people mocking me...."

December 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Sarah Pelrin

Sarah Pelrin balances a rare combination of tireless work ethic, affable personality and conscientious leadership. For the last couple years, Sarah has held down the fort as House Manager at ImprovBoston, the authoritative yet endearing voice that commands both attention and admiration. Always placing the good of the theater before herself, she has served in many capacities including social coordinator for the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, ComedyCamp assistant, festival volunteer, and even took over staff scheduling responsibilities for the better part of the past year. She brings the same charisma to the stage with Studio 40 hall of famers Disco Basement.
She sums up her love for the theater nicely when she recalls, "I once wore my ImprovBoston t-shirt in one of my school photos at my day job." Sarah, thank you for your tireless behind the scenes work that allows ImprovBoston to flourish as a home for comedy. You make audiences feel welcome, you keep things running smoothly for the artists and you are as dedicated as they come. Thank you for everything you do week in and week out.



November 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Marcelo Illarmo

Marcelo joined ImprovBoston in 1999 as a cast member of TheatreSports. Since that time, Marcelo worked on many shows at ImprovBoston like Playbook, Election, and his acclaimed one man show, Tales of a Broken Heart: Not a Love Story.  Marcelo produced and hosted the Sunday night Jam alongside JR Strauss from 2004 to 2007. Marcelo’s one true love, however, was Face Off, where he served as the emotionally distant father figure for over a decade.  A pillar of the ImprovBoston community, beacon for new improvisers and supporter of the comedy arts both onstage and off, he made the theater feel a bit more like home for all of us. Thanks for lighting up the stages of ImprovBoston for a decade and a half, Marcelo. Come back and visit!


October 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Jake McDowell

In 2011, Jake wandered into ImprovBoston as a wide-eyed intern and today he is the unmistakable face of ImprovBoston - the smiling bearded gent that will answer all your questions with a glimmer in his eye while also making you feel like the luckiest person alive. An energetic, affable and discerning House Manager, he mans the S.S. ImprovBoston from his cherished command post in the front of the lobby. Whether it's herding hundreds of Boston Comedy Arts Festival out-of-town performers or recommending a show to a first-time patron, Captain Jake steers the ship, a truly admirable admiral.

With a theater arts degree from Boston University, Jake has unique clowning expertise he developed overseas at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, which he has used to lead workshops with ImprovBoston's Family Show. Jake brings a wealth of talent, a passion for physical play and smiles to coworkers, fellow performers and audience members alike. A hilarious standup comedian, he spreads the gospel of standup to aspiring comics as an instructor at ImprovBoston's Comedy School. Follow him @JakeMcDoo for his snippets of silly.

Jake reflects on his proudest moment at ImprovBoston as the time the Front of House crew played one song from Shrek: The Musical for two full hours. ImprovBoston is proud to recognize Jake's awesomeness with this award, not just for the amazing leadership he exhibits day-in and out but because he is an inspiration to anyone and everyone who has the pleasure of knowing him. 


September 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Emily Holland

For the past three years, Emily has been a Family Show, Face Off and TourCo cast member, Comedy Lab producer, Comedy School instructor, Assistant to the Managing Director and Associate Producer. She got her ImprovBoston start with the College Comedy Festival (aka: the Beanpot) through her college troupe, The Peapod Squad. Coming full circle, she rose through the ranks to ultimately produce the growing festival, passing her passion and expertise on to the next generation of comedians. Behind the scenes, Emily is a fierce advocate for artists. As a producer and member of the management team, she has been instrumental in not just keeping IB's doors open through several major transitions but in fostering an impressive array of new creative opportunities. At the helm of Comedy Lab, she directly supported scores of experimental and in-development projects. Her endearing snark, contagious enthusiasm and startling talent for multi-tasking have benefited hundreds of resident IB artists and visiting acts from around the country. 

Emily's given so much and worn so many hats (not literally. She doesn't like hats). As she says, "ImprovBoston has been more than a place to grow comedically. I found my family here and honestly have no idea where I would be without the unbelievably supportive, generous, kind humans that ImprovBoston draws." You're one of those supportive, generous and kind humans, Emily Holland.
Good luck in LA! We're behind you all the way. 


August 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Brendan Mulhern

In 2008, Brendan set foot in ImprovBoston for his first class and has been a tireless warrior tenaciously spearheading all forms of improvisation ever since. He spent two and half years on Rich Uncle, contributing his longform talents on stage and passion offstage to Harold Night.  Brendan co-created the iconic two-man buddy cop Manthorne & the Baron and lent his performance prowess to a variety of showcase shows including  1.21 Jigowatts, Gorefest 8: Cirque du Slughte, and Gorefest X: 28 Days Latte. 
But Brendan's service to the IB community extends far beyond the stage. With ImprovBoston's Touring Company, Brendan helped thousands of kids and teens through IB's industry-leading Anti-Bullying Program. A true inspiration in some of the roughest schools, Brendan's "tough love" approach and impressive physical presence won over even the hardest-to-reach kids. Even this summer, he's been busy spearheading ImprovBoston ComedyCamps, leading the next generation of comedy superstars. He produced the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, served as a tech director, and got his hands dirty with countless volunteer efforts including ripping up and replacing the stage following a post-Gorefest fruit fly infestation. He lent his Mulhern muscles to installing new seats in the main theater, sound proofing the Green Room, building a banister, hanging lights in the lobby, and much more. He describes his labor as "Hard work, but a mere token of gratitude in return for what this theater has given me: a true sense of self." The ImprovBoston community sends our love as Brendan makes the move to Chicago. Thanks, Mr. Mulhern!


July 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...

Allen McRae

Allen has dedicated himself to elevating the level of sketch comedy at ImprovBoston since 2007.  He began at IB as a member of one of the theater's first resident sketch teams, The Latchkey Kids. From his conceptual debut in 2009 with the offbeat UHF show he co-produced and his work with sketch teams Duct Tape Revolution, World of Hurt, and The Allen McRae Show, to the showcase shows The Best of Boston Sketch (co-producer) and Comedy, America! (director), Allen has been a tireless proponent of quality written comedy. As a member of the IBCS faculty, he's helping to shape the next generation of sketch writers.  In addition to creating, writing, producing and teaching Allen has also unified the sketch community through building bridges with representatives from sketch teams and shows while working with Artistic Director Mike Descoteaux to create a comprehensive sketch structure at the theater. He looks to push the boundaries and possibilities of sketch with his new group, World of Hurt. Allen reflects, "It's been rad to see the rise of the sketch community at ImprovBoston, from afterthought to selling out the main stage, WE DID IT MA!" ImprovBoston continues to embrace sketch as a comedic force and Allen is at the forefront of the movement, never flagging in his determination to make Boston an amazing city for sketch.


June 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...

Sasha Goldberg

Sasha Goldberg is a renaissance woman. One of the most respected multi-talented artists at the theater, Sasha has performed as an improviser in many of the most influential shows at IB: from The Robert Cycle to Blue Screen, Agent Spy to Micetro, Sasha's resume of showcases reads like a Wikipedia article on IB icons. With resident casts, she's added her kindness and genius to Mainstage, Theater Sports (now Face Off) and Harold Night (Rondo, Maxitor and Specter). She's ushered in new generations of improvisers as a teacher in the Comedy School. She's directed. She's produced (Harold Night, anyone?). She's leant her professional videography services. She's even jumped into the office to help with fundraising and thankless administrative tasks when the theater needed it most. 
Sasha is a no-drama leader who is as happy to support quietly from the background as she is to bring a house down in the improv spotlight. ImprovBoston is a kinder, smarter, more creative and genuinely inspiring place thanks to Sasha Goldberg. 


May 2014 IB Awesome Award goes to...
Dana Jay Bein

For the past 13 years Dana Jay Bein has been a shining light at ImprovBoston. With infectious energy, unrelenting charm and terrible puns, Dana has been an integral part of our growth both onstage and off.

He created, developed and teaches in IB's StandUp Comedy Program, produces The Comedy Lottery, 100 First Jokes, Spooked Too Soon and his masterpiece, The People's Show. He also served as Operations Manager for two years and helped build (literally) our new theater during IB's transition from Inman Square to Central. His contributions to ImprovBoston as a standup, actor and improviser are rivaled only by his generosity and unwavering enthusiasm behind the scenes.

DJB gives himself fully in every performance, perhaps even at the expense of his own health, tearing an ACL on stage during an UnNatural Selection show in 2005. Dana says he's "blown away by this honor," though it is we who are blown away by the kindness and passion of this remarkable artist.  #IBGrateful



April 2014 IB Awesome Award Recipient 
Srilatha Rajamani

Srilatha Rajamani has logged a staggering number of hours at the theater for a relative newcomer. In addition to taking the stand up community by storm with her raw, disarming and unassumingly gut laugh-inducing brand of comedy, Srilatha has stepped up behind the scenes.

As an associate producer of SketchHaus and a moderator for the IB Community Facebook page, she's an unwavering pillar of support and kindness. Most recently, she helped create IB Good, the theater's program devoted to helping local organizations through volunteering and other good works. Srilatha is known to all as a steadfast cheerleader of comedy in all its forms.

As she puts it, her love for IB "could fill reams of paper," and her passion for celebrating the socioeconomic and cultural differences in Cambridge shines through her dedication to the many faces of ImprovBoston. 




March 2014 IB Awesome Award Recipient
Josh Garneau

Josh Garneau--Tech Director extraordinaire. Volunteer. Secret performer. Incredible guy. Josh was sucked into the IB vortex through classes and volunteering at Boston Comedy Arts Festival (then "BIF"). He's worked magic in the booth and beyond for ImprovBoston milestones like GoreFest, BCAF, The Ruckus, Women in Comedy Festival, Thorns, Downton IB and far too many more to list.

Few artists are content to work passionately from behind the scenes. For years, Josh has helped performers to look their best, directors to realize their artistic dreams and kept producers from going insane all while making his own significant creative contributions. Whether setting the bar for other techs, setting a blood cannon, making a cameo or mopping up after setting a blood cannon, Josh makes ImprovBoston a better place to play, take risks and laugh.

And after the countless hours, Josh remains as awesome as ever, saying: "I've been welcomed into a group that has hugged me as hard as I've hugged it back - and it's one of my proudest achievements that I am privileged to be a part of this community."

Thank you, Josh Garneau!

February, 2014 IB Awesome Award Recipient

TC Cheever

TC Cheever is the best example any of us could ask for of "Yes, And". Some of you may not have had the pleasure of knowing TC, but you certainly know of him.  Why? Because his legacy is so strong at this theater and in our hearts.  Why? Because his spirit and his work demand it.  TC came to ImprovBoston as a young man eager to learn and eager to share with a legendary laugh.  He left as a wise teacher, brilliant performer and patient director, all with that same legendary laugh.  On stage TC was the partner you dreamed of --- supportive, quick, and truly wanting nothing more than to make you look good.  Off-stage he was our kind-hearted bartender always ready to listen, the guy you always hoped was in your audience (again, that laugh) and the person ready to give you the best hug you ever had and who asked "How are you?" and really wanted the answer.  
TC started his ImprovBoston career at Jams with Renegade Duck, then began belting his amazing voice with Musical Improv Company.  He was a member then co-director of Theatersports where he was lovingly referred to as "singing Bobby".  He wrote many IB shows including An Evening with Ladley & Craig, What the Dickens and Lube! The Musical. 
TC was a great collaborator and an even better friend.  He inspires us to be better.  More than a dozen ImprovBoston community members were inspired enough to train for a year and head to Disney World a few weeks ago to run in his name.  Marathons, half marathons, 5K's, this man inspired people to push themselves beyond what they thought they could do.  He inspired them rethink what was possible.  He inspires all of us to do the same. 
His artistic voice lives on at ImprovBoston with Thorns, a show he co-created with Deana Criess which will have its sixth annual performance this Valentine's Day at 10PM.  All proceeds will benefit the TC Cheever Family Trust and The Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at Massachusetts General Hospital. 
TC, you truly were, and are, awesome.