10 Rising Improv Stars Who Deserve Their Own TV Shows

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer dancing on Broad City GIF(via)

The finale of the first season of Broad City is tonight, so let’s everybody put our hands together for goddamn gumption, right? That show was created as a web series by improv performers Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, and now it comes into our homes on Wednesdays at 10:30pm, courtesy of none other than Comedy Central.

Online series are far from rare in the improv community, but it takes a certain combination of hilarity, organization, balls, determination, and foresight to create something like the gem that is Broad City. It’s one thing to have a hilarious idea or a strong dynamic, but to stay with it until it comes to fruition is quite another.

SO. In the name of standing up and starting a slow clap for these ladies and their tremendous effing accomplishment, I made up a list of other hilarious improvisers that I would be thrilled to see follow in Broad City‘s footsteps and get a network and a time slot of their own. And not just because YouTube overwhelms me and I need to be putting things on my DVR that don’t start with ‘Real Housewives’, but also because they effing deserve it, on account of being so great.

(Note: I live in New York, so the performers I’m most aware of are typically based out of that area, specifically UCB. This isn’t a slight to other locations or theaters, I’m just not as aware as I should be — so please feel free to chime in with anybody that you think I missed and should check out!)

1. Connor Ratliff and Cathryn Mudon from I’m Too Fragile For This

Casual, honest conversations between friends Connor and Cathryn about anything from standards to periods to being overweight to…what exactly DTF stands for. (Hint: it’s not ‘double the fun’.) I have no idea where this would fit in on television, but I want it there yesterday.

2. Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata from Pursuit Of Sexiness

Best friends Nicky and Sheer are looking for the perfect guys, but they’re also willing to lower the bar to someone who can walk and breathe at the same time and be relied upon not to prematurely ejaculate.

Oh and yes, that’s Sasheer from Saturday Night Live, in case you demand a recognizable face in order to commit to a webseries, you DIVA.

3. Jordan Klepper and Laura Grey from Engaged

Jordan and Laura are recently married in real life, but this show delves into the hilarious pettiness of planning a wedding. Especially when you’re from Brooklyn and you need the right kind of barn. And bonus! Jordan’s the newest correspondent on The Daily Show, so our appreciation of him has already been validated.

4. Dru Johnston and Don Fanelli from Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

Dru and Don each perform with weekend teams at Upright Citizens Brigade, and have a sketch show up there now called Scenes From An Italian Restaurant that’s one of the best, funniest things I’ve seen at that theater in a while. They don’t have a series going yet, but the moment they do you’re gonna wanna check it out.

5. Jason Shotts and Colleen Doyle from Dummy

Jason and Colleen perform on a team called Dummy out of the iO theater in Chicago. They also haven’t moved into the webseries world as yet, but they come so highly recommended by friends of mine who live there that I couldn’t leave them off this list. So take a look at them talking about what improv means to them, or fly on out to Chicago and take in a performance. It’s your call.

6. Megan Neuringer and Sue Galloway from Escape From Brooklyn

Ugh, you guys. I love this one so much, and it’s only barely an exaggeration of Brooklyn. Plus, they have incredible guest stars, almost all of whom are fellow performers at various theaters throughout the city.

7. Jessie Jolles and Tracey Soren from DIBS

They describe themselves thusly: “DIBS is a series about two best friends and one serious relationship. Theirs.” and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t say it any better myself. These ladies write, film, and document that creepy feeling of awkward in ways that only the pit of your stomach can understand.

8. The Katydids from Teachers

The Katydids are a six person ensemble from Chicago…and yes, all their names are derived somehow from the name ‘Katherine’. And apparently six Katys are better than one, because they come up with some hilarious stuff — most recently their web series ‘Teachers’. And you guys as I was writing this I noticed that they just got picked up for a series with TV Land to be produced by Alison Brie like a week ago, so congratulations, you guys! IT’S ALL HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

9. Ann Carr from The Actress

Please immediately stop whatever you’re doing and look at this incredible series, you guys. As someone who graduated with a theater major myself, I wish it wasn’t so accurate, but WE CAN’T HAVE EVERYTHING WE WANT.

10. Alison Rich from The Body Is Disgusting

I don’t know who the HELL this character is, but I want her in my life all the time, so put her on the television, okay everybody? Thanks.

Did you catch all that, be-suited television executives of my mind? Okay, now let’s make it happen.

Share This Post:
    • Kaitlin Reilly

      How about Will Hines from VMK?!
      Fat Professor Forever.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Yeah that’s a good call, Will’s great! He and his brother Kevin had a long-running improvised show at UCB called The Brothers Hines that was awesome. And he actually guest stars in the episode of ‘Escape From Brooklyn’ that I included!

    • Lindsey Conklin

      hahahaahahhaha #1 & 2 are especially hilarious!

    • Warren Holstein

      All new episodes and seasons of The Actress may be seen at: http://www.theactresstheseries.com

    • Whitney G.

      I am from Chicago and studied improv at iO and had Jason as a teacher. I have only seen Dummy a handful of times, but I can attest to the fact that it is some of, if not THE BEST, improv happening in Chicago right now. Last time I saw their show my abs hurt for 2 days after from laughing so much. If anyone is ever in Chicago and can check out a show, I highly Highly recommend it.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Ugh, I really wanna go! I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone I know who’s seen them.

      • DMcG

        They come to NYC ever once in a while!

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        You’re in charge of keeping an eye out.

      • Amanda

        I second this. Most of the scenes they improvise are far greater than a lot of the things that are written in Hollywood these days. They can also play drama really well… Someone, quick, throw money at them!

    • FunTimes

      These guys probably don’t deserve a TV show, but the Kill All Comedy people make some pretty silly videos and also have done improv!
      https://www.youtube.com/user/KillAllComedy

    • Richard Regan Paul

      Brendan Jennings of Cook County Social Club https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htMee5F3r-M

    • krista O.

      DIBS! Is the best web series around! It makes you laugh and cry and I want it to BE A SHOW!!! SOMEONE DO IT!!!!

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    • Richard Lee