How did it all begin?
It all began back in 1997 when founding partners Paul D'Amato, Chet Harding and Norm Laviolette were performing in an improv troupe called Rock Hard Improv at the old Hard Rock Café on Clarendon Street in Boston. They performed in the back room of a downstairs bar where their dressing room was a non-working elevator shaft. Waiters would walk through the middle of their scenes (from the back kitchen to the tables) yelling out, "Who ordered wings?"
In the spring of '97 HRC decided to turn that room over to a music room so Rock Hard Improv lost their performance space. The guys felt that it was interesting that there wasn't anything like Second City here in Boston. They thought if they could sell out an unknown space on Monday nights, "imagine what we could do with our own place!"
The troupe of Rock Hard Improv dissolved but Paul, Chet & Norm decided to incorporate in the summer of '97. They came across the vacant European Restaurant on Hanover Street , took out an SBA loan for $75k and signed a 5-year, ½ million dollar lease. In May of 1998 Improv Asylum performed their first show at their Hanover Street location and they never stopped. With live shows 6 nights a week, chances are we have a show tonight!
Who's still here?
Improv Asylum is currently still owned by Chet Harding & Norm Laviolette. Their philosophy is if we place an equal emphasis on business and artistic products; if we constantly do good shows, the customers will come back.
Where are we now?
What started as basement theater company with one cordless phone (with call-waiting) and hand-written tickets and with the owners and invested employees sitting on the top stoop "barking" . . . . is now still a basement theater that underwent a massive (& awesome!) renovation in the spring of 2010. We have grown up in the age of websites and emails and social media and are on the cutting-edge of it all. And yes – we now have a real phone system complete with multiple lines and a hold button!
Come and join the fun!
Improv Asylum is a comedy theater featuring improvisation and sketch comedy (think Whose Line is it Anyway? meets Saturday Night Live!). We have performed more than 10,000 shows for well over 2 million people. You could be next! We have shows 6 nights a week at our resident theater on Hanover Street in Boston's North End.
Improv Asylum also offers unique corporate training, hilarious customized corporate shows and a student training center. In everything we do, we strive to provide the best comedic theater experience. Check us out and find out why Improv Asylum is the "funniest show you'll ever be a part of!"™