Five Famous Actors Who Started In Improv Comedy!

Improvisational comedy, the art of making comedy without writing a script, is more popular than ever! The short improv games seen on TV shows like Whose Line is it Anyway have evolved into a complex art form based on emotional truth and honesty. Comedy shows like SNL and Broad City regularly pull improvisors to fill out their casts of crazy characters. Here’s five famous actors who got their start by making it all up off the top of their heads.

  1. Bill Murray

This prolific star of Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Caddyshack got his start at Chicago’s storied Second City, a bastion of improv and sketch comedy. He took those skills as a launchpad to success, performing in the original cast of Saturday Night Live.

Tina Fey
  1. Tina Fey

Another Second City alum, Tina Fey used her improv background to become head writer on Saturday Night Live. She then used that experience to create her own sitcom, the critically acclaimed 30 Rock.

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  1. Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is one of the founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the biggest improv theatre and school in New York. After a stint on SNL as co-host of Weekend Update, she went on to star in the popular NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

  1. Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari started doing improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade while still in college, and created the MTV sketch show Human Giant with fellow improvisors Rob Heubel and Paul Scheer. Aziz can be seen now on the Netflix show Master of None, which he also writes and produces.

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  1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus

This Seinfeld alum also got her start in the Chicago improv scene. Now, she can be seen starring as the President of the United States on HBO’s Veep!


Improv is an incredibly useful skill to have in your back pocket, and directors and producers love it when actors agree to jump into a role without hesitation. Don’t forget to say “Yes, and…” to all of our casting calls and auditions here at ClaimFame!

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