In 1994 Kansas City’s Lighten Up Improv Co. gave birth to the first independent improv festival, and they named it Spontaneous Combustion.
“SpoCom” presented groups from Minneapolis, Iowa and Lawrence shared the stage with locals, butlater, SpoCom reached many other groups in Seattle, Boulder, Minneapolis, Frederick (Maryland) and Chicago.
After four years SpoCom became The US Improv Festival. Invited by KC’s new troupe, Funny Outfit, big-name directors like LA’s Dan O’Connor, Chicago’s Rebecca Sohn and Joe Bill, Rob Reese and NYC’s Jeff Wirth were all added to the mix.
With a new name, the fest continued to grow, and so did its young performers. SNL’s Jason Sudekis, Sonic guy TJ Jagodowki, 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer and Second City performers Mark Sutton, Corey Rittmaster and Tim Mason.
In 2007, City 3- former students of the Lighten Up Improv Co.’s high school improv league- teamed up with original producers and the fest was dubbed, The KC Improv Festival.
In 2007, City 3–former students of the Lighten Up Improv Co.’s high school improv league–teamed up with original producers and dubbed the fest The KC Improv Festival. They passed it off to the KC Improv Company, which produces today’s festival. They’ve built on the festival’s reputation for taking care of audiences and performers, and taken it to the next level.