Improviser Susan Messing

January 28th, 2014

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In this episode of Fear No ART Chicago, host Elysabeth Alfano goes behind the scenes with improviser Susan Messing, just minutes before her TBS Just For Laughs performance with Michael Patrick Thornton at the Annoyance Theatre.

Then, in a rare, unedited interview, Elysabeth talks with Susan and Michael on the stage of the Annoyance Theatre, just minutes after the show.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Susan Messing interview without a few bloopers and out-takes. Enjoy!

Susan Messing is a director and actress living in Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University and was a performer on The Second City mainstage. Messing is an ensemble member of Annoyance Theatre. She has performed in The Real Live Brady Bunch and directed What Every Girl Should Know… An Ode to Judy Blume based on the work of Judy Blume. She performed on NBC’s Late Friday and Comedy Central‘s Premium Blend along with her puppet Jolly after showcasing at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. Her critically acclaimed improvised show, Messing With a Friend, is in its fifth year, currently playing at the Annoyance every Thursday night. She also voiced the character “Eos” in the 2001 video game Red Faction.

Susan teaches and performs at the Annoyance Theatre and the Improv Olympic. She also teaches improvisational comedy for DePaul University, The University of Chicago and Loyola University. Her essays have been published in The Second City Almanac of Improvisation and in Charna Halpern‘s book, Art By Committee and endorsed Jon Jon Lannen‘s book The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh.


Susan, a CIF Artistic Associate, is also a New Jersey native and a graduate of Northwestern University. She has performed for over twenty years with Chicago’s iO Theatre, and created and teaches their Level Two Curriculum which is used in Chicago and LA’s iO West.   At the legendary Second City, Susan wrote and performed in two main stage revues and directed their National Touring Company. Susan is a founding member of the infamous Annoyance Theatre where she has created roles in over thirty original productions, including Co-Ed Prison SlutsThe Miss Vagina Pageant, and Your Butt. Currently she can be seen there every week in the hit show Messing with a Friend.   In addition, she conceived, co-adapted (with Mary Scruggs) and directed the critically acclaimed What Every Girl Should Know…An Ode to Judy Blume for the Annoyance stage, where she also continues to teach. Susan is an adjunct professor for Loyola University, DePaul University’s Theatre School, and The University of Chicago. Her stand-up act with her puppet, Jolly, was featured at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and NBC’s Late Fridays.   You can hear her voice on radio and tv ads. Susan has been cut from several blockbuster films, but her recent movie role in Let’s Go to Prison! as a bad stripper in a halo brace which was a sure crowd pleaser. Her daughter, Sofia Mia, is very six, very ridiculous, and very awesome.

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