Funny Festival

No, they really are laughing at you

You need laughter in your life, now more than ever. Thanks to David Christopher and his team of hilarious comrades, the 2005 Miami Improv Festival Presented by Just The Funny is back for its third year to give you a heaping dose of guffaws and full-on body-rocking belly laughs.

Moving beyond the Whose Line Is It Anyway? Attention Deficit Disorder type of fast-paced funny bits, many groups are now touting a long-form format of fully improvised plays or musical productions based on audience suggestions. "We started doing long-form improv at the first festival, and we see more groups doing it every year," says Christopher, who has been performing improv since 1995 and created Just The Funny with some friends in 1999. "We've seen our improv evolve from crass to clean, and now totally professional," laughs Christopher.

Besides Just The Funny, other local groups bringing their shtick to the stage include the South Florida Improv Jam, Impromedy, Just Kidding, and Mod 27. Christopher enjoys the community- building aspect of the festival: "The biggest thing for the festival is that it's a great way for local groups to get exposure and go on to do other festivals."

One of the highlights this year should be the infamous improv group The Groundlings. Celebrating their 30th year of giving LA something to laugh about, The Groundlings are at the top of the giggle pile, having helped launch the careers of Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Paul Reubens, Julia Sweeney, Lisa Kudrow, and everyone's favorite anchorman, Will Ferrell. Be sure to catch their show, and the stars of tomorrow, at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 5.

Now you're thinking, Hey! I'm funny. I'm crazy. People say that I should be a comedian. Well, what are you going to do about it? Here's your chance to see if you have what it takes to make it in the funny-eat-funny world of improv. The festival offers a weekend chock full of workshops led by some of the top instructors in the business. Pick up valuable tips to improve your long-form improv skills, get inspired by the masters of The Groundlings, or learn how to improvise musicals with "Structured Improv Singing." Tickets for the workshops range from $60 to $160 if you register by Monday, January 31; otherwise they're bumped up ten bucks. E-mail for more information, and maybe you'll find yourself in next year's festival.

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