Arcade Academy

About our Workshops

Arcade Comedy Theater offers workshops for beginner and advanced improvisers on a variety of subjects, inspiring performers to continue their education and approach the art of improv from different directions. Workshops have been taught by nationally-known improvisers and instructors, including Kevin McDonald, Laura Hall, Rick Hall, Jimmy Carrane, Paul Grondy, Maribeth Monroe, Jaime Moyer, Rob Belushi, Tim Stoltenberg, Susan Messing, Rachel Mason and more.


Coming in May

Arcade Comedy Theater welcomes improv legends Susan Messing and John Lehr as part of their spring comedy tour. They will each be presenting dynamic and engaging workshops that give improvisers tools and techniques to put into practice immediately. Their visit also includes a headlining performance.

Workshops are $60 each or $100 for both. Read below to learn more!


Improv Workshop: Fix it or make it worse

Legendary improviser Susan Messing returns to Arcade Comedy Theater with a workshop that will break improv wide open, take rules out of the picture, and help you celebrate comedy again. If you’re in your head, this’ll rip it out. Perfect for people who have studied too much and learned too little.

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of improv experience.

Sunday, May 7

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Registration is $60
Includes a ticket to the 7:30 Messing/Lehr Show

About Susan Messing

Susan Messing, a NJ native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Theatre School, has been an improviser and comedian for thirty four years. She is an alumna of the iO Theatre, Second City’s Mainstage, and a founding member of Chicago’s infamous Annoyance Theatre. Susan created and has taught her curriculum at iO and iO West, The Annoyance Theatre, The Second City, and around the globe. Susan has been an adjunct instructor for Loyola University, DePaul University, The School at Steppenwolf, and currently teaches for The University of Chicago. Her standup 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. Her most impressive bit movie role was as a bad stripper in a halo brace in Let’s Go to Prison! She performed at the iO with Blaine Swen in ‘Blessing’ with Norm Holly in ‘Molly,’ at The Annoyance in her critically acclaimed show, Messing with a Friend, and with The Boys at The Second City. She was in the lineup for the TBS/Just For Laughs festival all five years of its residence in Chicago. She presented ‘Braving the Unknown’ at TedXUofC in 2014. However, the world is currently burning, so right now she mostly teaches around the world from her basement.

“Improviser of the Year” – Chicago Improv Festival
“Best Improviser” – Chicago Reader
“Funniest Woman in Chicago” – Chicago Magazine

Take both workshops! Why the heck not?

Save $20 when you sign up for both using this link
Learn more


Improv Workshop: Where the hell are we?

Acclaimed improvisor and television writer and actor John Lehr is coming to Arcade with an improv workshop targeted toward one of the most crucial yet surprisingly difficult elements of scenework: establishing location. We’ve all been in a scene where we are standing and talking and we have no idea where we are! In this workshop you’ll explore organic, easy methods to dive into the specifics of WHERE we are!

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of improv experience.

Sunday, May 7

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Registration is $60
Includes a ticket to the 7:30 Messing/Lehr Show

About John Lehr

John Lehr is the star/creator/writer for “10 Items or Less” (TBS), “JailBait” (Sony/Crackle) and “Quickdraw” (Hulu). He created/produced pilots for Fox (“Team McPhearson”), TBS (“John Lehr’s Movie Club”) and Comedy Central (“Let it Ride”). Script/development deals include “Retreat” (NBC), “The Loop” (HBO), Troubadour (MTV), “Life on Mars” (Sony/BBC), “King of Beers” (EUE/Sokolow), “Tommy Chong’s Pipe Dreams” (TBS).

Lehr is one of the original Geico Cavemen from the wildly successful commercial campaign. He appeared in dozens of spots, including the first commercial as a caveman boom operator, the caveman in therapy with Talia Shire, the tennis spot with Billy Jean King, Superbowl spots with Phil Simms and many more.

John has appeared in numerous television series, including “Friends” and was a series regular on “Jesse,” both for Warner Brothers/NBC. His feature film roles include “The Sweetest Thing,” and three Noah Baumbach films, “Kicking and Screaming,” “Mr. Jealousy,” and “Highball.” John’s hosting credits include “News Weasels” for E!; “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” for ABC; CBS’ special “Clash of the Commercials” with co-host Heidi Klum; and “John Lehr’s Movie Club” for TBS.

Lehr’s critically acclaimed “Comedic Lectures” solo performances have had sold out runs in LA and New York. He is also a respected improvisational performer having worked at the Organic Theater and Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, the Montreal Comedy Festival, Chicago Improvisational Festival and multiple venues in Los Angeles and New York. Lehr regularly performs stand-up comedy and MC/Hosts events around the country.