About Us | Monkey Business Institute

About Us

Monkey Business Institute is made up of over thirty-five uniquely talented people. People who have spent years, or even decades, of their lives growing intimately aware of what makes great improv tick – and what makes you laugh.

Many of our members performed with Madison’s ComedySportz prior to 2002, and quite a few of us have years of professional stage and acting experience. Some of us are professional musicians, one is an award-winning stand-up comedian. Others are professional film-makers and voice-actors. A good number of the folks in our company are parents and one is a grand-parent (which makes them funnier, you’ll see).

In short, many of Madison’s most creative and humorous people appear in the cast for any given performance – and most of us have worked together for over ten years. There is no other improv comedy company quite as experienced and talented as ours, anywhere in the United States*.  You can even find us on Wikipedia.

So buy some tickets to one of our shows, kick back with some pizza, and laugh with (or at) us.  We think you’ll be glad you did.

*Except perhaps Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.


Meet Madison’s funniest improv comedians! The Monkey Business Institute features a diverse group of highly talented improv comedy professionals. When you hire us for an “on-the-road” performance or come to see a scheduled show, you’ll see some or all of these improvisors.

This was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Delightfully intriguing, fancifully funny, enormously ridiculous, amazingly talented.

Margo Miller


Casem AbuLughod

Casem has been performing ever since he first pretended to be a nice guy. Fond of hugs and a big fan of beards, Casem is only part teddy bear. He enjoys reading, good storytelling, kale, acting, chocolate, coffee and hanging out with his Lifeboo.

Dylan Brogan

Dylan Brogan is a journalist covering city government, Wisconsin politics and local issues in Madison.

Marian Halls

Al Hart

Al first performed on stage as the Mouse King in a grade school production of “The Nutcracker” and has been performing off and on ever since. Al is grateful for improv, his family, his friends, his dog, monkeys and you, not necessarily in that order.

Brett Hermanson

Brandon Jensen

When Brandon was born, he was a baby. Then by age thirteen he was already a teenager. Now he is in his twenties, hosting an incessant battle between intimacy and isolation. He uses his body as a housing unit for organs, through which he can live vicariously. He has four limbs, all of which are used to express art in the form of music and comedy.

Craig Johnson

Craig was born 5 weeks, 4 days late, and since then has been using this as an excuse for his habitual procrastination. You can see him on the internet as co-host of “Welcome to the Basement” and co-star of “Chad Vader.” He respectfully despises eggs.

Brad Knight

Brad has endured many horrific events in his life. He was the sole survivor of the famous Cinammon Toast Crunch Fire of ’73. He lost his duodenum to a freak meteor strike in ’81. He is living proof that Comedy = Tragedy + Time.

Adam Loux

Hailing from the cornfields of Iowa, Adam met his future wife while performing together in a high school musical. Today he is known for his sideburns and always looking guilty. Adam enjoys piano, pizza, playing, purple, and pushing buttons

Kelly Maxwell

Kelly is a writer/actor/graphic artist with Madison theatre collective Are We Delicious?, a writer/director of two Broom Street Theater productions- “Held: A Musical Fantasy” and “Playscapes”, and a singer with Madison band The Fauxtons.

Tara Ptasnik

Someday, Tara will do a pushup.

Doug Reed

Sheila Robertson

Sheila, AKA (Awesome DJ Name), has been performing improv since (Early 90’s Band) was popular. The first time she saw improv, she said,“(life-altering exclamation)!” Improv has taught her (noun) and (concept). She thanks MBI and her family for their support. Without their (nice thing), she’d be (sad thing).

David Rodriguez

David dabbles in the arts, which means cooking, photography and ― since 2007 ― making you laugh. In his free time, David likes to cook gourmet four-course meals for his friends or anyone who will pay him. Then he takes pictures of the food (see “arts” above).

Sarah Rogers

Hailing from Central Illinois, Sarah discovered she was lactose intolerant in 2007, right after she moved to live among you Cheeseheads. She arrived to comedy late, but is otherwise notably punctual. You can rely on Sarah to tell you if have something in your teeth.

Andrew Rohn

When Andrew was 14, he jumped into the arms of a grumpy department store security guard (a joke among Andrew’s theater friends). The security guard punched Andrew in the gut. Andrew is the music director for the disco band VO5 and Monkey Business Institute.

Jess Schuknecht

Matt Sloan

Matt is the co-creator of Chad Vader and the voice of Darth Vader for various video games and commercials. He can be seen on the web in “Beer & Board Games” and “Welcome to the Basement” and on stage with the Are We Delicious? ensemble. He collects old records and has cats.

Jason Stephens

When Jason Stephens isn’t performing with the Monkey Business Institute, he’s teaching his young children how to do funny things. If at the time of reading this, the internet still exists, you can search for and view Jason being funny in dozens of web videos or listen to his voice-over talents at jasonvoices.com

Vanessa Tortolano

Vanessa is the co-owner/founder of NessAllaKombucha. As a mama, she is busy with four growing boys, animals, and growing things. As an entertainer, she jumps from improv comedy to playing music and singing. She has a big smile and a loud laugh and loves to share them.

Aaron Yonda

Along with co-creating the Chad Vader series (120+ million views), Aaron created a gaming channel on YouTube called GameSocietyFilms with 5 million views in 6 months.  Watch Aaron and his friends get drunk and play board games online at Blame Society Films or see everything he gets up to at aaronyonda.com.

Could YOU Be Our Next Member?

Would you like to be the next Monkey Business star? If you’ve
taken our classes
(or are taking them), have improv experience in another city or organization, or simply dream of becoming a professional improv performer—email us at info@monkeybusinessinstitute.com.


If you’ve ever been to one of our shows, you know that the DJ is an integral part of the experience. These mix-masters have thousands of songs, sound-effects and witty quips at the touch of their fingers. We couldn’t do it without them.

Marc Turnes

Sean Bossinger

Scott Montague


Monkey Business Institute has been active in Madison for over a decade. During this time, some of our very favorite cast members have moved on to new cities and new adventures. However, they remain part of our troupe and visit us on occasion for very special performances.

Linda Hedenblad

Linda is a graduate of the first Monkey Business class. In fact, for a while, taking classes from Brad Knight and Jason Stephens was her part-time career. When Linda isn’t performing, she is using comedy to keep people awake while teaching professional ethics.

Jennifer Javornik

Having been raised on formulaic 70s sitcoms, our resident Canadian lives by two mantras: “Always have your next party and your next vacation planned.”

John Steeno

John Steeno started improvising in 2003 in Chicago. Then he realized he wasn’t funny, so he moved to Madison to work in a bank. Then he realized he was funny, so he joined Monkey Business and quit the bank. Then he wrote this incredible bio

Ari Salinger

After being kicked out of the Shaolin Temple, Ari decided he had no choice but to cut his teeth on stage. He once played under the direction of Irving R. Feldman (deceased). If Ari was a dog, he’d be a small one. He enjoys sweets and coffee and his family and coffee and science and coffee.

Colleen Berg

Colleen’s thighs are muscular, but her soul is gentle. It is the fusion of these two parts of herself that have led her to her passions in life: teaching social skills to middle schoolers, running through the wilderness with her dog, eating too many raw carrots and/or radishes on a daily basis, and improvising silliness with friends (since 2011).

Benson Gardner

Benson Gardner is just the sort of person you’d expect to be a video/film creator, government communicator, one-time public radio journalist, Splu Urtaf co-founder, aspiring historian, happy father, husband and meditator. Except for the cutlass.

Sean Moore

Sean Moore is an accomplished improviser and stand-up comic, for which he won Madison’s Funniest Comic competition in 2010. He is well known for his physical comedy and firm handshake.

Luke Arthur

Luke was born on Tatooine a long time ago. During his teenage years, he and his brother Bo were notorious bootleggers who flattened hills and straightened curves for the Georgia Department of Transportation. He then wrote a short biography of Jesus that remains popular to this day.


Our admin staff keeps things running smoothly behind the scenes. Here’s their contact information in case you need to get in touch with them.

Ryan Walters

Email Ryan if you have questions about shows or booking The Vault: ryan@monkeybusinessinstitute.com.

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Press Inquiries

For all media inquiries, please contact:

Kindra Goehler
Dirigible Studio
2002 Atwood Avenue, #208
Madison, WI 53704