Improv: A Uniquely American Art Form

As American As Jazz, Baseball, and Roadside Firework Stands

If you’re interested in the history of improv, be sure to listen to this episode of 1A, entitled Yes, And: How Improv Remade Comedy (episode link here). First aired on December 12, 2017, 1A host Joshua Johnson talks to author Sam Wasson about his book, ‘Improv Nation: How We Made A Great American Art’. During their discussion, Wasson dives into the history of improv and talks about why improv deserves recognition as a uniquely American art form. In addition to talking about improv’s history and how his book came about, Wasson spends time explaining the basics of improv and provides examples of how improv skills are being utilized away from the stage.  And while you’re listening, stick around for the second segment to hear Joshua Johnson’s interview with Ryan Asher, who performs with Second City’s MainStage in Chicago.

Use the link below to listen to this episode, as well as an excerpt from Wasson’s book. And if you see improv in the news or getting some quality media attention, let us know by emailing

Listen: 1A | WAMU | Yes, And: How Improv Remade Comedy

Front cover of Improv Nation: How We Made A Great American Art by Sam Wasson