Better call a doctor, 'cause you're gonna be in stitches. Or, wait, no. You'll need stitches from the doctor because... because of side-splitting laughter. There we go. For all that to happen and for some well-constructed jokes from folks who know what they're doing, head to the Phoenix Improv Festival. The three-day comedy spectacle returns to Herberger Theater Center this April, and its lineup is jam-packed with jokesters from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, and, Phoenix.
From Thursday, April 17, through Saturday, April 19, some 26 improv troupes will take to Herberger's Stage West. A committee selected the blend of local and national improv troupes for the festival, which also features workshops.
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Now in its thirteenth year, PIF has expanded since its first go-round, when it featured solely locals. Past guests have included Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock, "The Sonic Guys" T.J. Jagadowski and Pete Grosz, and Breaking Bad's Matt Jones.
This year's featured troupes are Unicorn Warpath, Dutchman, Exit 185, Salmon Shane, Mail Order Bride, Judd, Robot Destroyers from Planet Earth, Light Rail Pirates, Displacers, JaxN Reed, Greasy Lake, Tandem, Mister Town City, Galapagos, Michael Keaton, Switch Committee, Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed, Apollo 12, Jester'Z, MuChuChu, Specter, Pawn Takes Queen, King Ten, National Comedy Theatre Phoenix Main Stage, Umlautilde, and Honey.
The fest kicks off with a showcase of Arizona troupes at 7 p.m. Thursday. Friday and Saturday promise a mix of local and national performers. Saturday also has a family-friendly 5 p.m. matinee. Nightly tickets range from $10 to $15. They'll be available through Ticketmaster and Herberger's box office at 602-252-849. In the meantime, keep tabs on www.phoeniximprovfestival.com.