“Like the best of his subjects, which include Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray and Tina Fey, Wasson has perfect timing.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Finalist for the 2017 George Freedley Memorial Award
In this richly reported, scene-driven narrative, Sam Wasson charts the meteoric rise of improv from its unlikely beginnings in McCarthy-era Chicago. We witness the chance meeting between Mike Nichols and Elaine May, hang out at the after-hours bar where Dan Aykroyd hosted friends like John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner, and go behind the scenes of cultural landmarks from The Graduate to The Colbert Report. Along the way, we befriend pioneers such as Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, Judd Apatow, and many others.
“Compelling, absolutely unputdownable…And, in case you’re wondering, yes, the book is funny. In places, very funny. A remarkable story, magnificently told.”—Booklist
“One of the most important stories in American popular culture…Wasson may be the first author to explain [improv’s] entire history…a valuable book.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Improv Nation masterfully tells a new history of American comedy…It holds the element of surprise—true to the spirit of its subject.”—Entertainment Weekly