Women in Improv: Allyson Jaffe, DC Improv
Women's History Month was last month, but we figure the right time to celebrate an amazing woman is anytime and all the time. So we'd like to highlight the awesome work Allyson Jaffe is doing at DC Improv.
As co-owner of DC Improv, Allyson Jaffe, serves as the comedy club’s publicist, talent booker, event planner, and manager of the club’s comedy school. The venue regularly hosts national headliners as well as local acts, such as DC’s ComedySportz (CSz DC). DC Improv serves as one of the nation’s premiere comedy venues, and since it opened its doors in 1992, it has welcomed the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Adam Sandler, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, and Mike Birbiglia.
Jaffe started working at DC Improv Comedy Club while she was a student at American University, and over the past twenty years, she’s worked her way up from waitress to one of the club’s five co-owners. In 2003, she launched the DC Improv Comedy School, in which she coordinates classes on improv, stand-up comedy, sketch writing and other comedy-related activities. In 2006, she started the DC Improv Open Mic Night to offer all comedy students the chance to practice and perform improv for free. launched Under her leadership, the club saw a record number of audience members walk through its doors between 2015 and 2019.
“If you ever take an improv class, the core lesson in improv is saying yes to everything that happens...And so this is the longest improv scene of our lives.”
Jaffe is currently trying to ensure that the club survives the pandemic and credits her improv training for being able to weather the storm - in an interview for a DC publication, she said, “If you ever take an improv class, the core lesson in improv is saying yes to everything that happens...And so this is the longest improv scene of our lives.”
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Jaffe was forced to lay off more than 50 employees, including herself. However, a few days later, she launched a GoFundMe to raise money to support her workers, and within only several weeks, she managed to raise $45,000 for the fund. DC Improv has moved their programming online since COVID-19 shuttered its doors, but it plans to reopen in mid-April 2021 (later this month!)
Check out DC Improv here.