Comedian brings podcast to Northwestern for live recording, interviews RTVF alum


Host Jimmy Carrane chats with Chicago improviser Noah Gregoropoulos (Communication ‘81). The two will be reunited Thursday when Carrane hosts his show, “Improv Nerd,” in Harris Hall with Gregoropoulos as a guest.

Peter Kotecki, Reporter


Comedian and Evanston resident Jimmy Carrane will bring his podcast, Improv Nerd, to Northwestern for a live recording Thursday. Carrane will interview Noah Gregoropoulos (Communication ’81), a Chicago improviser and Northwestern alumnus, about his experiences in the comedy industry.

Carrane, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, said he didn’t know what he wanted to do while in high school, but he took a year off before college to work on improv.

“Everything that I had done, that I had gotten in trouble for as a kid, I was now being rewarded for in improv,” Carrane said.

The show itself is divided into two parts.

“The first 20 or 25 minutes is a straight-on question-and-answer with the guest,” Carrane said. “What I think is different about it in terms of the interview part is, what I get that people like, is they feel like it sometimes can be a therapy session. They like people talking about their insecurities, how they got over their insecurities, their fear about performing, all of that stuff.”

For the second part of the podcast, Carrane and his guest perform a 10-minute improv scene together. Carrane and his guest then deconstruct their performance and discuss it in front of the audience, after which they turn to the audience for another Q&A session, he said.

Carrane has known this week’s guest for many years.

“Noah was a little ahead of me at the Improv Olympics, and I would say Noah and I have been in at least six improv groups together over probably 25 years that I’ve known him,” Carrane said.

Gregoropoulos said he has known Carrane since the late 1980s. Carrane started at the iO Theater, formerly known as the ImprovOlympic Theater, a couple years after Gregoropoulos did. The two friends participated in several shows together, he said. 

Gregoropoulos (Communication ’81) has been on Improv Nerd before. He participated in one of its first episodes, he said.

Currently, Gregoropoulos is involved in several shows, including The Armando Diaz Experience at the iO Theater and TNT (Tuesday Night Thing) at the Annoyance Theatre and Bar in Chicago. Gregoropoulos also teaches at the iO Theater and at the theater department of DePaul University, he said.

Communication junior Wes Humphreys invited Carrane to speak at Northwestern. Humphreys said he began working for Carrane during the summer of 2014 and has worked on the Improv Nerd podcast as an intern for the past few months.

Humphreys said he has been interested in bringing the Improv Nerd podcast to campus and inviting NU alumni to be interviewed on the show.

Additionally, Carrane said he has completed over 120 episodes of Improv Nerd since launching it in 2011. Before launching the show, Carrane said he worked for Chicago Public Radio for 10 years. Carrane hosted the show Studio 312, during which he interviewed people in the comedy and pop culture world.

“I thought it would be really fun, after I was done on public radio, to combine two of my passions, which were improv and interviewing people, and both of those things are very similar,” Carrane said. “I thought it would be really great to spotlight improvisers that either started here in Chicago or are still here in Chicago.”

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