Chris Griswold is the founder and Academic Director of Thunderbolt Comedy. Having taught improv since 1999, Chris is currently one of the world’s most prolific improv instructors, coaching more than 2000 hours in 2014 and 2015 alone. Chris is a writer and actor in New York City, appearing in commercials for Android and the Brother P-Touch Label Maker, as well as PSAs for the United Nation’s #HeForShe program, and Project #UROK. Chris is originally self-taught in improv, but he has trained with both the Annoyance Theater and extensively with the Upright Citizens Brigade, where he previously worked as a registrar and diversity liaison. With a history in social media and journalism, Chris also teaches private workshops for business and conferences in topics such as branding, team-building, and creativity training.
Chris on Teaching:
“It’s important to me that improv be approached simply, and from a place of confidence and fun. When we first see improv as an audience member, we see it as difficult and all about just hitting what’s funny, and so when we begin to perform, we think it should be difficult and about just hitting what’s funny; and that’s just not true.
I understand why my students nervous, and I know how to alleviate that stress, or how to instill a more centered mindset so they never have to feel the stress in the first place. I try to create a supportive environment where students feel free to risk failure, so that they may find success, and I can give them personal notes that will help them work on themselves. I also understand that everyone’s brain works differently, and so the goal is to find the strategies that work for the students, rather than the other way around.
I love teaching the Documentary, the Movie form, and the pattern game. I also love to create new exercises and forms on the fly. I break existing exercises apart and use them in new ways.
And really, I just love teaching improv.”
What people are saying about Chris:
“Chris breaks everything down in your scenes
and makes improv seem so simple.
He genuinely cares about your improvement
and wants to see you succeed!”
“Chris knows how to push you forward
without forgetting the basics.
He will get you out of your head
and out on the floor by attending
to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses
and positioning feedback
in helpful and supportive ways.”
“My college group worked with Chris, and he was fantastic.
He showed us multiple approaches to the basics,
bringing elements of The Annoyance Theater style,
Second City, and UCB to the table.“
“Chris helped me feel more comfortable with
making moves and finding what works for me.
I used to leave classes really discouraged
but after we started practices with Chris,
I felt a lot more confident.”
“Chris is not only a great coach, but he is also a great mentor.
He has always been more than happy to offer advice
on how to approach improv and the industry as a whole,
not to mention his enthusiasm for teaching.”
“No one wants you to succeed more than Chris does.”