Susan Messing

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Susan Messing
Susan messing headshot.jpg
Born (1963-12-26) December 26, 1963 (age 51)
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Occupation Actress, Director, Comedian, Author, Teacher
Years active 1980 - present
Known for Annoyance Theater
The Second City
iO Theater
Notable work Co-Ed Prison Sluts
Messing with a Friend

Susan Messing is an American actress, comedian, director, author, and teacher living in Chicago. She is best known for her ensemble work at The Annoyance Theater and iO Theater as well as being regarded as one of the forefront teachers of improvisational comedy.[1]


A New Jersey native, Susan Messing graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in theater. Following graduation, she began performing improvisation at iO Theater, where she appeared on the legendary Harold team Blue Velveeta. In 1998, she was hired as a performer on The Second City mainstage, where she did four revues alongside the likes of Kevin Dorff, T.J. Jagodowski, Stephnie Weir, Rich Talarico, and others. She is well regarded as one of the forefront teachers of improvisational comedy.[1]

Messing is an ensemble member of Annoyance Theater where she performed in "Co-ed Prison Sluts," "The Miss Vagina Pageant," "The Real Live Brady Bunch" as well as directing What Every Girl Should Know... An Ode to Judy Blume (based on the work of Judy Blume).

She has performed on NBC's Late Friday and Comedy Central's Premium Blend along with her puppet Jolly after showcasing at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. She also voiced the character "Eos" in the 2001 video game Red Faction.[2]

The Annoyance Theater[edit]

Susan is a founding member of The Annoyance Theater (1989) where she has created roles in over thirty original productions including Co-Ed Prison Sluts (the longest-running musical in Chicago), That Darn Anti-Christ, The Real Live Brady Bunch and the famed Judy Blume adaptation, What Every Girl Should Know. Other shows include The Miss Vagina Pageant and Your Butt, among others.[2] She is regarded as one of Chicago's finest improvisers—male or female by Tribune reporter Kevin Pang.[3]

Messing was cited as “Best Improviser” in the Chicago Reader's 2008 Best Of Chicago issue,[4] and currently she can be seen at The Annoyance Theater in her hit show Messing with a Friend. The evening includes guests improvisers from the iO Theater, Second City, and The Annoyance Theater. Ryan Hubbard of the Chicago Reader wrote that her skill improvising with others, “…is a testament to her congeniality, experience, and broad intelligence.” [4] She can also be seen improvising in the shows Blessing alongside The Improvised Shakespeare Company's Blaine Swen at iO every Tuesday night and The Boys alongside Rachael Mason, Norm Holly, Ryan Archibald, Craig Uhlir, and Rush Howell at The Second City on every Friday night.


Susan teaches and performs at the Annoyance Theater and the iO Theater. She also teaches improvisational comedy for DePaul University, The University of Chicago and Loyola University.

As a writer, her essays have been published in The Second City Almanac of Improvisation and in Charna Halpern's book, Art By Committee and endorsed Jon Jon Lannen's book The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh.

Susan married former Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street writer Michael Clayton McCarthy on September 30, 2012.


  1. ^ a b Alfano, Elysabeth. "Improviser Susan Messing at the Annoyance Theatre". Examiner. 
  2. ^ a b Mauro, Lucia. "Stage Persona: Susan Messing". Perform Ink. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Pang, Kevin (November 8, 2009). "Are funny women intimidating?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Hubbard, Ryan. "Messing With a Friend". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 

External links[edit]