The Immediate Gratification Players

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The Immediate Gratification Players performing with comedian Jeff Garlin. Their distinctive red and yellow ties are featured.

The Immediate Gratification Players (IGP) are a collegiate improvisational comedy troupe based out of Harvard College.[1] They specialize in long form, free-form improvisation and are recognized as one of the top college troupes in the nation.[2]


The Immediate Gratification Players were founded by Harvard freshmen in the fall of 1986. The Immediate Gratification Players do not charge for admission to their on-campus shows. Their red-and-yellow striped ties are one of the troupe's hallmarks.

Each year, the Immediate Gratification Players host the Laugh Riot improvisational comedy festival at the American Repertory Theater. The invitational festival, begun in the spring of 1999 and now entering its 18th year, includes troupes from other colleges, including Cornell, Wesleyan University, and Columbia University.[3][4][5] On the weekend of the annual Harvard-Yale football game, the Immediate Gratification Players either host or travel to a show which also stars an improvisational comedy troupe from Yale.[6][7] Along with on-campus shows, they also play at Boston's Improv Asylum and at comedy clubs in New York City.[8] Beyond the northeast, the Immediate Gratification Players have played in Florida, Los Angeles, Texas, Chicago, San Francisco, and London.[9][10][11]

Apart from a traditional long form, free-form, the Immediate Gratification Players annually perform shows in specialty forms such as the “dinner party” and “radio show” formats. In 2007, they were selected out of the numerous Boston-based improv troupes to star in several comedy sketches produced by the Boston Globe in its Peter Post etiquette section.[12][13] In 2010, they were selected to roast Wyclef Jean when he was named Artist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation.[14] Shakira was honored in 2011 as the Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year, and again the Immediate Gratification Players were asked to roast her.[15]

Immediate Gratification Player of the Year[edit]

Comedian Wayne Brady performing in the show honoring his Immediate Gratification Player of the Year award.

In 2010, the Immediate Gratification Players began honoring great comedians with a background in improvisational comedy as their Immediate Gratification Player of the Year. The award is not strictly annual, with the troupe's leader remarking that the group is "hoping to give this award as much as possible, devaluing it to the point where it basically means nothing."[16] The award recipient performs the monologue portion of an Armando form show, where several scenes are based on the themes brought up in the monologue, which itself is formed from a crowd suggestion. Upon completion of the show, the honoree receives their own red-and-yellow striped tie.[17]

The inaugural award recipient was comedian Jeff Garlin of Curb Your Enthusiasm and WALL-E fame.[18][19] Garlin later wore his necktie on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.[20]

In 2011, Wayne Brady of ABC's Whose Line Is It Anyway was named the second Immediate Gratification Player of the Year.[21][22]

Name Year
Jeff Garlin 2010
Wayne Brady 2011
Jason Alexander 2013
Keegan-Michael Key 2014 (ceremony in 2015)
Nick Offerman 2015

First book[edit]

In December 2010, the troupe released its first published book, an improv how-to guide aimed at students, entitled “So You Think You’re Funny: A Students’ Guide to Improv Comedy.”[23] The book was published by Meriwether Publishing, which is known for other comedy publications such as "Truth in Comedy" by Del Close.

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Farai Chideya 1990 Journalist, former host of NPR's News and Notes [24]
Nate Dern 2007 Artistic Director at UCB New York, Comedian, Reality Show contestant, season 3 of Beauty and the Geek [25]
Misha Glouberman 1990 Founder of the Immediate Gratification Players, host of Canadian barroom lecture series Trampoline Hall, and noted charades enthusiast [26][27]
Sarah Haskins 2001 Trophy Wife co-creator, Current TV's Target Women [28]
Todd Kim 1994 First Solicitor General of Washington, D.C., First contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Justin Krebs 2000 Creator of Drinking Liberally [29][30]
David Modigliani 2002 Director and Producer; Crawford (film) and Trust Us, This Is All Made Up [31]
Nicholas Stoller 1998 Director and Producer; Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, Fun with Dick and Jane [32][33][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Petersen, James R. (November 5, 2010). "Going Clubbing". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ "12 Colleges with Great Improv Groups". 
  3. ^ "". February 22, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "". February 28, 2005. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  6. ^[dead link]
  7. ^[dead link]
  8. ^ "". December 14, 2007. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  9. ^ No Writer Attributed (April 13, 1998). "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ "". September 27, 1999. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  12. ^ "". December 30, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  13. ^ "". December 30, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Inside the Luncheon with Wyclef Jean – Noice. // daily blog of The Voice at Harvard". February 27, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ Waterbabies44 says: (February 27, 2011). "Video of the IGP's Roast of Shakira – Noice. // daily blog of The Voice at Harvard". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  16. ^ Crimson file photo. "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  18. ^ "". February 23, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  19. ^ "". Boston Globe. March 9, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Wayne Brady Named Second Annual Immediate Gratification Player of the Year By Harvard Improv Troupe". PRLog. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Harvard Improvisational Comedy Troupe To Honor Wayne Brady | News | The Harvard Crimson". March 8, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ White, Jack (May 12, 2009). "Theroot.Com". Theroot.Com. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  25. ^
  26. ^[dead link]
  27. ^ "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  28. ^ "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  29. ^ Bhagat, Paramendra (March 17, 2006). "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  30. ^ "". Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ Lacher, Irene (October 9, 2005). "". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  33. ^ "The Dark Side" WHRB radio interview, 2008
  34. ^ "". April 3, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 

External links[edit]