We all know comedy from its many forms; a feature film, television program, stand-up show or improv act. Less known about comedy, however, are the tools a comedian uses: the ability to think quickly; to express thoughts openly; to interact with the surrounding world. In the most talented hands, these tools have produced some of the most legendary cultural icons, from the Marx Brothers to Jerry Seinfeld, Johnny Carson to Eddie Murphy, Mel Brooks to Tina Fey. But even in the hands of you and me, these same tools are incredibly valuable to help ease tension and anxiety and to become more comfortable expressing ourselves with friends and strangers whether in private or on a public stage.
Knuckleball Comedy is bringing improv comedy to people of all ages through after school programs, off-day workshops, business development, senior centers, birthday parties, summer camps and more.
Ethan Blumenthal, President
Ethan is the founder of Knuckleball Comedy and is an experienced comedian who performs improv, sketch and stand-up comedy throughout the city of Chicago. He performs weekly with his improv troupe, Pure Potential, and has written and starred in several acclaimed sketch comedy shows, his most recent being a show titled, Different But Better, which he wrote, cast, directed and starred in which went up at the Second City Beat Lounge Theater in April of 2016.
Before becoming a comedian, Ethan graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Beloit College in May, 2014, where he was a four-year varsity letter winner on the baseball team and academic all-conference. Following graduation, he moved to Brisbane, Australia, to play on a professional baseball team in the Australian Baseball League in the 2014-2015 season. Throughout college he produced and starred in multiple live shows, along with radio and television programs. In addition to performing and teaching comedy, he has spent years coaching baseball, and more recently sports programs to kids of all ages. As a private coach, running his own summer camps, or leading classes, leagues and programs in schools for We Got Game, he has extensive experience working with kids to develop skills in sports, comedy and beyond.
To learn more about Ethan, please visit his website, ethanblumenthal.com.
Becca Tham is an improviser and writer who performs around the city of Chicago, including at iO where she is currently taking improvisation classes. Becca grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, hailing from William Fremd High School which she represented at the State Competition for her Speech Team event of Humorous Duet Act. As an improv teacher, Becca is driven by her passion for comedy and her desire to see students delve into a new side of themselves. She also uses her past experiences of babysitting and peer-coaching to discover ways to reach children and foster their creativity. She enjoys pasta salads and the idea of frisbee golf.
Brian Bennett performs improv and sketch comedy all over Chicago. He studied childhood development firsthand in Connecticut from 1992-2014, and studied improv at the Second City and the iO. He has improvised for his independent group Pure Potential and written several shows for his sketch group The Lullabisexuals. Brian's passion for teaching kids stems from a long background of tutoring and coaching. He is almost as good at making the kids laugh as they are at making him laugh.
Jack Dryden is so thrilled to be teaching improv for Knuckleball! He's previously taught improv for Youth Guidance in Chicago Public Schools, and he trained at the Second City. In addition to comedy residencies at Second City and the Annoyance, Jack is a professional actor and has worked with many of Chicago's top storefront companies.