We're Knuckleball Comedy
LAUGHING, LEARNING, LEADING
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 allow us to lead more effectively, communicate more efficiently, problem solve more creatively and become better active listeners.
Knuckleball Comedy is bringing comedy and its accompanying skills to people of all ages through leadership workshops, corporate happy hours, professional development workshops, after school programs, summer camps and more. Contact us to learn more and to host your own new program, class or event.
ETHAN BLUMENTHAL FOUNDER & CEO
As the Founder and CEO of Knuckleball Comedy, Ethan Blumenthal knows firsthand what it takes to lead, communicate and listen. A professional speaker and comedian, Ethan has made it his mission to positively impact the lives of thousands of people around the country through Knuckleball Comedy’s leadership, active listening, and team building workshops as well as their after school, in-school and summer camp programs. Since its inception in 2016, Ethan has brought energy, unique exercises and laughter to over 16,000 people of all ages, including 1st graders, executives at Fortune 500 companies and everything in between.
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. In addition to performing and teaching comedy, Ethan has written professionally for the satirical sports newspaper The Heckler and the sports media company Fansided.
When he’s not running his business, you can find him wreaking havoc on the tennis and basketball courts or singing along to one of his favorite musicals. Ethan is a fierce competitor who most notably defeated 7x NBA All-Star Anthony Davis in the Illinois High School 3-Point Shooting Contest. AD still isn’t over it.
ENGAGING, CREATIVE, FUN
Meet Our Team
Enjoy being active, performing, interacting with new people every day? Our team of improvisers are key to our success.
Laila Francis is a writer and comedian based in Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University where she trained and performed as a member of The Titanic Players and Out Da Box. With Knuckleball Comedy, Laila is always excited to marry her love of laughter, storytelling, and communication through improvisation. Laila has performed all over Chicago with the sketch group Resting Witch Face and continues to perform on Zoom and in the mirror.
Brian Bennett performs improv and sketch comedy all over Chicago. He studied childhood development firsthand in Connecticut from 1992-2014, and studied improv at some of Chicago's most famous theaters. 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.
Katie Lee, also known as “Bob” among some students, has been teaching improv at Knuckleball Comedy for the last 3 years and has been an improviser and comedian for the last 7 years. Katie graduated from Kalamazoo College with a theater degree in 2016 and has been living and performing in Chicago since. She has completed some of the best programs and classes in the city for improv performance and comedy writing. She performs improv often with her improv group, but also loves snuggling cats, eating tacos, and teaching people (kids or adults) how to tap into their inner improv superstar. Katie loves the Knuckleball Comedy lifestyle and truly believes that anyone can perform improv and impov can IMPROVe your life! (She also loves puns.)