Many of the current "rules" of comedic improv were first formalized in Chicago in the late 1950s and early 1960s, initially among The Compass Players troupe, which was directed by Paul Sills.From most accounts, David Shepherd provided the philosophical vision of the Compass Players, while Elaine May was central to the development of the premises for its improvisations.
Many of the original cast of Saturday Night Live came from The Second City, and the franchise has produced such comedy stars as Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Eugene Levy, Jack Mc Brayer, Steve Carell, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, and John Belushi.
Simultaneously, Keith Johnstone's group The Theatre Machine, which originated in London, was touring Europe.
Following the demise of the Compass Players, Paul Sills began The Second City.
They were the first organized troupes in Chicago, and the modern Chicago improvisational comedy movement grew from their success.
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