SITCOM: Like TV, but funny

From Chicago, Munich, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, and Ljubljana, Sitcom is the world's most widely-produced structured longform show with 13 productions in 8 cities in 4 countries.

SITCOM: The Show

SITCOM is a longform improvisation that looks exactly like an hour of prime-time television. Two half-hour episodes of a brand-new sitcom are created on the basis of suggestions from the studio audience. All aspects of real sitcoms are accounted for including sitcom-style: commercials, jokes, timing, characterization, lighting, gender rôles, irony, theme music, and even improvisational scenery made of 56 large modular building blocks.

SITCOM: The Praise

Since its inception, SITCOM has been heaped with praise from critics worldwide. For it, Dan Goldstein and John Bourdeaux received Chicago's Morton-Murphy Award in 1994. SITCOM was lucky enough to receive media attention by The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun Times (pick of the week) , The Chicago Reader among many others. Steppenwolf Theater director Curt Columbus called it "the best longform in Chicago" in 1994. Public Radio critic Chris Harding called it "the most satisfying of Boston's improv shows" in 1999.

SITCOM: The Roots

The SITCOM show was conceived in a conversation between Dan Goldstein and John Bourdeaux during a long road trip through the southern United States. It was founded on an improv philosophy called Structured Improvisation which holds that improv actors must study and use the fundamentals of story structure in their long form improvisations. This idea was inspired by, of all things, a computer program designed for plot structure analysis, called STRUCTURALIST GILLIGAN.

SITCOM: The Runs

SITCOM has seen 13 extended runs in 8 cities in 4 countries and you can read about every production. To our knowledge, SITCOM is the most widely produced longform show ever. The maiden voyage of SITCOM happened at the University of Chicago's University Theater in the fall of 1994. The farthest east of Chicago SITCOM has traveled is Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the farthest west, San Francisco, California.

SITCOM: The Workshop

The founders of SITCOM offer a workshop which teaches the fundamentals of sitcom writing and our "active development" process for creating startlingly original material through improvisation. It is ideal for creative teams interested in a stimulating, group-based approach to creative development. The SITCOM workshop has been taught to student groups at Harvard and Stanford Universities.

SITCOM: The Future

SITCOM and the ideas of Structured Improvisation have inspired its creators to launch other shows including: Commedia dell'High School and Riverboat Lawyer. The ideas of structured improvisation have inspired other shows and groups as well, including Sheila’s Instant Odyssey, Spaghetti-o Western, & The (Re)View (Chicago), The Loose Screws (Hawaii), & The Scene Shop (San Francisco).

SITCOM: More Information

Send an email to Dan Goldstein (dg-goldstein-3 _at_ alumni _dot_ uchicago _dot_ edu) to chat, see about starting up a production of SITCOM, or get information about workshops.

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