What is contest4improv4humans?


Improv comedy teams across the country are eligible to compete in the second annual “contest4improv4humans,” hosted by UCB’s Matt Besser. Starting in 2018, participating comedy theaters will hold qualifying rounds for teams to do their best set in the style of Matt Besser’s podcast improv4humans. The best teams in each city will post their sets online for a chance to compete in a final, nationwide round - and one winning team will fly to New York City to perform with Matt Besser at the Del Close Marathon.



Each team will consist of three or four members, all of whom must be over 18 years old and residents of the United States. Team members may not be under any music, acting, or other contract that would limit their ability to freely appear in an online video (see official rules for details.) Employees of the E.W. Scripps Corporation and their immediate family members are ineligible.

regional round

The first round is a live performance taking place at 10-15 theaters across the country. Each competing team will have roughly 20 minutes to do a set in the style of improv4humans:

  • All performers sit at a table throughout.
  • They perform three scenes.
  • Each scene is prompted by a one word suggestion from the audience, followed by a group discussion of that suggestion.

Each set will be taped. A panel of judges at each theater will determine one winning team; then, each Regional winner will release the tape of their set online. Matt Besser and Earwolf will select three teams from these video submissions to move on to the final round.

wildcard round

NEW THIS YEAR! improv teams that don’t live in cities with a participating theater will have the opportunity to compete in contest4improv4humans via the Wildcard Round. Your team is eligible to submit themselves to the Wildcard Round if the team: 

—Does not live in or near a city with a participating theater.
—Does not live in New York City or the greater Los Angeles area
—Has an established regular live show (running for at least a year.) 

Eligible teams may record a 20 minute video from their live show, using the improv4humans format, and submit it to contest4improv4humans@gmail.com before February 28th, 2018. These videos are subject to the same rules as other submissions from the Regional Round. Along with the video, Wildcard Round submissions should also include which city the team is based in, and a link or document containing information about their live show. One wildcard team, as chosen by Matt Besser and Earwolf, will move on to the Final Round.

final round

The four finalist teams will return to their theaters to perform a one-hour show. These shows will continue to follow the improv4humans format, and consist of at least three scenes. They will also be taped; Matt Besser will review each show to determine a final winner.


Each member of the winning team will receive a three day, two night trip to New York City during the 2018 Del Close Marathon (dates to be determined), including airfare and hotel. They will also earn two slots at the DCM, one featuring just the team, one where they will be joined by Matt Besser. The finalist teams will also receive a box of Earwolf merchandise.

official rules

Download the official rules here.