Immediate Release

Feb. 28, 2013

Contact: Dan Miller


WIT’s eighth annual three-on-three improv tournament

will feature 214 performers, each of whom try to win

the audience’s vote and claim victory

(Washington, DC) Every spring, Washington Improv Theater kicks off the action-packed Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament — a chance for DC area talent to test their mettle and win the audience vote in the quest for victory. This year, the three-on-three March Madness-style tournament broke all-time participation records with 73 teams throwing their hats in the ring.

Over the course of five weeks (March 13 through April 12), each team will perform for an audience who will then determine their fate via a secret ballot. As the hosts count the votes, a headlining act performs for the crowd. These headliners include WIT’s company ensembles and Harold teams.

Some teams may opt for a standard long-form improv show, but others aim for something more offbeat. This year’s crop includes a team who performs their improv with puppets, a team who features blues interludes throughout their set and a show based on celebrity tweets.

“FIST is a rite of passage for D.C. improvisers,” said Mark Chalfant, WIT’s artistic and executive director. “Winning FIST means gaining a sort of immortality in the D.C. improv scene, which just gets bigger and more robust every year. Not everyone enters the tournament thinking they’ll win, but they’re all determined to put on the best show possible.”

Last year’s winning team, Thunderball, included Paul Laudiero, author of the upcoming book Sh*t Rough Drafts. The book is based on Laudiero’s popular blog, which compiles absurdly hilarious (and fictional) rough drafts of popular books, films and TV shows. Thunderball will perform their swan song as FIST champions during this year’s championship match on April 12.

For a full schedule and a ticket link, visit WIT will maintain a Tumblr on all the action at


  • Download high-resolution JPG files at the links below:

  • 2013 FIST Champions Thunderball (from left to right – Paul Laudiero, Reaves McElveen, Mikael Johnson):

  • 2013 FIST performer Scott Holden

  • 2013 FIST team Getting to Third Base (from left to right – Eva Lewis, Ami Krasner, Abby Fu)

  • Please credit Andrew Bossi for all photos


  • FIST runs March 13 through April 12. Pricing shifts as rounds advance.

  • For a full schedule, pricing information and a ticket link, go to:


Performances will take place at Source, located at 1835 14th St. NW.


Follow WIT and all its shows via: (Hashtag: #WITFIST)


For 15 years, Washington Improv Theater (WIT) has dedicated itself to unleashing the creative, collaborative power of improv in DC. WIT is DC’s premiere arts organization showcasing and advancing the artform of improvisational theatre with over 200 artists, 30 instructors, 1,000 students, and 10,000 audience members engaging annually in performances and classes. WIT is a multi-tiered arts organization: a producing organization exploring and forwarding the craft of longform improv in challenging new directions; a presenting organization allowing improvisers from across the country to share their artistry with DC audiences; a community organization serving a rapidly growing family of improv artists. For our students, WIT is an artistic conservatory, a personal-development laboratory, a professional skill-building gymnasium, and a vital social outlet in a tightly “scripted” city. WIT is the place for improv in DC.

“The power of improv is one of listening, of supporting, of daring to explore your raw imagination. It is the power of being present, of empathy and camaraderie, of doing anything in your power to make your partner look good. In our world today these are revolutionary ideas. And yet, vital.” – WIT Artistic/Executive Director Mark Chalfant

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