The Youngest FIST Competitor: An interview with Kiki (and her Dada)

FIST 2024 was the most competitive tournament in years, with 288 competitors spanning 78 teams. Among those competitors was FIST’s youngest improviser ever—six-year-old Kiki Bollen who performed alongside her father Jeff Bollen as “Kiki and My Dada.”

Jeff has been a WIT performer (Starship Odyssey, several Harold teams) and faculty member for many years. The two had previously performed on stage together during WIT’s annual Improvapalooza festival, during a recurring show called WITtle Ones, which features improvisers performing with their kids.

The team entered and advanced to round two of the tournament, where they chose to bow out citing post-bedtime performances in round three and beyond. Kiki and Jeff talked to WIT about stage fright (or lack thereof), what they like about improv, and their time in FIST.


Jeff Bollen performs while sitting on the floor with his daughter Kiki performing in a chair.When did you come up with the idea of performing a dad/daughter duo for FIST? Do you play improv games together at home?

Kiki: We both like improv, and we used to do it, so like we thought we could be a team together.

Jeff: That’s right, Kiki has done improv shows for a couple of years during Improvapalooza.

Kiki: Yep.

Jeff: You were a baby in those shows at first, but then you did such a good job each year that we thought, why not take it to the stage for FIST?

Kiki: Yeah!  And when we play improv games at home, my favorite is “Where Have My Fingers Been?” where your fingers talk to each other.

Jeff: The way that we did improv to get ready for FIST was usually in the car.  While I was driving, and with Kiki in the back seat, we would just start talking about fun ideas and imagining what it might sound like if there were characters inside those ideas.

Kiki: Yeah, I liked making up new voices like “Hewwo I’m Kiki” (cutest imaginable voice) like that.

Jeff: I really knew we tapped in to something as a FIST duo when we were backstage for our second show and a friend said “So this is the improviser everyone is afraid of!” Of course referring to Kiki being a magnet for the audience’s votes.


How did you practice?  Did you have official rehearsals?

Kiki: I don’t think so.  Wait, did we?

Jeff: Well other than in the car, we practiced our opening to the show.  We liked doing that, right?

Kiki: Yeah I felt like I was doing what I needed to do, sort of.


Kiki, were you nervous performing for all of those people? 

Kiki: No, not at all.

Jeff: Really?

Kiki: Nope, I was just like, a little bit, but I was also feeling kinda excited on my first show, so it was just like a mixture of two.


Jeff, did you have a plan in case things didn’t go as planned at showtime?

Jeff: Because Kiki hasn’t taken improv classes, I knew that I would have to take the lead on ensuring that it actually looked like an improv show with scenes.  But Kiki did not care about that at all.

Kiki: (bursting with excitement) On the last show my dad tried to change the scene but I was like NOPE NOPE NOPE keep being animals!!

Jeff: So I knew if things were going to go that direction, it was my responsibility to keep us on course, actually looking like an improv show and not just two sillies doing whatever they wanted.


What was your favorite moment of your run during FIST?

Kiki: When I just tried to like climb on him when I was animals, like a little mouse squeak squeak squeak.

Jeff: My favorite was just watching her.  I know how talented and funny and special Kiki is, so just watching you go out on stage in front of an audience and performing as good as I knew you could made me so happy.  My favorite scenes together were in our first show when she named me Caboose, and we saw Caboose’s journey through life, employment, love and the abyss.


Kiki, do you want to keep doing improv?

Kiki: Yes!  Because I just like making up lots of things!


Jeff, what has it meant to you to be able to have this experience with Kiki?

Jeff: I teared up when we announced that we wouldn’t be able to continue to perform because of some after-bedtime show times in FIST.  I couldn’t hold back my emotions because I was so proud of Kiki, and I already knew in that moment we had made memories together we will cherish for the rest of our lives.  It was very sweet of WIT to ask us to come back to perform an encore show on the final day of FIST[to open the Comeback Brawl].

Kiki: I liked spending time with my dad.

Jeff: I also really liked how the audience thought I was so cute and adorable.

Kiki: NO I WAS!!!  They thought you were stinky.  If you kids want to do it, go with your dad.  If they’re good.  I promise.  BYE!


Kiki’s Dada has maintained a playlist of their shows. Check out their run here.

March 14, 2024