TJ & Dave

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TJ & Dave is an iO Chicago-based twoprov consisting of veterans TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. It is often cited as the most well-known, critically acclaimed, and financially successful improv show in the history of the art form. TJ & Dave plays in the Mission Theater, an iO stage managed by the duo themselves, on Wednesdays at 10:30 PM. It is also performed all over the country as one of iO's touring shows, and can be seen in New York City several times a year at the Barrow Street Theater.


TJ & Dave shows are known for a slow-burn, patient quality that has rarely, if ever, been matched. Each improviser tends to portray more than one character, sometimes jumping between several roles in one single scene. No traditional improv edits are employed in these shows, as scenes simply run until another begins, sometimes abruptly. Jagadowski or Pasquesi will adjust one of the three chairs they employ for their set, dawn a new voice or physicality, and simply begin a new scene. The show famously does not solicit a suggestion from the audience, and instead begins with a phrase that has since become the de facto slogan of their work: "trust us, this is all made up." The lights drop after this is spoken, and the improvisers begin from nothing. Their shows are typically around an hour in length.


Jagadowski has expressed in interviews that the duo employs a technique they refer to as the heat and weight. Rather than get bogged down in the mechanics of Who, What, and Where, they choose to rebrand this context for the scene. "Weight" refers to the emotional implications of dialogue. The "way" something is said is more important to these improvisers than what is being said. The "heat" refers to the nature of the relationship of two characters. It isn't a label for the relationship ("couple"), but instead the state of it ("honeymoon phase couple").

Trust Us... Documentary

Trust Us, This Is All Made Up is a 2009 feature-length documentary and concert film of a TJ & Dave performance. It was directed by Alex Karpovsky. It follows the improvisers for a full day before one of their New York City performances, interviewing them about their process and then showcasing a full performance. It was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

Vimeo releases

In 2016, the duo released an on-demand 8-episode season on the web-streaming service Vimeo. It consists of 8 full-length shows, filmed at the Mission Theater at iO Chicago. The season was directed and edited by Mike Leber, for Clark Street Films.


  • Del Close Award – Best Improvised Show – 2003
  • Del Close Award – Best Improvised Show – 2004
  • Chicago Short Comedy and Video Film Festival
  • Best of the Festival “Must Like Magic” – 2006
  • Nightlife Awards New York – Best Unique Comedy Performance – 2006
  • Nightlife Awards New York – Outstanding Unique Comedy Performance – 2007
  • Chicago Improv Festival – Improviser of the Year; both T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi – 2006
  • Chicago Reader – Best Improvised Show – 2008
  • Numerous write ups in mainstream publications, a feat almost never achieved by improv ensembles


  • Open date:
  • @ The Del Close Marathon


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