The Armando Diaz Experience, Theatrical Movement and Hootenanny

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A long-running Monday night improv show that was created back in 1995 at ImprovOlympic Chicago and continues today at IO-Chicago, at the newer IO WEST in Los Angeles and occasionally at the Magnet Theater in NYC. The show was created by Adam McKay and Dave Koechner who put together the original cast under the direction of legendary director/teacher Del Close.

"Adam Mckay came up with the name. There was no structure for the show. Del directed. We only had one and a half rehearsals before the first show. Out of desperation I suggested the idea of improvising monologues since I had done it once during a memorial show for our dead friend Rick Roman." - Armando Diaz


The show involves a monologist, originally Armando Diaz himself and later countless others, taking suggestions from the audience and then telling true-life stories inspired by those suggestions. The cast would then improvise scenes inspired by those stories. This format is basically identical to that of ASSSSCAT, the longrunning improv show performed by The Upright Citizens Brigade and friends. All of the UCB members had originally been performers in the Armando shows before moving to New York in '96.

Although people often refer to shows similar in format to this one an "Armando", it should be noted that this show was a variation on many shows with a similar form where improvisors would do monologues and then improvise scenes based on them. It might be more accurate to refer to the general form as a monologue deconstruction.

Original Cast

Armando Diaz, Matt Besser, Brian Blondell, Jim Carrane, Kevin Dorff, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Neil Flynn, Jon Glaser, James Grace, Noah Gregoropoulos, David Koechner, Laura Krafft, Cara MacNamara, Brian McCann, Adam McKay, Theresa Mulligan, Rush Pearson, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Dee Ryan, Brian Stack, Miles Stroth, Miriam Tolan, Pete Zahradnick.

Other regular or semi-regular performers over the years have included Scott Adsit, Craig Cackowski, Peter Gwinn, Pete Hulne, John Lutz, Jack McBrayer, Susan Messing, Rich Talarico, Paul Vallaincourt, Matt Walsh, Stephnie Weir, Bob Dassie, Seamus McCarthy, Matt Dwyer, Kevin Mullaney, Gwyn Ashley, Brian Boland, Liz Edwards, Ed Herbstman, Mary McCain, Neil McNamara, Steve Mosqueda, Beth Cahill, Paul Grondy, Mike Coleman, Jason Chin and many others.

Guest performers have included Bill Chott, Andy Dick, Chris Farley, Pat Finn, Leo Ford, Rich Fulcher, Jenna Jolovitz, Will Clinger, Jay Leggett, Pat McCartney, Jerry Minor, David Pasquesi, Keith Privett, David Razowsky, Peter Reinemann, Scot Robinson, Adrian Wenner and Rebecca Weinberg.