ZUMPF came about when Miles Stroth, then a veteran performer and teacher at iO, decided to put together a two person improv show. Instead of asking a peer, he decided to ask one of his students. Dan was actually his second choice for the show. Miles first offered the chance to Karen Graci, but she declined.
The show premiered in July of 1999 and built an audience slowly and by November they were filling the house at iO.
The show used internal edits. Since there were only two of them on stage, they had to edit from within the scene and often employed relatively subtle ways to edit.
"So Miles and I would change characters and change scenes simply by changing a small part of your person. If I’m seated, I might cross my legs and start talking a little differently. I’ve just edited the scene, so what we call an internal edit." - Dan Bakkendahl