Theatre 99’s improvisational comedy jam sesh is here with the only Thunderdome that doesn’t feature half of its contestants dying. The set-up is simple: take individual members of different comedy troupes performing at the Comedy Fest, put them in a live improv comedy group with comedians they haven’t worked with, and see what happens. “It’s a great opportunity for people to get to play together,” says Theatre 99 co-artistic director Brandy Sullivan. “We all speak the same language, which is improv, but every theatre has its own dialect.” Thunderdome participants are typically not chosen until the day of, adding to the excitement on stage. “The basics of improv are about having fun and being playful, so everybody comes in it with that attitude almost involuntarily,” says Sullivan. “Improv shows are always on a tightrope, because you have no idea what’s going to happen, but with the jam [Thunderdome], the tightrope’s a little bit higher.” Because of the amount of comedians that usually want in on the action, two different teams are normally drafted. A wide array of comedy troupes from around the nation will be present at the Charleston Comedy Festival, turning the Thunderdome into a melting pot of American comedy.

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