“Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become stageworthy.”
– Viola Spolin, founder of the improvisational theater movement
CHARM CITY COMEDY PROJECT
ZISSIMOS BAR, 1023 W 36TH ST, BALTIMORE, MD 21211
Phone: (443) 341-7103
The Charm City Comedy Project was founded in February 2014 as a response to the need for a comprehensive comedy venue in the city of Baltimore. We felt that a new type of arts organization was needed...one that would feature all types of talent, provide opportunities for cultural growth, and emphasize an atmosphere of family. We began as a collaboration of four troupes, and have now expanded to seven house improv and sketch troupes, along with numerous side projects. In addition, we house a few resident teams who are guaranteed monthly shows.
The Charm City Comedy Festival, which debuted in May of 2014, has now been expanded to two weekends long, and provides a fun annual destination for improv, sketch, and standup comedians from across the nation. The CCCFest boasts a lineup of illustrious instructors, and our headliners have hailed from The Annoyance Theatre, Magnet Theater, The New Movement, Philly Improv Theater, The Unified Scene Theatre, and more!
The Charm City Comedy Project's mission is to foster an inclusive community for comedy, primarily improv, in the greater Baltimore area.
Charm City Comedy Project is currently in residence in the bar upstairs at Zissimos Bar - in the heart of Hampden, one of Baltimore’s most vibrant neighborhoods. We're known far and wide for our welcoming audiences, so we tend to attract comedians from New York, LA, and beyond. We host shows in the space every Friday and Saturday night.
Our space, known as the Lou Costello Room, was named after the beloved entertainer, who was also a family member of the original owner. A frequent visitor, Lou Costello used to stand on the bar, juggle, pour drinks, and otherwise enthrall the patrons of the upstairs establishment. Zissimos' current owner, Geli Ioannou, christened the room when Charm City Comedy Project took over the space in early 2014. His reasons for the name were twofold - to honor the memory of the great physical comedian, and to illustrate his commitment to the upstairs bar as a space for comedy.
As an organization that is dedicated to nurturing personal growth and enhancing the well-being of our performers and the whole of the Baltimore comedy scene, Charm City Comedy Project does not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any form - at any of our events, or by anyone involved with the Project (including outside performers). To assist us in communicating this policy to the public, we have created our 'Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy' document. Please email Megan Wills at with any questions or reports of infractions. All allegations will be investigated, and offenders dealt with in accordance with our policy (and involving law enforcement, if required).
Megan Wills is an improv comedy performer
and the founder of the Charm City Comedy
Project and the Charm City Comedy Festival
in Baltimore, MD. She serves as Director and
Head Producer at the Project, and as Festival
Director at the CCCFest. Megan trained and
worked as an actor from an early age, and
earned a B.A. in Writing, Theater, and
Women's Studies from University of Maryland
Baltimore County. After switching from scripted
theatre to improv in 2007, she played with
Baltimore Improv Group's house troupe
Population: 6 for seven years - also serving as
the photographer, webmaster, marketing director,
and social media manager within that time frame.
After directing house troupes and teaching all class levels, she founded Improvocateur Coaching and began coaching independent troupes and student groups. She then made those troupes into house teams at the brand new Charm City Comedy Project, which she founded with a partner in 2014. Megan still serves as the primary coach at CCCP, directing three house troupes – Bandicoot, Moonbot, and Silversmith. She is a member of house team Siberia, resident project Baby Fishmouth, and the Project Ladies All-Stars team. She has studied improv with Jill Bernard of HUGE Theatre, Susan Messing of The Annoyance Theatre, Mark Sutton of The Second City, and Joe Wengert and Neil Casey of the Upright Citizens Brigade. She has also performed at national improv festivals and marathons in Austin, Baltimore, Chapel Hill, New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond, including two consecutive years at the Del Close Marathon in NYC.
As a theater instructor, Megan served at Maryland children's theater Pumpkin Theatre, where she taught a weekly Comedy Playground class for elementary school children. Incorporating puppetry and traditional improv techniques, the class taught participants how to develop characters and perform improv formats. She worked at Pumpkin after teaching for Toby Orenstein's Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts in Columbia, MD, where she was commissioned to create and teach an improv curriculum for teens. In June 2018, Megan joined the staff of DC Metro Theater Arts, a theater review and resource website, as Managing Editor.
She has made her mark on the Baltimore community by promoting women in comedy - first creating the Ladies All-Stars improv troupe at CCCP in 2014, and then establishing her First Friday Prim and Proper ladies standup showcase in 2015. In 2016, she took over as the sole owner of the Charm City Comedy Festival and produced the DMV's first Women in Comedy panel, where female leaders in local comedy discussed issues related to their treatment in the comedy scene. News of this event inspired local NPR station producer Andrea Appleton and host Sheilah Kast, who invited Megan to interview as part of a segment called 'Did You Hear The One About The Female Comedians?' in May 2016. The lively discussion with Sheilah and two other female comedians - which covers many subjects around being a woman in the comedy world - is available to stream on the WYPR website. In March of 2017, Megan debuted another new all-woman show (with improv, sketch, and standup) called Born This Way. Recently, a purposeful schedule change resulted in the monthly establishment of that show on first Saturdays, which means that Charm City Comedy Project is the only club on the East Coast to offer an entirely woman-fueled lineup every first weekend.
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