Improv Yak



Improv Yak is an improv podcast hosted by improv teacher and Los Angeles improviser, Carla Cackowski. Each week Carla interviews an improviser about a specific technique that she admires in their performance and at the end of the show, Carla and guest improvise a scene in which Carla attempts to utilize the technique they discussed. Guests range from seasoned improvisers to first year improv students.


  • #60_Paul F. Tompkins_Live at the 2018 Westside Comedy Festival

    31/03/2019 Duration: 53min

    In Episode 60 of Improv Yak, Paul F. Tompkins is back! He and Carla do a yak in front of a live audience and as always, Paul is an absolute delight. Special thanks to Nick Armstrong and Westside Comedy Theater for producing this fun event at the 2018 Westside Comedy Festival.

  • #59_Will Luera_Free-form

    31/03/2019 Duration: 32min

    In episode 59 of Improv Yak, Carla chats with her friend and Director of Improvisation at Florida Studio Theater, Will Luera!

  • #58_Rachel Rosenthal_Scenework First, Form Second

    30/03/2019 Duration: 38min

    In episode 58 of Improv Yak, Carla chats with Rachel Rosenthal before their shows at the 2018 Stumptown Improv Festival in Portland, OR. They discuss Rachel's background and experience in Freeform & hip hop improv and get into the thick of it in regards to their thoughts on the House Team experience.

  • #57_Laura Doorneweerd_Dimensions

    28/03/2019 Duration: 43min

    In Episode 57 of Improv Yak, Carla chats with improv teacher and performer, Laura Doorneweerd. Laura is based out of Amsterdam and she and Carla discuss the differences in the American and European improv scenes, setting healthy personal boundaries in class and rehearsal, and "Dimensions" (Laura's own improv technique).

  • #56_Cory P. Willis_Getting a Late Start

    25/03/2019 Duration: 52min

    In episode 56 of Improv Yak, Carla chats with UCB Improviser and Teacher, Cory Willis. They discuss what it was like for Cory to begin improvising at 32, saying "yes" to opportunities early on in your improv career, and what Cory loves about teaching improv to teenagers.

  • #55_PJ Jacokes_Live at Detroit Improv Festival!

    23/03/2019 Duration: 21min

    In Episode 55 of Improv Yak, Carla chats with Detroit Improv Festival producer and co-owner of Go Comedy! Improv Theater, PJ Jacokes. This episode was recorded live at DIF in 2017.

  • #54_Jason Shotts_Ownership

    08/10/2017 Duration: 47min

    In Episode 54 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with her pal, Jason Shotts. They talk about "Ownership" in improv and Jason gives Carla so many new great teaching and coaching ideas that her brain melts mid-conversation.

  • #53_Patricia Villetto_Don't be an A**hole

    18/06/2017 Duration: 33min

    In Episode 53 of Improv Yak, Carla chats with her pal, writer and improviser, Patricia Villetto. They talk about Patricia's experience using her improv skills in a professional writer's room, as well as the different tools she picked up from all the various comedy schools with which she has studied and performed. They also have a pretty real convo about how they feel about short form improv. They'll do it! If they have to.

  • #52_Derek Waters_Conversation!

    09/06/2017 Duration: 39min

    In Episode 52 of Improv Yak, Carla sits down with the creator of Drunk History, Derek Waters. They chat about his improv beginnings as a student in Toronto and how Chris Farley has long been an inspiration. Then they improvise one of Carla's favorite improv scenes she's done on the podcast yet! Read more at

  • #51_Craig Cackowski_We're Back! and Festivals_Improv Yak

    02/06/2017 Duration: 01h23min

    Season three of Improv Yak begins with Craig Cackowski returning as co-host. We discuss why Carla took a break from Improv Yak for a while, as well as go through the list of festivals she and Craig have performed in over the past year and a half.

  • #50_Kevin Crowley_Ensemble LIVE EDITION_Improv Yak

    22/10/2016 Duration: 55min

    In the 50th episode of "Improv Yak", Carla shares a conversation she had with improviser Kevin Crowley at the Cincinnati Improv Festival in September. They tackle ensemble and - HEY! - this is our first live episode in front of an audience!

  • #49_Angela Getz_Rediscovering Your Voice_Improv Yak

    21/10/2016 Duration: 50min

    In Episode 49 of "Improv Yak", Carla chats with former student and Second City Hollywood graduate, Angela Getz. They discuss how improv helped Angela rediscover her voice after enduring a traumatic situation and her journey towards healing and becoming a comedic giant amongst her peers (Carla's words). 

  • #48_Jay Sukow_There's no "I" in Improv_Improv Yak

    16/10/2016 Duration: 51min

    On Episode number forty eight of "Improv Yak", Carla yak's with long time improviser and improv teacher, Jay Sukow. They focus on the ensemble and Jay throws down a couple sports metaphors that Carla does her best to keep up with!

  • #47_Paul Vaillancourt_The Triangle of the Scene_Improv Yak

    27/09/2016 Duration: 47min

    In Episode #47 of Improv Yak, Carla shares a conversation that she had with improviser, teacher, and author, Paul Vaillancourt. They discuss Paul's book on his improv philosophy, "The Triangle of the Scene" (available on iBooks and Amazon Kindle), as well as his one man improv show, "Man Vs. Movie". For an extra bonus, check out Carla's "Improv Tip" on Paul's youtube channel PVImprov. And while you're there, check out all of his other Improv Tips too!

  • #45_Julie Brister_Teaching Improv_Improv Yak

    22/09/2016 Duration: 01h06min

    In Episode 45 of Improv Yak, Carla shares a recent conversation she had with LA based improviser and teacher, Julie Brister. Carla and Julie talk about Julie's start at UCB in New York, how improv has changed and grown since then, as well as Julie's take on teaching improvisation. Julie and Carla hadn't seen each other in a while when they taped this episode and they ended their Yak by improvising a scene between two friends who hadn't seen each other in a while either!

  • #44_Jaclynn Cherry_Camp Improv Utopia Yosemite_Part 3

    16/09/2016 Duration: 28min

    In Episode #44 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Detroit improviser Jaclynn Cherry. They talk about the Detroit Improv Fest and what it is about improv that Jaclynn finds so fun. Then they improvise a scene where Carla plays a parental figure (this keeps happening to them in scenes they do together!). 

  • #43_Neil Curran_Camp Improv Utopia Yosemite_Part 2

    16/09/2016 Duration: 38min

    In Episode #43 of Improv Yak, Carla shares the second part in a three part series of interviews she did with improvisers at Camp Improv Utopia Yosemite. The second part features improv teacher and performer, Neil Curran. Neil is from Dublin and has traveled the world performing his improv show, "Neil + 1". He is also the founder and director of Improv Fest Ireland and he and Carla yak about all of those things, plus the current culture of improv in Ireland.      

  • #42_Nick Armstrong_Camp Improv Utopia Yosemite_Part 1

    16/09/2016 Duration: 50min

    In Episode #42 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with her old friend, Nick Armstrong. Nick is an alumni of Sunday Company at The Groundlings, founder of Camp Improv Utopia, and the new AD at M.i. Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. They yak about genre improv, creating a summer camp for adult improvisers, and improvise a scene based on the suggestion, "black hole". 

  • #41_Monika Smith_Humanity in Improvisation_Improv Yak

    30/08/2016 Duration: 51min

    In episode 41 of Improv Yak, Carla and Monika Smith discuss the idea of the human experience in improvisation. They talk about Monika’s recent travels to China to help set up a curriculum for improv and sketch comedy at a new school, as well as their experiences being female improvisers and teachers in the community. Then they improvise a complicated mother-daughter scene set in a movie theater!

  • #40_Kiernan Shipka & Isaac Spector_Improv Friends!_Improv Yak

    18/08/2016 Duration: 49min

    In episode number forty of Improv Yak, Carla chats with teenage improvisers Kiernan Shipka and Isaac Spector about their experience performing in Detention Hall (AKA "Teen Troupe") at The Second City, as well as the friendship they've established over the past few years as a result of this performance experience. 

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