"Blackout’s 10 performers take on all sorts of difficult material in their comedy, from police shootings to political campaigns to race and technology." - Leah Donnella, MPR News.
Blackout Improv is a mix of comedy, social justice, and arts access. We seek to put more Black performers on more stages; to create comedic dialogue around serious truths; and to provide more opportunities for Black students. Blackout is changing the face of stages in Minnesota.
Blackout's cast includes improvisers, stand up comedians, musicians, classically trained actors, dancers, poets, writers, storytellers, and educators. The founding members and owners are Alsa Bruno, Joy Dolo Anfinson, Andy Hilbrands, John Gebretatose and Kory LaQuess Pullam. During a Blackout show you will encounter any combination of these talents as well as experience a dynamic show that will entertain you, take a look at serious current events, and perhaps even challenge you. In it's first year Blackout spent more than 5,000 hours doing trainings, workshops, and performances for nonprofits, colleges, and corporations across the country.
Blackout is dedicated to providing the most excellent experience for our workshop attendees, just as we do with our audience. We create a dialogue with the audience with our flagship format and invite all experiences to the table so that we can have a conversation. We are a cast of seasoned improvisers, teachers, actors, and writers who came together to build something that would bring people together. Every workshop we create is catered to the needs of the community in which we are working.
We believe improv is an art that serves everybody as a vehicle for people to express themselves that can also be used change the course of humanity. We believe all students should have access to high quality arts experiences and that students should have the chance to see successful Black performers and work alongside them.
Managing Director: John Gebretatose
Artistic Directors: Joy Dolo and Korey Pullam
Education Director: Shea Roberts
Blackout Improv is a mix of comedy, social justice, and arts access. We seek to put more Black performers on more stages, to create comedic dialogue around serious truths, and to provide improv access for Black students. Blackout is changing the face of comedy stages in Minnesota.
Blackout's cast includes improvisers, stand up comedians, musicians, classically trained actors, dancers, poets, writers, storytellers, and educators. The founding members and owners are Alsa Bruno, Joy Dolo Anfinson, Andy Hilbrands, John Gebretatose and Kory LaQuess Pullam. During a Blackout show you will encounter any combination of these talents, as well as experience a dynamic comedy show that will entertain you, take a look at serious current events, and perhaps even challenge you. In its first year Blackout spent more than 5,000 hours doing trainings, workshops, and performances for nonprofits, colleges, and corporations all over the globe.
Denzel Belin works as a director, actor, and improviser based in the Twin Cities. He currently works at The Brave New Workshop as a member of their Mainstage cast and at the Science Museum of Minnesota as an Actor/Presenter. He is an instructor at The Brave New Workshop Student Union and a teaching assistant at HUGE Theater. Belin is proud to be a part of Blackout and hopes to shine a light on African-American involvement and excellence in the improv community as a performer and instructor.
Alexis Camille is an improv actor, storyteller, and educator in Minneapolis. A former U.S. Marine, she began studying theater and improv in Oakland, CA after completing that military journey. She works with The Theater of Public Policy, HUGE Improv Theater, and is a committee member of Our Cities On Our Stages of the Twin Cities. Her passion is highlighting voices of underrepresented communities; she's commited to applying and projecting diversity and representation throughout her work. As part of the Blackout Improv cast and family, nationally and internationally, Alexis enjoys contributing to the creation of an informative culture of inclusivity and healing, via laughter.
I am a grad of the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. I continued studies at American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Ivana Chubbuck studios in Los Angeles. As a biracial person, I grew up denying my blackness and often having my blackness denied. In the predominately white schools and neighborhoods I grew up in I was often given a "pass" of acceptance. "Well, you're not really black," I was told. I joined Blackout to say I am black. And to find the love in my blackness. The vulnerability in my blackness. The power in my blackness. I am finding that and so much more.
Joy Dolo is an actor and improviser in the Twin Cities. She lives in Saint Paul, MN with her husband and two cats. Though she pays her taxes with her stage work, she has found this love of comedy through Theater of Public Policy and her 2nd family, Blackout. Her goal is to create a safe space for people of color to be on stage and to feel the same freedom she feels when she is performing. Shine BRILLIANTLY, claim your power, and fail FEARLESSLY. And eat sweets as much as possible, it’s sooooo good.
Ashawnti Ford is a graduate of Viterbo University in Lacrosse, WI earning a B.F.A in theatre with an emphasis in acting. Ashawnti has been doing improv since she was 11 years old and is so excited to be a part of this special troop! Aside from being an improviser, Ashawnti is also an actress and teaching artist in the Twin Cities! Her favorite accomplishments have been working as an intern at Penumbra Theatre and conducting her own research study about South African Theatre!
John Gebretatose rose from the ranks of a HUGE Improv Theater student, to a HUGE Improv instructor and now also the Director of Diversity and Inclusion. He trained and worked at Brave New Workshop and has been performing stand-up comedy in the Twin Cities for over nine years. John is a founding member of one of Blackout. He is the co-creator of the Black and Funny Improv Festival. John travels all over the world performing improv and teaching improv workshops.
Khary Jackson is a poet, playwright, dancer and musician whose first poetry book, Any Psalm You Want, was published with Write Bloody Publishing in 2013.
Sam L. Landman
Ad agency copywriter by day, bon vivant by night. Yeah, he does it all. When not writing 52 one-act plays in a year (oneactaweek.tumblr.com), sketches for Blackout Improv, screenplays about dysfunctional superheroes or speculative fiction about Spandau Ballet, he’s also acting in stuff. If his name doesn’t seem familiar, you may recognize one of his numerous nom de plumes/stage names/heist aliases: “Otter” Bill Libretto, Monica K. Boudreaux or Lousy-Squealer-Who-Ends-Up-Squealing-On-Everybody-To-Cut-Time-Off-His-Sentence.
Kory Laquess Pullam
Kory LaQuess Pullam is a theatre artist from Corpus Christi, Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University in 2013. Since moving to the Twin Cities, Kory has worked with the Guthrie Theater, Penumbra Theatre, Ten Thousand Things Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, and much more. Since forming Blackout Improv in 2015, he has performed and led workshops with the group all over Minnesota. Kory is also the founding artistic director of Underdog Theatre, a new company that serves the under-represented and unheard.
Derek "Duck" Washington
Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Derek “Duck” Washington has been a theatre artist in the Twin Cities for over twenty years. He is an actor, director, audio designer, playwright and improviser. Duck is a member of American Civic Forum, Fearless Comedy Productions, and the insult comedy troupe Vilification Tennis. He is also a producer for The Encyclopedia Show: Minneapolis and is a former member of the board of directors for the Cromulent Shakespeare Company. Some of his recent artistic credits include companies like Chameleon Theatre Circle, Walking Shadow, Theatre in the Round, Comedy Suitcase, Freshwater Theatre and Little Lifeboats.