Battle of the Twin Cities Improv All-Stars is an evening show that will bring guaranteed laughs generated by some of the finest and most creative improvisers in the Twin Cities! Improvisers will compete for your laughs, seeking to be crowned The Twin Cities Improv All-Star!  A panel of celebrity judges will add to the laughs.  After a day of education and networking at the Twin Cities Actor Expo, attend and observe as performers’ talents are put to the test! Buy tickets here!

Battle of the Twin Cities Improv All-Stars Judges

 Carolyn Blomberg

Carolyn BlombergCarolyn Blomberg started doing stand up comedy in 2006 at ACME Comedy Co.’s open mic night and continued to perform around the Twin Cities for 2 years. Then she quit comedy altogether to become a Paramedic in Denver, CO. Now she’s back in Minneapolis doing more comedy than ever.

Carolyn has studied sketch writing and improvisation at Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop and HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis, MN. She was a semi-finalist in ACME Comedy Co.’s Funniest Person in the Twin Cities in 2007 and 2011. You can see her performing, bartending, or assistant teaching at HUGE Improv Theater on a regular basis.


Rusty Gatenby

Rusty GatenbyRUSTY GATENBY is a TV legend. How do we know this ? He will tell you, repeatedly and quite loudly. A Wayzata guy, after learning stuff at the University Wisconsin Madison, he got a gig at the ABC station in town. It was suppose to be a short gig while he got ready for Hollywood ! He was to be the next Steven Spielberg ! Well, the TV gig lasted more than 30 years ! Along the way, he earned 5 Emmy Awards and traveled the world. Moscow, London, Rome and from ships at sea, Rusty interviewed politicians, Presidents and players! Hollywood, New York City and Las Vegas…, skydiving, scuba diving, or tap dancing…. McCartney, Jaeger, and Garth…Hanks, Cruise and Ford…. there’s really not much Rusty hasn’t done.


Chelsea Lynn Wallace

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 1.47.26 PMChelsea Wallace is a lover of improv and an improver herself. Chelsea produces a local news/talk show called The Buzz. You can catch it weekday mornings at 9am on Fox 9. She has been taking Improv classes for one year, but has been improving unofficially on the streets for 27 years. She is currently in Level 4 Improv at the Brave New Workshop and is the founder of the YouTube Series Fashion by Fashion. She is a tough talker and she will keep these competitors out of line, and off their toes.

Battle of the Twin Cities Improv All-Stars Cast:

James Detmar (Emcee)


James is a veteran of over 35 years of improvisation, including over 10 years and 10,000 improv shows at Disney’s Comedy Warehouse and 5 years as a resident company member of the venerable Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop. He was also served as Artistic Director of the BNW, where he directed such satirical comic hits as Viagra: The Second Coming and Saving Clinton’s Privates, or Swallow The Leader! James is also the co-author of IMPROVISE THIS! HOW TO THINK ON YOUR FEET SO YOU DON’T FALL ON YOUR FACE, the book that teaches you how to access your native improv skills, apply them in the business world, and achieve maximum results.

Ahna Brandvik

Ahna first began studying improvisation in the late 90’s. Since that time, she has appeared on stages such as Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop (where she met her husband of almost 20 years!), Dudley Rigg’s E.T.C, The History Theater, and The Children’s Theater Company. Ahna has also appeared in film, on television and radio. Ahna continues to improvise, write and direct and teach students of all ages. Currently, she is teaching theater to elementary students at Four Seasons A+ Elementary School – a citywide, public arts magnet school – in St. Paul, MN. Ahna is delighted to return to Battle of the Improv All Stars.

Casey Haeg

Casey HaegCASEY HAEG has been improvising in the Twin Cities for 5 years. You can see her at Comedysportz Twin Cities, Huge Theater, and The Bryant Lake Bowl. Casey is excited for the chance to win the Battle of the improv all stars again! Ellie Hino you are going down!!



Ellie Hino

Ellie Headshot 2400ELLIE HINO is a local actor, comedian and improvisor.  She was a Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater writer, performer and teacher for over ten years.  Ellie now owns and operates Care Therapeutic Massage in uptown Minneapolis ( and will plug it anywhere she can.  She has a lovable cat with thumbs named Herbie, an awesome dog named Kevin and a husband of average height.  She is super excited to be here!


Joden Kohls

Joden-KohlsJODEN KOHLS has been studying and performing improv in the Twin Cities for the last 5 years. . He currently works with Jester’s Comedy Improv and as part of the Touring Troupe with Stevie Ray’s Improv Company. Currently, he works in the fast paced, exciting world of insurance with Allianz. Fun fact… Joden graduated from Rockford High School (go Rockets!) where he was voted “Most Likely to Host a Game Show”. Joden is a very funny, charming, sincere and handsome man. That last statement may be a bit biased because he wrote his own bio.

Nels Lennes

Nel Lennes 1Nels is a founding member, board member, performer, and artistic director of Minneapolis’ only long form dedicated improv venue, HUGE Theater. Most recently, Lennes appeared to critical acclaim in Sunshine for Dark and Stormy Productions, as well as Backlash for Mainly Me Productions at the MN Fringe Festival. Film/Television/Radio credits include ABC’s In An Instant, YMCA’s November Memberthon radio campaign, and a billion other commercials and films.


MJ Marsh

MJ MarshMJ Marsh is an improviser and actor in the Twin Cities.  He performs locally and around the country as a performer with Bearded Men Improv and ComedySportz.  In his downtime you can catch him making drinks at Libertine in Uptown.



Shelli Manzoline

IMG_1001 Shelli has been acting since she was a youth growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She received a scholarship to attend Northern Michigan University where she majored in Theater and Philosophy. She furthered her studies at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford and took her first job under an Equity contract working for the Walt Disney World Corp. as a writer and performer for The Anicomical Players. She moved to England to direct and perform Atmospheric Improvisation. She returned to the States, and spent the next four years as Resident Company Member of Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop-
writing, performing and teaching Improvisation. She has made her home in Minneapolis, performing at Hey City Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Old Log Theater, History Theater, Guthrie Theater, Theater Garage and more. She works as an On-camera and Voice Talent represented exclusively by Moore Creative Casting. Recently she crossed two lines off her bucket list by playing the lead in A Method- a feature film produced by Killing Joke Films-and co- producing her first Minnesota Fringe show, Port Authority, with Fontana’s Cabaret. Shelli enjoys working with Youth: she has toured schools in New York and New England, taught Voice and Acting for Dancers at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy and Platinum Dance Center and is a Private Acting Coach. She also does Improvisational Storytelling for Children of all ages.

Shelli is happy to have had another successful year as the Writer and Artistic Director of the Minnesota Dance Collaborative’s show, HoliDaydream, which played to sold out houses at the Southern Theater as a Guest Artist in Residence.

Tyler Noble

Tyler NobleTyler Noble was born and Raised in Queens New York, where he began making his acting bones and improvising With UCB and the PITT. After acting in a hand full of Feature films, most notably ‘Ink & Steel’, and appearing on the ‘Daily Show’, he decided to give Minneapolis a shot. He was welcomed into the acting and Improv community with open arms. Since his move last November he has appeared in many Commercials such as Hormels ‘Rivalry” and as the Minnesota lottery’s ‘French guy’. He also had the opportunity to flex his dramatic side on a new CBS TV show. He’s been performing at the Huge theater, and recently started producing an improv show at ‘Dunord Craft Spirits’. This guy is all over the place, look out for him..

Jim Robinson

JIM ROBINSONJIM ROBINSON is an alumnus of the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis and the Off-Beat Comedy Club onboard the Disney Magic. His original works include “Whistling Past the Graveyard” and the musicals “Love After Hours” and “Psych 101” with Dennis Curley. He is a co-producer at Table Salt Productions and, unbeknownst to many, provided the voices for the corrupt cop and wise monk (among others) in the Nepalese martial arts film “Gorkha Protector.” Jim hails from Riverside, California.



Dane Stauffer

Dane Stauffer Headshot 1Dane Stauffer is alum of the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Tisch School of the Arts/NYU and Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop. Recent credits include: LA Stage Scene: “Best Actor in a Comedy” for “All in the Timing 2011. “Direction: A perfect marriage of Actors, script and Director. “Best One Act of the evening.” San Diego Tribune Herald. He also toured in “ Triple Espresso”, & creative collaboration on recent World Premiere’s “Edifice Wrecks” with MN Dance Theatre, “Dante’s Inferno” with James Sewell Ballet, “ Bully” at Steppingstone Theatre in St. Paul, and the recent smash “When A Man Loves A Diva” at the Lab Theatre in Minneapolis. As a vocalist he’s sung recently in “The Love Show” at O’Shaughnessy and Chanhassen Fireside with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. He’s been featured on KTCA/PBS Technical Difficulties, “Wicked, Wicked Games “ (With Tatum O’Neil) and the Emmy award winning American Scream: Dudley Riggs’s first 30 years, and he continues to teach empowerment through the arts to children and adults in all settings.