Tucked away in Post Alley, covered in chewing gum, is a quirky, cool theater that is home to the oldest improv group in Seattle. Most of you are probably aware of the tourist attraction that is Pike Place Market, and you’ve probably visited The Gum Wall, but this little gem is a bit hidden in plain sight and is definitely worth knowing about. We are pleased to present to you the hilarious and talented people of Unexpected Productions.
Unexpected Productions is an improv theater that has called the historic Market Theater home for 20 years. There are 54 improv artists that make up the company. You’ve probably heard of Joel McHale from the NBC sitcom Community - yep, he got his start right here in Seattle with Unexpected Productions. And did you know that this theater is actually responsible for the creation of the gum wall? Patrons of the theater weren't allowed to chew gum in the theater, so they would stick the gum to the outside wall of the theater to get rid of it. Little did they know it would become the institution it is today.
Unexpected Productions puts on 10 different shows a week (you can read about the different shows here) and tickets are fairly inexpensive for a fun, entertaining night out (around $10-$20). If you haven’t spent some time at Pike Place Market after dark, we highly recommend it. The bars and entertainment are top notch here and the atmosphere once it quiets down is very cool. The theater even has a tiny bar where you can grab a drink pre or post show (we recommend pre-show because that just makes the jokes funnier).
It is incredible to watch as they create stories on the spot, with a level and intelligence and skill that will have your cheeks hurting. The actors take recommendations from the audience, which they then use to create hilarious, personalized stories. Obviously no two shows are the same! Depending on how much you love the show you can also take improv classes to increase your odds of being the one up on stage someday, even if you don’t want to perform, improv is proven to help people with their creativity, public speaking, and problem solving skills.