Ron Jarvis – From Clowning to Improvisation

ron jarvisRon Jarvis is certainly a Renaissance man. He is a writer, actor, improviser, and really great human.  He’s also truly an adventurous soul! He shared the story of his bucolic childhood that led him to sail on a Norwegian freighter to exotic places to his entry into clown college and being a clown with the Ringling Circus. You’ll love his stories of working with clowns and other circus folks! His love of elephants and working with them is truly a love story! His life changed when he was still at the circus and had time off to see the Lampoon Comedy show in 1975.
That cast included Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray. After returning to see several shows he said to himself, “I want to do that” and headed to Chicago to audition at Second City. His first show was as a heckler in the audience, irritating other folks until he was invited on stage, by his clown partner who was also in the cast, and they engaged in a wild clown fight that brought down the house. He shares stories of studying with Del Close and Bernie Sahlens.

After a stint at Second City, Ron turned his attention to acting and writing. He wrote an episode for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and The Munsters Today (1989) and 2 episodes for the cable sitcom Rocky Road.  He also co-starred in the cult classic film Bagdad Cafe. I met Ron in a class with Aretha Spolin Sills over a year ago and have been in many classes with him over the past 1 ½ years. Over the past summer, he and Max Schafer led theater games with children on the autism spectrum and other neuro-diverse challenges at the Ed Asner Family Center. He is dedicated to the Ed Asner Family Center, link to donate and to the Sills/Spolin Theatre Works, link to donate

You might want to listen to my fascinating discussions with other improv teachers and innovators including Colin Mochrie and Anne Beatts
*Improv Interviews podcast‘ is introduced by Susan L. Parker of

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