The relationship with The Improvisation began with the TV show Improv Tonite, the syndicated version of the long running A&E’s An Evening At The Improv, when Steve Bradbury was Marketing Director for Peregrine Entertainment (the show’s distributor). Shot in front of a live audience at the legendary Hollywood Improv, each episode featured a celebrity host such as Jerry Seinfeld, Vanessa Williams, John Stamos & George Wendt plus three comedians including the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Maher, Rosie O’Donnell, David Spade, Richard Belzer, Paula Poundstone and Brad Garrett all of whom were working comics prior to their headlining days .
The Improvisation comedy clubs later retained Deep Sports predecessor company Marketing By Design to develop a digital presence for this legendary brand. The result was the multi-platform comedy experience christened Improv ManyMedia (there’s a good story behind this name).
MBD recognized the enormous marketing expenditure committed by Microsoft to the Windows 95 operating system (OS) as a business opportunity for other brands. Windows 95 was the successor to MS-DOS and first non-Apple consumer OS to incorporate a desktop metaphor as its a graphical user interface. Why not create a funny tutorial to help consumers make this transition?
The next project was a comedy game adventure produced with Philips Media. It was one of the first CD games to have a $1M production budget. The game featured many top stand-up comics as well as appearances by Bill Maher, George Lopez, Steve Allen and musician Joe Walsh.
Improv ManyMedia also partnered with AOL to create a vibrant comedy presence in their ecosystem. This included streaming text of performances from the Hollywood Improv into an AOL chatroom. Comics would later join the conversation. A robust comedy environment was built including extensive user generated content. The “Notscars” play on the Oscars were a fun way to generate further interaction with the online audience.