Since it opened in Chicago in 1981, iO has been a beacon for the comedy world's luminaries and luminaries-to-be. Founders Del Close and Charna Halpern believed that improvisation could be more than simply games, and worked together to shape the often misunderstood comedic form into the free-flowing, longer-running artistic entity it is today. The resulting laughter proved too much to be contained by the Midwest alone, and in 1997, they raised the curtain on iO West. In the years since iO hosted its first show, more than 5,000 performers have walked through the doors of one?or both?training centers and theaters. A few of those individuals might be familiar: alumni include Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Adam McKay, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, David Koechner, Jack McBrayer, and countless others.