Mike Davenport, Founder
Magic Jester Theater


Michael teaches and performs Chicago-style long form improvisational theater, focusing on creating strong characters, deep connections between scene partners, and scenes that are funny and moving.

Michael studied and performed in the Chicago improv scene for ten years, including performances at Second City, the Annoyance Theater, Improv Olympic and the Playground. A highlight of that time was putting together an improv troupe called Melange that performed for six weeks at Second City.

His greatest improvisation influence is Mick Napier, founder of the Annoyance Theater and director at Second City, with whom he studied for four years. He has also studied Meisner acting technique with Kathy Scambiatterra at The Artistic Home in Chicago, and has studied bringing physicality to scripted work with James Wagner at Berkeley Rep School of Theatre.

Andrew Pearce, Artistic Director
Magic Jester Theater

Andrew studied and performed in the Calgary improv scene for eight years under Keith Johnstone at Loose Moose Theatre. There he helped form a number of comedy troupes including Late Night Comedy with future members of Kids In The Hall, and The Seventh Funniest Comedy Show in the World. He subsequently moved to Toronto where he continued study at Second City and short stints with the Committee in San Francisco.

In Toronto, Pearce performed improv, sketch, stand-up, and most notably formed Fred's Bicycle Repair Shop which performed sketches written via improv at over 400 shows, including a 1999 CBC TV special.

Andrew teaches a character motivation-driven approach to improvizational theater, informed by both Keith Johnstone's and Mick Napier's approaches.

Jake Martin, Associate Director
Magic Jester Theater

Jake Martin began studying improvisation in his hometown, Chicago, IL where he was a company member at the Annoyance Theater, iO Theater (formerly the ImprovOlympic), and the Playground Theater. Jake also did countless sketch and theatrical productions, including Tony and Tina’s Wedding. He has also performed in New York City with the troupe Hebrew School Dropouts and has performed stand-up at numerous venues. His first book, What’s So Funny About Faith was released in October 2012 by Loyola Press.

Jake is primarily interested in longform improvisational comedy as originally conceived by Del Close and also cites Mick Napier, Mark Sutton, Joe Bill as primary influences on his teaching and performance styles. His philosophy for teaching improvisation is one of self-empowerment via grounding in technical skills.

Lisa Martinovic, Slam Mistress
Magic Jester Theater

At the start of every Magic Jester show, audiences experience a form of entertainment not found anywhere else in the known world. How can we be so sure? Because it was invented by Magic Jester's own Lisa Martinovic who drew on her 20 years as a slam poet to adapt the form for improv.

The Improv Slam goes like this: Teams of improvisers, "dueling duos", compete by creating improvised scenes that open with scintillating lines of dialog drawn at random out of a hat, lines that were, just moments earlier, written by members of our audience. The scenes are then scored by equally random (but always brilliant and discerning!) audience members who've received, just moments earlier, a crash course in non-random judging. All manner of hijinks ensue and the winning duo struts off with prizes so astonishing they must be seen to be believed.

A native San Franciscan, Lisa spent most of the 1990s in Hogeye, Arkansas, where she organized and emceed monthly poetry slams and reigned for three years as the SlamQueen of the Ozarks. From her base in the hinterlands, she competed in National Poetry Slams, and toured the country as a performance poet, featuring everywhere from the Nuyorican and City Lights to the New Orleans Lollapalooza. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including Exquisite Corpse, The Bay Guardian and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

After returning to the Bay Area in '99 Lisa took up improv and has been doing it ever since - in classes and theater companies from Sebastopol to Berkeley, including several years with Oakland's Pan Theater. She's been performing in troupes with Magic Jester since 2010 and revels in her role as emcee of the monthly Improv slams.