Philosophy vs. Improv #1: We Have Always Already Been Improvising

What is this? Listen to the PvI trailer.

The gauntlet has been thrown. In this first episode, Mark Linsenmayer and Bill Arnett channel their respective muses to try to enlighten each other about something having to do with ethics on the one hand and the continuity of improvisation with regular life on the other. Which lesson shall produce the most profound effect? Does this format make any sense at all?

As a special treat, this episode includes an appendix (the “post-game”) which in the future we may or may not restrict to our financial supporters. This is where we get meta- and discuss the format and get to know each other. Our recommendations in this segment include the Modern Day Philosophers podcast and The Chicago Improv Studio Thursday Night Jam (see their Facebook page).

Learn improv from Bill through Get philosophy tutoring from Mark or listen to his reading group podcast at

The theme music is from “Bankrupt” (foreshadowing the destination for acolytes of both philosophy and improv comedy), which I wrote as an naïve high schooler in 1989 and recorded it in 1993 with The MayTricks for the album Happy Songs Will Bring You Down.

Audio editing by Tyler Hislop (and Mark does a pass too).

About the art used on this site: Kids’ drawings are great. The wilder the better. To start, I just grabbed a bunch of these off the web, because my goal here is to substitute all of them very soon with drawings by YOUR kids, specifically influenced (or at least dovetailing interestingly with) these episode titles. Follow me on twitter and going forward I’ll announce episodes titles and put out a call for art. All submissions will be displayed in some way so your tot will not be crushed by rejection, but one of them will be put in the episode-front spot as you see here. You can consider any of the posts already up here as fair game for your submissions unless you see an art credit on the post, so please get your kids involved today! I recommend using color (of some sort) on a landscape 8 1/2″ by 11″ sheet, then just scan it or take a picture with your phone; the result should be at least 1000 pixels wide. Send it to

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