Jeff DeVincent (or, more notably Jeffy 'D) holds the dubious distinction of being the creator & very first host of Friday Nite Imrpovs.
Jeff is a graduate of the
While at Pitt Jeff convinced six fellow actors to try this "Improv thing" that Jeff had recently experienced. They started an informal improv workshop, with Jeff providing the role of moderator. The group met every Friday night in various rehearsal spaces on campus (such as B16/18 for you Pitt buffs), and called themselves the "Late Nite Club". As more and more actors & their friends started to attend, more and more people were heard asking "You going to improv on Friday?" or "Friday night, improvs?" Quickly, the number of attendees at the workshop became too many for small rehearsal spaces. So the informal workshop transitioned to a formal show and was renamed
Friday Nite Improvs
The workshop that had begun with seven people had grown to an audience pushing triple digits. Admission to the "show" was one dollar, with the money collected going for the sole purpose of buying food & beer for the weekly 'Post 'Provs parties hosted by Lee Piper.
These early days of Friday Nite Imrpovs were, to a fair extent, far different from the FNI that can be seen today. The audience, at this time, was made up mostly of Theatre Department students and local actors. While Jeff encouraged anyone to attend, the word about FNI was still largely confined to the
Jeff was responsible for creating the basic rules that still govern FNI today. Failure if OK, No Booing, Always Welcome, Always Listen are all Jeff DeVincent creations. Jeff also believed strongly in the principle that anyone could take the stage and be, if only temporally, the performer.
Despite being a great improver, Jeff rarely took the stage himself to perform. After announcing the rules, Jeff would promptly head to the nearest hallway, and spend most of the show time chain-smoking ciggeretts and muttering about his girlfriend's "episodes".
Jeff completed his graduate studies in 1993 and has gone on to start a Performing Arts program at Savannah Collage for Art and Design.