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U.S. Veterans Learn to Roll With the Punches, Thanks to Improv Asylum

U.S. Veterans Learn to Roll With the Punches, Thanks to Improv Asylum

Veterans returning to civilian life are getting a new set of skills that they never needed during their service: improv comedy.

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Feb. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --

Christian Etherton, Dominic Royce, and Alex Palmer are three of the veterans participating in the program between Improv Asylum and Northeastern University. (Photo: Michael Pasqua)

As part of a partnership program between Northeastern University and Improv Asylum, veterans are being given a four-week course in improvisation as a tool to help their integration back into their civilian life.

Rather than trying to be funny, these participants are using the underlying skills of improvisation to help find better employment opportunities. 69% of veterans listed "finding a job as a civilian" as their greatest challenge after serving in the military.

The program has been implemented between Norm Laviolette, CEO of Improv Asylum and Andy McCarty, Director of the Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers (CAVS) at Northeastern University.

"In the military, we're given a specific way to talk, a way to walk, a way to dress. When you leave that environment and re-enter civilian society, communication can pose a challenge," says McCarty. "It's not that we're speaking a different language, but it's a bit like driving on a highway without any painted lanes or speed limits. It seems disorderly, and the stakes feel high. When things are coming at us fast and we don't know which way to turn, improvisation gives us tools to handle the situation and keep moving forward."

"As someone who has served, I know it's critical that these men and women are being set up for success as they start the next chapter in their lives," says Laviolette. "These skills go far beyond the comedy you see on stage at Improv Asylum. Improvisation teaches a more nuanced and active method of communication that focuses on listening, collaboration and innovation -- and I believe these are vital skills to anyone who wants to stay relevant in today's workforce."


Northeastern's Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers (CAVS) is dedicated to helping military-related students by providing access to resources, programming, and opportunities that promote a positive Northeastern University experience as well as a successful transition to fulfilling employment and advancement after graduation. For more information, visit


For over 20 years, Improv Asylum has been Boston's best comedy. Located in the heart of the historic North End of Boston, Improv Asylum is open every day of the week with their signature sketch and improv main stage revue running every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. With classes, corporate training and private events, the company has performed for over a million people — a number that continues to grow with the recent addition of their New York City location. Find out more information at

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SOURCE Improv Asylum

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