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Only The Name Has Changed

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 11, 2005 8:20PM

IOtheater.jpgStart hording those ImprovOlympic mugs, shirts, and ticket stubs, ‘cause “ImprovOlympic” is no more. The 24-year old company that gave us large blocks of the Saturday Night Live cast, much of the talent behind Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and “that dopey guy” from Scrubs has changed its name to I.O. Theater. In a story you’d expect to find in The Onion, I.O. Owner and Director Charna Halpern received a letter from the U.S. Olympic Committee ordering her to drop “Olympic” from the company name lest someone actually think the Wrigleyville club was qualifying people for Beijing ’08. Back in its formative years, the club was embroiled in a dispute with a stand-up comedy club owner claiming to have copyrighted “improv.” And since the club's been competition-free for decades, they've merely lost a bit of marketing cache.

You won’t see any major changes in programming at the Venue Formerly Known as ImprovOlympic, although this episode is likely to be the butt of a running joke during the company’s 25th Anniversary celebration next month at the Chicago Theatre.