In October of 1996, Jay Rhoderick was cast in a news satire show, requiring him to write and improvise nightly sketches based on late-breaking New York Times articles. Thrilled by the big laughs he heard during his Bill Clinton impression, Jay left the stage determined to make a career as an improviser—drawing real stories and ideas from teammates, audiences, and breaking news to inspire spontaneous theatre.
Jay taught acting and developed curriculum in the Bronx public schools and was a guest instructor at Yale School of Drama. He is a proud founding member of one of New York’s first “long-form” improvisation troupes, Centralia (named after a Pennsylvania town with a underground coal fire that has been burning since 1962). Jay taught improv at the People’s Improv Theatre in New York for a decade (Thaler was one of his students).
All this performance and teaching work led to corporate role-playing and coaching for clients like Merck and PriceWaterhouseCoopers—as doctors, managers, and “challenging” customers. Jay was delighted and surprised to hear his business clients laughing hard as they improvised stories and solutions together—just as hard as the Bronx nine-year-olds and Yale MFA students.
Jay has since developed high-level pitching, presenting, and negotiating skills at many companies, including Condé Nast, JPMorgan Chase, Mars Candy, the US Olympic Committee, and Herman Miller. Four years ago, Jay founded and continues to lead Bizprov, a boutique consultancy training business people in creative methods of communicating and collaborating through improvisation.
Centralia won Improvisation News’ Best Long Form Award in 2010 and still performs hour-long entirely improvised musical-acrobatic-comedy spectacles.