Spotlight On: I Win Improv

“There are so many talented performers out there who go unseen and unheard. Their voices are silenced in the background and they never get a chance to perform and to be themselves.”

I Win Improv is a solo improvised game show featuring Jermaine Trice. Based out of Bethesda, Maryland, I Win Improv will perform in the 6:30 PM block on Friday, August 14 at the 2020 Countdown Improv Festival. In this spotlight interview, Trice talks about his format, the pleasures of running a virtual improv theater, and his favorite and least favorite game show hosts.

I Win Improv is a super fun improvised game show, and we can’t wait for people to see it on Friday, August 14. How did you come up with the idea for the show?

Jermaine Trice: I came up with the idea for I Win Improv in January of 2019. At the time, I was seeking a way to express myself creatively in a solo act while being interactive with the audience. Originally, I thought the show would be a cheesy, lounge singer bit that would not last longer than one or two shows. I likely would have continued down that path too. But, as fate would have it, I randomly saw a prize wheel while purchasing something completely different on Amazon. I knew immediately that this show had to be a game show. I purchased a small prize wheel and performed the 1st show a few weeks later.

Was there a particular show or moment in a show when it all came together and the form just clicked for you? Or has it always worked from day one?

JT: This format clicked for me when I watched some video clips from the first show. Everyone was so excited to come up and spin the wheel. I knew then that this was a show that I had to keep performing. So I bought a larger prize wheel and started giving out branded prizes.

You’re a mainstay of the improv scene in Maryland and DC, having served on the board of the District Improv Festival, among other things. You recently founded your own space, The Improv Place, in Bethesda, Maryland. Tell us what makes improv audiences in your home region special, and how The Improv Place came to be.

JT: I love to entertain people. I don’t feel comfortable in a large group unless I am on stage. My art is my voice. There are so many talented performers out there who go unseen and unheard. Their voices are silenced in the background and they never get a chance to perform and to be themselves. I was one of those people. I started The Improv Place as a stage for performers to express themselves creatively, without the need to pay for classes. The original concept was to have pop-up shows in different cities/countries with a “home” theater in DC. The virus obviously changed that. But honestly, having a virtual theater, I am reaching performers and audiences that I never would have reached in a physical space.  

Do you have a favorite game show host? Alternatively, do you have a least favorite game show host?

JT: Favorite: Bob Barker. I loved watching The Price is Right as a child. Least Favorite: Richard Dawson. How can you like a creepy guy who randomly kissed female contestants without consent? I mean, really? 

Finally, I Win Improv is what all entrants in the Countdown Improv Festival Hall of Fame are looking to achieve. Who do you think will be entered into the Countdown Improv Festival Hall of Fame this year?

JT: Cuzzins.