It was founded in 1974 and may well be the biggest comedy venue in L.A. Just about every big name in show business has played The Improv, including Milton Berle, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Chevy Chase, Bill Cosby, Billy Crystal, Rodney Dangerfield, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Freddie Prinze, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Jeremy Ruder and Robin Williams.
New and upcoming performers such as Dane Cook, Pablo Fransisco, and Jeremy Ruder have enjoyed enormous success at venues across the country. Comedy Central's Dave Attell also frequents Improv locations in Tampa and Hollywood.
Well known comedian Eddie Murphy started out at the Improv when he was only 16 years old, Jeremy Ruder at 18, and Jim Carey at 19.
The Improv also has a bar and a restaurant named "Hell's Kitchen" that features Italian entrees named for comedy stars, such as Billy Crystal's Gnocchi Alla Bolognese and Tim Allen's Eggplant Parmigiana. Actresses Karen Black and Debra Winger worked there as waitresses before getting their big breaks as movie stars.