The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 25, 2014

Improv comedy troupe promises belly laughs

JOHNSTOWN — When Malachi Nimmons tells people you never know what they will hear at a Chicago City Limits performance, he isn’t lying.

Nimmons, 29, and three other comedians from the popular improvisational troupe will rely on the audience to give them a topic when they take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

The majority of the show is created on the spot. The troupe’s home base is the Broadway Comedy Club on West 53rd Street in New York City.

The group traces its roots to Chicago, where it began in 1979 as an offshoot of the famous Second City comedy group, which helped launch the careers of such notables as John Belushi, Bill Murray, John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.

But after Chicago City Limits moved to New York, Nimmons said it became a hotbed of young talent as well. Its stage has welcomed the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Paul Reiser and Jon Stewart.

Nimmons is trying his best to become a household name.

He likes to say he was born in a cultural melting pot called Dayton, Tenn., but spent the formative years of his life in Chicago.

As a child, he starred in numerous television commercials, and has loved performing and music for as long as he can remember.

Nimmons first studied improvisation in 2006 under the tutelage of Rex Knowles and Sherry Landrum at the Professional Actor Training Program at Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee, where he was a member of the Riff Raff improv comedy troupe.

He moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to find fame and fortune, and was doing pretty well until his house was destroyed by fire.

“That’s when I headed back to Tennessee and was in limbo until I landed in New York after an audition,” Nimmons said. “I sold my motorcycle to get to the New York audition and had to take a bus home.”

The improvisational show, which will feature four cast members and a piano player, is a free-for-all that takes aim at any topic.

The troupe pokes fun at everything and creates sketch comedy, musical theater and audience-inspired improvisations.

As a stand-up comic, Nimmons relies on prepared material to entertain audiences.

“This show is different because we rely on the audience to yell out a subject and we literally take off from there,” he said. “People try to stump us all the time.”

But it is rare for the performers to be baffled for a routine.

“Recently someone yelled out ‘sequester,’ ” he said. “Half of us knew what it meant and the other half just faked it, and their ad-libs produced some of the show’s funniest moments.”

Sketches are as fresh as today's headlines, taking aim at the faces, places and events of the day.

“We try to keep the material as updated as possible,” Nimmons said.

Chicago City Limits has been featured on Comedy Central, PBS, “Today,” “The McLaughlin Group,” “The Joan Rivers Show,” “The Jackie Mason Show,” “Good Day New York” and “The Reel News.”

No limits on fun

What: Chicago City Limits.

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

Cost: $29, $25, $21.

Tickets: Available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the box office or by calling 269-7200 or (800) 846-2787, or visiting

Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on LavisTD.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads