Funny Bones Improv

Funny Bones Improv is a registered 501c3 charitable organization. Our mission is to share the gifts and benefits of laughter with sick children, their families, and their caregivers in multiple hospitals across New Orleans and Chicago through volunteer comedy improvisation performances. Thank you for helping us make this happen!

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Category: Arts & Culture
Parish: Orleans
Sure, it's fun to have a good laugh, but did you know that laughter can actually improve your health? Research has shown that the saying is true: laughter IS the best medicine. It connects people in ways that facilitate healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, improves mood, reduces pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. That's why at Funny Bones Improv, we bring improvisation comedy shows to hospitals throughout New Orleans and Chicago to facilitate healing and stress reduction for sick children, their families, and their caregivers.
Improv is a unique form of live theatre in that the plot, characters, and dialogue of a game, scene, or story are made up in the moment and with help from the audience! Several times a month across both cities, teams of Funny Bones Improv volunteer players perform comedy improv shows that each run for about 35-45 minutes. The laughter, however, lasts long after the "curtain closes." Funny Bones staff and players work with child life specialists, nurses, and other hospital staff to schedule and run shows that meet the needs of the children and their families.

Our dedicated volunteers audition to join the group and receive ongoing training and rehearsal time. Their commitment and love for the work and goals of Funny Bones is remarkable to witness. Typically, the fun begin with a spin of our "Improv Wheel" by a patient, which helps to set the stage for the show. Because it is a completely improvised performance, the players rely on the children and their families to suggest details and the setting for each scene. This gives the audience choice and power and enables the children to use creativity and imagination to be silly and have fun. For example, a scene may start like this: "Where would you like to go on vacation? - Disney World!" and "What animal would be fun to have as a pet? - Giraffe!" Okay - Giraffes in Disney World it is!" And the fun ensues!

Our players also conduct private shows for patients who are unable to leave their hospital rooms. Funny Bones Improv players and board members work tirelessly to bring healing, hope, escape, and play to children in hospitals through the relief and power of a good laugh.
Thank you for your support!
"I learned about Funny Bones from a friend a few years ago. Instantly, I loved the idea - Improv? For kids in the hospital? What a brilliant combination! As someone who has worked with children in hospitals for several years, I am continuously impressed by the number of people who are willing to donate their time to help children in need through activities like improv shows and to the lasting impact they have on our children and their families. When I joined the board of Funny Bones Improv, I did not think it was possible for me to admire the organization any more than I already had. I attended my first Funny Bones Improv show at Ochsner in New Orleans in April 2016, and I was brought to tears by how powerful the experience was. The children were glowing, the parents were beaming, and the players were incredible! Let me say that again - the players were amazing, spectacular, outstanding…INCREDIBLE! Their ability to meet the needs of all of the children, differing in age, ability, and attention level, was impressive. I could not believe how patient, inclusive, and successful the players were in appealing to their diverse audience, managing the often times challenging behavior of participants, and being comfortable with the chaos… all while keeping smiles on the children's faces. I did not want the show to end! I was sincerely moved by the entire experience, and I could not be more thrilled to be a part of this remarkable organization. Please donate and help us keep the children of New Orleans and Chicago, the ones who are in the hospital and need it the most, laughing and enjoying life through improv comedy. Believe me, your heart will swell as soon as you do!"

Jill West, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical and School Psychologist, Ochsner Health System
Funny Bones Improv Board Member