The inaugural group (1996) and the '14-'15 iteration

The inaugural group (1996) and the ’14-’15 iteration

Duke University Improv (DUI) is Duke’s only improv comedy troupe. They perform across campus throughout the year, leading up to their final comedy showcase, the Big Show. From the money that it raises through performances, DUI donates $10,000 per year to the Scott Carter Foundation. Throughout its history, DUI has raised over $100,000 and almost as many laughs. If you’d like to find out more information including bookings and auditions, please read through our website or email dui@duke.edu.


  • The Group
  • Big Show
  • Scott Carter Foundation
DUI was founded by a handful of freshmen in the basement of Gilbert-Addoms dormitory in the fall of 1996. The group rapidly grew in popularity and by the spring of 1998, the Big Show, DUI’s end-of-the-year comedy extravaganza, was born.

DUI regularly performs for capacity crowds throughout the year in venues ranging from Page Auditorium to Pegram dormitory to campuses across the country. Dorm shows are DUI’s most common performance, but they also perform in large theatre venues on campus and at various recruiting events for the administration.

DUI performs around 30-40 shows in a school year. A typical show includes 10-12 short-form improv games similar to the ones you would find on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” On top of short-form improv, DUI also mixes in long-form improv, scripted sketch comedy, and videos – basically anything to make you laugh.

Ultimately, DUI’s members pride themselves on being a comedy group with the ability to adapt to any performance situation that presents itself – whether that’s performing in front of 1,200 people in Page Auditorium or 4 people at a birthday party in a cramped hotel room (yes, they’ve done that too!). Have DUI perform for your dorm or quad by e-mailing dui@duke.edu

DUI alumni span the globe, many performing. Some of our alums are members of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, while others are members of Second City and IO in Chicago. You can also find DUI alumni in print. Dana Vachon’s debut novel ”Mergers and Acquisitions”, a Wall Street satire, has received critical acclaim and Porter Mason, author of the successful Chronicle comic ”Johnny the Mediocre Human” while at Duke, writes the comic strip ”Bassist Wanted”.

Become a member of the DUI community and feel free to contact DUI for information on bookings, auditions, or any other questions you may have.

The Big Show is DUI’s last and largest show of the year. Every April since 1998, the Big Show has gone up in Page Auditorium, offering an evening of top-quality entertainment to an often sold-out crowd of 1,200 people.

DUI spends a large portion of the Spring Semester conceptualizing, rehearsing, and publicizing this event. The show, which includes original sketches and films in addition to improv comedy, parodies campus goings-on, TV hits, and blockbuster movies. DUI’s Big Show has become famous for incorporating various campus and national celebrities.

The growing list includes:

  • Shane Battier (4 times)
  • Jason Williams
  • Mike Dunleavy Jr.
  • Chris Duhon (3)
  • Nick Horvath (5)
  • Reggie Love (2)
  • Shavlik Randolph
  • Lee Melchionni (2)
  • Jamal Boykin
  • Lindsey Harding
  • Brittany Hunter
  • Laura Kurz
  • Dick Vitale
  • ESPN’s Mike Hall
  • Duke Cheerleaders
  • Herb Neubauer aka Crazy Towel Guy
  • President Nan Keohane (3)
  • President Dick Brodhead (3)
  • Dean Sue Wasiolek (6)
  • VP Larry Moneta (4)
  • Ryan Lombardi
  • Jon Sheyer (2)
  • Brian Zoubek
  • Kyle Singler
  • Nolan Smith

Many students, even professors, have mentioned they look forward to Spring Semester at Duke because it’s Big Show season. In fact, in 2001 NBA player Shane Battier told ESPN on SportsCenter that his favorite Duke memory besides basketball was being in DUI’s Big Show.

You can also view all DUI videos and photos, including those from past Big Shows, online here

Shortly after DUI began performing regularly on campus, they were presented with the question of what to do with the money they were raising from their performances.

Several of the members’ lives had been touched by cancer. Scott Carter, younger brother of Cason Carter, a founding member of DUI, had died in 1993 after a three year battle with bone cancer. His parents had founded the Scott Carter Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Research, and so it was unanimously decided that DUI would donate every dollar that it ever raised to this cause.

Each year DUI raises over $10,000 through Big Show and other performances. They present the Foundation with a check at the annual Scott Carter’s Heroes Golf Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma in August.

Everything we do, we do for Scott. There is not one member of the group whose life he has not touched, and we would like to thank both he and the Carters for everything they have given the group. Scott, you are our hero.

For more information on Scott Carter and the foundation in his name, please visithttp://www.scottcarterfoundation.org



Contact Us

In the past, DUI has collaborated with Duke Pitchforks, Duke’s Inside JokeUVA’s Whethermenand several other on and off-campus organizations. If you or your group is interesting in booking a show or collaborating with DUI, please contact us at our bot-proof email address: