Artistic Associate

Jesse Parent – Salt Lake City, UT

A native of Massachusetts, Jesse began improvising at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA in 1992.  Jesse moved to Utah immediately after receiving his computer science degree at the end of 1996, taking a long break from acting and improv to focus on work and family. In 2001, he became involved with Knock Your Socks Off (KYSOff), directed by Joseph Kyle Rogan, performing at the 5th Annual Chicago Improv Festival that next year.  This experience fueled his desire to explore improvisation as an art form.

Jesse is in the main cast of Salt Lake City's longest running improv troupe, Laughing Stock, and has performed with almost a dozen other Utah groups. Noticing a sense of isolationism in Utah improv groups, Jesse started in 2002 with fellow improviser Ryan Locante to help foster collaboration and communication in the Utah improv community.  Jesse is also a veteran of over 25 national and international improv festivals, traveling mostly as part of the improv duo, JoKyR and Jesster, along with Joseph Kyle Rogan.  Through an experimental workshop he ran in Salt Lake City, he developed The Hook format, which combines slam poetry, music, and long form improvisation.  He has taught and performed this format throughout the country.  He used his experience with The Hook to get involved in traditional slam poetry, and was asked to coach the Salt City Slam national slam poetry team in 2007.

Jesse has performed and taught in Utah and around the continent. Through touring he developed his improv mantra of "Affect; Be Affected."  He enjoys playing with high emotional stakes and is a proponent of putting short form energy into long form shows.  He has been asked to perform at festivals in such shows as Sickest F***ing Stories, Mark Sutton's All Stars, and the White Trash Intellectuals and has repeatedly performed in the special festival shows Hemi and the Buzz and Joe Bill's The Scramble.  Jesse considers Mark Sutton and Joe Bill his mentors, and Todd Stashwick his guru. Jesse is proud and honored to be named an Artistic Associate of the Chicago Improv Festival.