Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

First Person: The Connection Between Improv Comedy And Therapy

Zach Stones, associate director of the National Comedy Theatre on stage next ...

Credit: National Comedy Theatre

Above: Zach Stones, associate director of the National Comedy Theatre on stage next to fellow actor Alison Ramsay, 2018.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

If you’ve been to a show at the National Comedy Theatre in Mission Hills you may know the name Zach Stones. He's been performing and teaching improv at the theatre since 2003.

What you may not know about him is that he spends most of his days thinking about ways to support kids and families in the foster care and juvenile justice systems through his work at the nonprofit San Diego Center for Children.

As part of our First Person series, Stones opens up about the ways his work on stage relates to his day job.

“Improvisation and therapy have always been closely linked for me. I think the improv spirit of ‘yes – and’ and how much practice improvisation is in connecting with other people, is also the main thing we all need therapeutically to grow,” Stones said. “The key to most people's situation is being able to feel comfortable sharing who you really are and… the rules of improvisation carry over to that very well.”

Stones, who majored in theatre and psychology, said he got the improv bug when he was in college. Along with being a clinical supervisor at the San Diego Center for Children, Stones serves as the associate director of the National Comedy Theatre.

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.