MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twin Cities theater community is remembering a founding father of improvisational comedy.

Dudley Riggs grew up in the circus, and founded the Instant Theatre Company in New York City the 1950s, which later became the Brave New Workshop when he brought it to Minneapolis in 1958.

Tuesday night, the venue’s marquee in downtown Minneapolis reads “We Love You Forever.” Jenni Lilledahl and John Sweeney took over the theater from Riggs in 1997.

(credit: CBS)

“Even though Dudley isn’t with us anymore, the thousands of people who have learned their skills because of Dudley and this theater are still out there making people laugh, talking about what’s important. And the army that we like to call ‘Riggsians’ will continue well beyond Dudley’s body,” Sweeney said

The theater grew into the nation’s oldest sketch-comedy troupe, which helped launch the comedy careers of former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Louie Anderson, “The Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead and screenwriter Pat Proft.

Dudley Riggs was 88 years old. A memorial service is planned for later this year.

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