MPR: Brave New Workshop's Dudley Riggs remembers when improv was considered 'shameful'

By Tom Weber

Flying Funny (Dudley Riggs)Most people run away from home to join the circus.

Not Dudley Riggs. For him, the circus was home.

Born to aerial flyers (Riggs & Riggs), he was put to work as soon as he could sit up. He starred as the tiny "Polar Prince from the North Pole" in the Russell Brothers Circus, pulled in a wagon first by a miniature horse and then later a polar bear.

By age 5, he had graduated to a vaudeville act. By 10, he was flying on the trapeze with his parents.

After he left the circus, he became a pioneer in a form of comedy called improv, founding what would become the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis.

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