Rafe Chase

Company Member since 1987
Coach since 1987

The SF Weekly describes Rafe Chase as one of “the most celebrated figures on the San Francisco improv scene today.” In 1978, after only three months of classes, Rafe began improvising professionally with Flash Family at the Old Spaghetti Factory in North Beach. He left three years later to create the group Riot Squad, which performed both improv and sketch comedy. He served as both the director and head writer.

Joining BATS Improv in 1987 opened up a world of new colleagues and new possibilities. In 1988, while continuing to work with BATS, Rafe became a member of Pulp Playhouse, which performed at the Eureka Theater doing improvised stories in the style of the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s.

The next year he formed Improv Theater, which performed for several seasons at the ACT Playroom. With Rafe as the artistic director, the group would pioneer the exploration and performance of longform improv. He was a member of True Fiction Magazine, from its inception in 1994 to 1999, and is still a frequent guest with the group. In 2007, he teamed with Gerri Lawlor for a series of two-person improv shows.

Currently, in addition to the BATS Improv Main Stage Company, Rafe is a member of the critically acclaimed three-man group, 3 FOR ALL. The trio (Chase, Stephen Kearin, and Tim Orr) have wowed audiences in cities across the US and Europe.

In his exploration of longform improv, Rafe has been a pioneer of genre-driven longform and has created several formats, including Split Decision and Double Feature™, which are performed regularly at BATS Improv.

Rafe has taught improv for various institutions in addition to BATS, including Stanford University and ACT, as well as private classes. He has also worked extensively with young people and taught improv at Berkwood Hedge Elementary in Berkeley for three years, to students from 5 to 11.

Rafe’s work as a writer includes sketch comedy, lyrics, articles on show business history, and the recently self-published comic poem, “Alice Is . . . ” He also wrote the one-person show Mysterious Ways for Regina Saisi, his colleague since 1979.