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The Improv Show That Dramatically Changed Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Life

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Northwestern’s Waa-Mu show bills itself as the university’s “longest running theatrical tradition.” It was formed in 1929, when the school’s Women’s Athletic Association and Men’s Union joined to form a theatrical performing group, taking its name from the initials of the two originating groups.  

The group is entirely student-run, and Dominic Missimi, who served as Waa-Mu’s director from 1994 until 2013, said in a video tour that after its founding, the group rapidly evolved from a Broadway-style company to its current form of improvisational sketch comedy. “That’s really the kind of revue that I inherited when I started in 1994,” Missimi said.” I think Waa-Mu is an incredible educational experience for the students.” 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus left Northwestern after her junior year to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” She returned to Evanston in 2007 to deliver the University’s commencement address, even fitting in a joke at her own expense. 

“You have managed to do something today spectacular, something important, something I never did after years of trying,” Louis-Dreyfus said in her speech. “You have graduated from Northwestern University.”