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For more than a decade, the owners of Improv Asylum have supplemented their stage business by teaching the same skills they use in comedy routines in a corporate training program. Now the corporate side of the comedy club has boomed, serving businesses that recognize the value of employees with the skills to go off-script and think on their feet.
The program grew from just eight training sessions when it started in 1999 to 114 last year. Companies from Google Inc. to Liberty Mutual, and institutions like Harvard Business School, paid more than $500,000 for in-house sessions led by the owners.