The South's Premier Comedy Theater and Comedy School

DSI Comedy boasts a local company of 100 active performers in Chapel Hill, NC and a national network of comedians. A dedicated member of its community, DSI supports the greater Triangle region with fundraisers, outreach, and educational opportunities for all ages and abilities. It is the home of YesAndLife, a Corporate Training, Leadership Development and Team Building organization, and the DSI Comedy School, which offers new classes to the public every month, classes in the art of comedy.

Zach Ward, Owner, Executive Producer and Artistic Director of DSI, is a Chapel Hill native and proud Carolina grad. Zach also serves as Executive Producer and Artistic Director for the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, which he founded in 2001. In the world of comedy, Zach has been employed by ImprovBoston (Managing Director), the Chicago Improv Festival (Associate Producer), Toronto Improv Festival (Producer), Richmond Improv Festival (Producer) and ComedySportz Chicago (Education Director). Zach has received critical acclaim from the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Tribune for his performance with DUAL EXHAUST (Top 10 "Most Influential Comedy Duos of the Past Decade"). Zach has studied the art of improvisation with Todd Stashwick (Burn Mahattan), Mick Napier and Susan Messing (Annoyance), Bob Dassie, Craig Cackowski and TJ Jagodowski (ImprovOlympic), Matt Besser (Upright Citizens Brigade), Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live), Michael Gelman (Second City), and with every student he teaches. He can currently be seen performing weekly with MISTER DIPLOMAT and on the road at theaters around the country.

Emily Holland, Associate Producer, has been performing and directing comedy for over 10 years. She currently performs with Versus (improv plus hip hop!), Wildcard, The Thrill & DSI's Touring Company. Emily has improvised comedy around the globe, from Boston to Los Angeles to Japan. She has studied under Joe Bill (Annoyance), Jill Bernard (HUGE Theater), Craig Cackowski (iOWest), Upright Citizens Brigade LA, Zach Ward (DSI), Mike Descoteaux (Second City, ImprovBoston) and Matt Besser (UCB). She has been a producer for the Boston Comedy Arts Festival (ImprovBoston), LA Scripted Comedy Festival, Funny Women Festival LA, NC Comedy Arts Festival and co-created the College Comedy Festival at ImprovBoston.

Andrew Aghapour, School Director, has been a comedian and comedy fan for life, and has been an active DSI company member since 2013, performing weekly with MISTER DIPLOMAT. Andrew is a Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC, where he teaches classes that explore how religion intersects with science, pop culture, secularism, and science fiction. He is thrilled to be a part of the DSI community and loves to teach the art and science of comedy.

View Larger Map