Mike Nichols’s improv comedy partner in the 1950s: 2 wds.

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Possible Answers: Elaine May.

Last seen on: Daily Celebrity Crossword – 9/5/18 Wayback Wednesday


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Random information on the term “Elaine May”:

Nichols and May was a Grammy Award-winning American improvisational comedy duo act developed by Mike Nichols (1931-2014) and Elaine May (born 1932). Their three comedy albums reached the Billboard Top 40 between 1959 and 1962.[1] Many comedians have cited them as key influences in modern comedy. “You can’t get any better than they were,” TV host Dick Cavett remembered, “They were one of the comic meteors in the sky.”[2]

Nichols and May met as students at the University of Chicago in the early 1950s.[3] They began their career together at The Compass Players, a predecessor to Chicago’s Second City which included Paul Sills, Del Close, and Nancy Ponder.[4] Nichols dropped out of college in 1953 and moved to New York in 1954 to study acting with Lee Strasberg.[5] May remained in Chicago at Compass, and Nichols returned in 1955. For a short time they worked as a trio with Shelley Berman, but Nichols felt a duo worked better for their style. “Somehow we could talk in shorthand,” Nichols remembered. “If one of us said, or someone in the audience said, ‘Two teenagers in the backseat of a car,’ we had the scene. We didn’t have to know more than that sentence.”[6]

Elaine May on Wikipedia