Wet The Hippo makes shows and The Idiot Workshop leads classes. Together we offer a place and infrastructure to support a widening community of performers and makers who value and encourage a shared search for the ridiculous and sublime. We promote a loose collection of autonomous shows, experimental in form and content.

Started in 2013, Wet The Hippo was an ensemble show live-directed by John Gilkey that grew out of classes John taught in The Idiot Workshop. After inviting a few students to stay late after class, this ensemble developed material which soon needed an audience. A violist was added, Michael Lieberman, who John had met while both performed in the Cirque du Soleil show Iris. After a few shows around Los Angeles, Wet The Hippo did a run at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, where the show was nominated for best comedy, and during which the ensemble made a public performance in which they read consecutively the entirety of Moby-Dick on the street, taking breaks only to perform their show. At the end of that summer Wet The Hippo went on tour to Northern California.

Wet The Hippo continued to perform around Los Angeles with further tours to Las Vegas and around California and gently disbanded in the fall of 2014 when two of its original members were cast to play the host of the Spiegelworld production Absinthe, one going to perform in the Las Vegas show at Caesar’s Palace and the other going to tour the show through Australia.

Since then, Wet The Hippo expanded as an umbrella term for a series of shows under the direction of John Gilkey and a number of variety shows offering opportunity for others to perform in the particular style that is rooted and sought in The Idiot Workshop.

Having produced several stand-alone shows, The Simple Simples and The Invention of Language, Wet The Hippo has for several years produced The Murge, a roughly improvised and live-directed show grounded in its ensemble.



 Idiot, shows, community, production, live performance, artistic collaboration, live improv, live dance, live music, videos, los angeles, cirque, circus, dance theater, visual arts,

john gilkey   -   CREATIVE director

In 2012 I was let go from a Cirque Du Soleil show that was playing at the Dolby Theater. I had moved to LA for what was supposed to be a ten-year run but it only lasted a year. LA though was treatin’ me right - so I stuck around. I thought it would be fun to take what I had learned from my thirty-odd years in the Circus and Variety world and share it with the LA improv and acting community. I called it The Idiot Workshop. Those first classes unexpectedly took off, attracting amazing performers, and together we developed our own take on live performance.

We are just now embarking on a new phase where we plan to bring in more musicians, dancers and visual artists. We wish to continue to grow the community, bringing people together who would not ordinarily find each other and in that chaotic mayonnaise, create some beautiful moments.


tim reid   -   managing director

Tim Reid is a writer and performer based in Los Angeles. He has worked as a high school math teacher, a union representative, a book sales representative, a database developer, and sold genuine and OEM car parts to wholesale distributors in Asia.

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