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Gag Reflex

The Annoyance Theatre
Chelsea Matkins
Amita Rao
Technical Direction
Sam MacNerland


Chelsea Matkins
Amita Rao
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For 35+ years, The Annoyance Theatre has created some of Chicago’s finest comedy. Artists at The Annoyance are encouraged to explore and develop their unique voice. Through improvisation and writing, we work collaboratively to create new and original plays, musicals, sketch-comedies, solo shows, and more in a vibrant, uncensored atmosphere.




Chicago Reader's Best of Chicago 2022

Best of Chicago 2022 - Chicago Reader




Chelsea Matkins

Amita Rao

Max Kantor

Rogue Schmidt

Mitch Winkler


Creative Team

Mick Napier

Founder, Artistic Director
Jennifer Estlin

Executive Producer
Sam Macnerland

Technical Director
Joe McDaniel

Managing Producer

Director's Notes

The girls of Gag Reflex are proud to present an hour of original sketch & improv to you, the people of Chicago. A full-hour immersive experience, with all technical elements designed by Sam Macnerland.

The girls of Gag Reflex are bad at lots of things — namely, doing their fair share of dishes and regularly washing their clothes — but they are also good at a lot of things — namely, making fun, stupid shows for people to get drunk and piss themselves laughing at. We all have our purpose! Or maybe we don’t, maybe we’re all just around. Either way, forget about all that — we hope you piss yourselves (laughing) during the show as much as WE pissed ourselves trying to come up with this convoluted Director’s Note.

Meet the Company

Chelsea Matkins (Writer/Director/Performer)
Chelsea Matkins is a comedian and actress, signed with G&J Talent. She performs frequently at the Annoyance theatre in shows such as Burlesque is More and House Party. She is the co-producer of Holy Fuck Comedy Hour and is most known for her sketch/improv duo Gag Reflex, which has performed frequently around the city of Chicago and up and down the east coast! She has gained notoriety online for her viral TikTok page @chelseamatkins you can follow her at @the_chel_sea on Instagram and Gag Reflex at @gagreflex_chicago
Amita Rao (Writer/Director/Performer)
Amita Rao is a comedian and actress, signed with G&J Talent. She has toured with Second City, and was a 2022 NBC Bob Curry Fellow. She is also a member of many Annoyance Theatre shows, such as Hitch Cocktails and Holy F*** Comedy Hour. However, she is most known for her sketch/improv duo Gag Reflex, which has performed frequently around the city and gained notoriety on TikTok (@gagreflex_comedy). Follow her at @amitawow or @gagreflex_chicago on Instagram!
Max Kantor (Actor)
Max Kantor is originally from Atlanta, GA and moved to Chicago to pursue acting, improv, and sketch comedy. A student and graduate of both the Annoyance Class program and Second City Conservatory, he has performed all over Chicago with his improv group You Seem Like and his duo M&M, as well as at the Annoyance with house team Dr. Mister. Max’s favorite food is the sandwich.
Rogue Schmidt (Actor)
Rogue Schmidt (she/her) is an actor, improviser, and sketch comedian. You can find her on Burlesque is More and Modern Crimes at The Annoyance Theater (@burlesqueismore & @moderncrimesimprov), co-hosting Turbo Town, an absurdist, sketch show at The Lincoln Lodge (@turbotownshow). Rogue also unleashes her solo characters to any fool that gives her a damn microphone. Find her on Instagram and TikTok (@rogueschmidt).
Mitch Winkler (Actor)
Mitch Winkler is a Chicago based comedian from Charleston, SC with a degree in Theatre Arts from Baylor University. You can catch him running around the city doing standup, improv, and cube based comedy.
Mick Napier (Founder, Artistic Director)
Mick is the founder and Artistic Director of The Annoyance and has directed over 20 of its original productions. Notable ones include Coed Prison Sluts, Splatter Theater, The Tragedy of Balloon Boy, That Darn Antichrist, and more recently The Boy Scout Musical and Swear Jar. At Second City, he was a Director Creative Consultant and directed many of the mainstage productions - notably, Jeff Award-winning Paradigm Lost and Red Scare. As an Actor, Mick has appeared in the films Ice Harvest and Let’s Go to Prison, Watch, and Talent, and on television in The Bear, as a talent judge in the Canadian reality show Second to None, and Shrink. The documentary Second to None chronicles Mick’s process of directing a show for The Second City. Mick’s books, “Improvise. Scene from the Inside Out” and "Behind the Scenes: Improvising Longform," are widely regarded as seminal works on the subject of Improvisation. ​
Jennifer Estlin (Executive Producer)
Jennifer is the owner/Executive Producer of The Annoyance as well as being and actress and writer. She toured for two years with Second City’s National Touring company and was a company member. She has worked in regional theatres around the country, Off-Broadway theatre, film, and television. Her tv/film roles include work in Proven Innocent, Law and Order, Chicago PD, Empire, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Exit 57, Volcano, The Eyes, and the award-winning short films A Million Miles Away,(Sundance) and The Cure (Slamdance).
Sam Macnerland (Technical Director)
Sam is a Chicago based lighting designer. He is currently the Technical Director of The Annoyance Theatre. He has stage managed for The Second City, and worked internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in 2019. A few notable shows include Steamworks: The Musical, Dysfunctional Family Affair, Queer Eye: The Musical Parody, and Dave Maher Coma Show.