Comedy group brings new approach of brainstorming to the Neeley School


TCU School of Journalism

The Four Day Weekend has become the Neeley School of Business’ Entrepreneur-In-Residence this year. Three co-founders are working on instruction videos about “Yes, and” business philosophy, which will be used as part of the Neeley school’s curriculum for the upcoming school year.

A Fort Worth-based comedy group is using an improvisational model to improve how students brainstorm at TCU.

The group, Four Day Weekend, is the Neeley School of Business’s newest Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

Four Day Weekend uses the improvisational concept of building ideas by contributing to what others have said by simply saying, “Yes, and…”

The Neeley School announced the partnership with the Four Day Weekend troupe in January.

Frank Ford, one of the co-founders of Four Day Weekend, said he is grateful for the opportunity to be an Entrepreneur-In-Residence. Ford said the Neeley School of Business gave the group the opportunity to share their “out of the box” approach.

“It really speaks to the progressive thinking that makes it such an elite program,” Ford said.

The three co-founders of Four Day Weekend — David Milk, David Ahearn, and Ford — started their business with just $700 in 1997.

Now, the co-founders have their own 212-seat theater, perform every weekend and teach improvisation training classes in downtown Fort Worth.

Four Day Weekend is more than a comedy troupe — they are entrepreneurs that teach what they do. The group invented the “Yes, and” strategy on stage and turned it into their own business model.

“We’re going around Fort Worth and realize that this is a great organization,” said Matthew Smilor, director of the Values and Ventures program.

Smilor said the troupe does a great job of implementing the values the Neeley School represents, teaching students about having an entrepreneurial mindset and adapting to different situations.

That flexibility is a critical skill in the business world, and students can learn to implement that skill through improvisation, Smilor said.

“The improvisation is, you’ll need to be able to listen, you’ll need to be able to understand, you’ll need to be able to roll with the punches,” Smilor said.

The troupe performed as the keynote speakers at the Bolin Innovation Forum on April 9.

International and domestic students participating in TCU’s Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures competition had a chance to learn about the “Yes, and” principle.

“It’s great to get to share with students and faculty here,” Ford said. “So that they can see ‘Oh, you can take a very positive approach to business and to life and be successful too.’”

The group is planning to create humorous instructional videos to teach Neeley business students how to implement the “yes, and” method.

“We have some really fun stuff planned for the upcoming year,” Ford said. “Our presentations will be motivational, inspirational and interactive.”

Ford said he also hopes the group will inspire students to approach all aspects of life with positivity.

“A person can be ethical and successful in business,” Ford said. “We’ve built a very successful business over the years by embracing the “Yes, and” philosophy, both onstage and off.”