“Taking a risk — maybe a tiny one, maybe a giant leap, into the unknown.”

Spend the next 14 minutes with Susan Messing, who tells an audience last month at a TedX UChicago event that when she wanted to grow up, she dreamed of being goalie for the New York Rangers, a swimming coach, or perhaps an actor. Instead, Messing became an improviser. A damned great improviser.

A founding member of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, Messing graduated from Northwestern University in 1986 and has studied and taught at both the iO Theater and the Second City Mainstage, as well as teaching now at DePaul University, the School of Steppenwolf and the University of Chicago. Her credits include performances at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, NBC’s Late Fridays, and titles such as “Best Improviser” and “Funniest Woman in Chicago” by local publications.

How did she keep going all of these years? “I give and I take my own hard notes.” But let her tell her story. Roll it!