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Improv Showcase displays campus talent for midyears

By Brianna Cummings

Section: Arts, Etc.

January 27, 2017

With the recent political events casting a gray cloud over many, it is nice to have something to put a smile on our faces. On Saturday, Jan. 21, while most were marching in protest of the new presidency, Brandeis’ improv comedy circle provided a more upbeat atmosphere.

TBA’s co-presidents, Monica Chen ’19 and Conor Amrien ’19, decided to put together an improv showcase for midyears with the help of the rest of the campus comedy community: Crowd Control, Bad Grammer and False Advertising. There were so many students in Ridgewood Commons that some had to sit on the floor or stand. The event was designed as a fun experience for midyears and as a way to make students aware that TBA and Crowd Control were holding auditions Monday night.

“We hosted the event to show our peers who the improv groups on campus are and give them an idea of each of our styles,” said Chen. “Crowd Control and TBA held auditions this semester, so we were hoping this would inspire especially midyears to try improv.”

False Advertising performed a skit called “Clueless Star.” The skit was about a hand model who had to work with a famous, controversial monkey named Chad. Someone was eventually hired to kill Chad, only for the audience to find out that there were actually two monkeys named Chad, with the slain one being brought back to life. The skit also included other comical characters that got caught up in the commotion. As always, False Advertising distinguished themselves with a musical skit accompanied by the keyboard.

“There’s something about improv that is impossible to repeat, so all the jokes are on their own an experience,” said Boris’ Kitchen member Jason Kwan ’20, who was in the audience. “I particularly enjoyed False Advertising’s musical improv, as their stories get absolutely hilarious as they go on.”

Bad Grammer took the stage next. They interacted with the audience to enhance their skits. The first sketch was called a common game called “Half-life,” in which Bad Grammer would recreate a one-minute skit in 30 and then 15 seconds. Whenever a new impossible time frame was announced the audience shouted, “It can’t be done.” The first skit had to relate to the word “love.” Bad Grammar then came up with a skit about a father and son digging in a garden and the son eating a radioactive rock and being poisoned.

“I believe that improv comedy is a fantastic form of comedy. Coming up with such great lines on the spot is something that I find truly remarkable. Please give a shout out to Bad Grammer, who deserve to be recognized as ‘The Spiciest Bois on campus,’” Kwan said, referencing a name that was given to Bad Grammer and joked about within the show.

Bad Grammer’s next skit was the classic, “Good Bad Evil Robot.” Four members would stand in front of the audience, ask for a scenario and four different characters would respond to the problem. Among the personalities displayed were a ditzy girl, a Russian, a creeper and a practical robot. The scenarios that were acted out carried storylines that ranged from, “My hand has a mind of its own,” to “My mom is my uncle.” The audience was enthusiastic about calling out odd situations for the group to perform.

For the next skit, the audience was asked to call out three genres: film noir, horror and glam. Then, the audience was instructed to say a random word. The word “anime” was chosen. Three members acted a guy and his friend watching anime on Crunchyroll, a website with anime shows, while the guy’s mom fed them crunchy rolls. They performed this in the style of film noir, horror and glam.

At the end, all four improv troupes came out and played the chair game, where a word was called out and they all had to say something witty regarding the word, following the scheme of “I like my [man/woman] like I like my [word].” The audience ultimately enjoyed themselves and were pleased with the wide variety of high quality performances.

“My favorite part of the evening was being able to see all four improv groups in one night and really appreciate the unique talents of each group,” said Chen.

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