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Improv comedy student becomes the teacher

Mina Bond ’19, a women’s, gender and sexuality studies major at Brandeis, has loved performing since middle school. Now, she will be teaching an improv course with ImprovBoston, a not-for-profit theater that offers classes in stand-up, sketch, improv and musical improv while also offering shows Wednesday through Sunday nights.

Bond, one of the co-presidents of the Brandeis StandUp Comedy Club, has had an abundant amount of experience in theater and comedy. At Brandeis, she was in the improv group called Bad Grammer. Outside of the university, she participates in multiple improv teams with ImprovBoston. Her passion for improv began in high school.

“I was so much better at that than memorizing lines, and I liked the fact that I could play any character that I wanted to… not even characters that were written; I didn’t have to play to any certain type… and I love that,” said Bond.

After joining an improv group in high school, Bond found ImprovBoston the summer after her senior year and took an internship for their comedy summer program for children. The internship allowed her to take their Improv 101 class for free. After that, Bond took the remaining improv courses available and then began to audition for teams.

“I fell in love with the community, I wanted to do more,” said Bond. She then applied and received a scholarship for an improv program at the iO Theater in Chicago. For her second semester of junior year, Bond did the Comedy Studies program at The Second City for her “abroad” experience where she took courses on how to be a professional comedian, writing, history and acting, while also working on stand-up, sketch, improv and clowning before creating a performance at the end of the semester.

Bond is currently involved with many different improv groups with ImprovBoston: the resident case Harold Night Top Shelf team Neighbors and All-Access, and also the house sketch team Terrible People, and indie teams Diana! and Dangerfield.

Her journey towards teaching began last summer when Bond received a World of Work (WOW) Fellowship from Brandeis to intern as a comedy school intern at ImprovBoston, where she made connections and shadowed an Improv 101 course in order to be able to teach herself.

Bond’s Improv 101 course begins on Oct. 19 and ends Dec. 14 with the student showcase on Dec. 15. She expressed how exciting it is to be the first person that people meet “when they start doing improv, it’s exciting to be an ambassador and welcome [people] to the space which has been such an important community to me.”

“I feel very lucky to have every opportunity that I have had in comedy, all of them are making me a better comedian and honestly a better person. I feel like I’m a more empathetic and understanding and compassionate person the more improv [I do] and the more I think in this mindset,” said Bond of the way improv has affected her.

She spoke about someday wanting to teach improv in addition to performing, in order to be able to make a living and sustain the lifestyle she wants with comedy and sharing it with others. “What I’ve learned is that usually, unless you’re a movie star you’re not just performing, it’s teaching and a busy lifestyle but its kept interesting by all the variety of things that you can do,” said Bond.

A key piece of advice from a previous teacher of Bond’s is to read the news and books in order to have a wide scope of knowledge that can be called upon for any improv scene or sketch. Bond’s advice to those interested in comedy and improv is, “If you love it, even though it is a lot of work it won’t feel like it, it will be exciting.” And also to remember to spend as much time doing it as you want to and are able to, in order to join a welcoming and hilarious community.

If you are interested in learning more about ImprovBoston or Bond’s class, please visit Improvboston.com. Classes are open to anyone 17 and up, and there are scholarships and internships available for those in need of financial aid.

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