Interview with Improv

Last Thursday, Colby Improv kicked off their semester with a short-form show in the Bobby Silberman Lounge (LoPo). Their short-form shows include a series of games in quick succession that feature three or four members of the 11 person team. The performers took suggestions to create improvised scenes. These included scenes which only allowed the phrases “how many is there?” and “turn around slowly,” another scene that took place in a laboratory with sound effects spoken off-stage, and a meeting with a school principal admonishing students for peeing in the teachers’ coffee, cutting off girls’ braids, and pretending to be a lunch lady. The show was just as hilarious, unpredictable, and engaging as usual.

The performances attract a steadily increasing fan base, filling LoPo to the brim and spilling into the Pub. The show is purely fun, and the members never fail to fill the room with infectious enthusiasm.

The Echo conducted interviews with some of Improv’s senior members, Teddy Simpson, Wilder Davies, and Ben Semmes.

The Echo: What’s your favorite memory from Improv?

TS: I loved the first time we did a long form show, I was hooked after that. I remember the feeling more than the particulars of what we said or did.

WD: We once did a retreat to Ben’s two hundred-year-old house in rural New Hampshire and pretended to be a nineteenth century family and took a bunch of weird black and white photos. Good mems.

BS: Sophomore year, entering Powder and Whigs Redeye Film Festival… [we stayed] up till the sunrise editing Improv’s winning submission: Mission Monster.

Echo: What do you think about during shows?

WD: Usually I am pretty nervous about whether or not people will be able to hear me. Everybody in the group calls me out on being a “mumbler” so I try to be as loud as possible during shows.

BS: We often joke that we “blackout” during performances as we struggle to remember anything said seconds after coming offstage. But it’s true. I really don’t know what goes through my mind during performances. Probably “Why are they laughing at that?” [or] “Do they really think that’s funny?”

TS: I’m very focused in on the people I’m working with during shows. If you’re up on stage with only one other person, you’ve got to be dialed into each other for it to work at all: listening and watching their movements, it’s critical for you to be on the same page. But yeah, mostly I don’t remember specifics of what we do in shows.

Echo: What’s your favorite part about Improv?

BS: I love that the group gets so much support from its fans. Doing comedy, we allow ourselves to be pretty vulnerable in public. In the real world, amateur comedians rarely face the kind of generosity and enthusiasm that we receive from a Colby crowd.

TS: The best part about the group is that it’s a pretty eclectic group of kids and we get to hang out all the time! Most of our favorite part of Improv is getting dinner right after practice.

WD: My favorite thing about Improv is how well we get to know one another as time goes on.   We are constantly up in each other’s business, and always prying into each others lives. It is pretty difficult to keep up walls in the club.  One way or another people will get around them. We also are all well aware of each other’s flaws and shortcomings.

Echo: How are the new recruits?

TS: We are so excited about the new guys! They did such a great job in the first show.

WD: They got a lot of chutzpah and are really down for trying new and challenging things.

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