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Game Design and Development
Port Washington NY

Ho ho ho? More like Ha ha ha.

(December 17 2010) Written by: Kevin Granger in Clubs, Student Life

RIT sure is funny. I don’t mean funny-looking (who doesn’t love the copious amounts of brick?), I mean humorously! Not too long ago, I attended a show hosted by The Improvessionals (an RIT Improv Comedy group), called “Please Pass the Improv.” The next night, CAB (the College Activities Board) held in the SAU (Student Alumni Union) cafeteria. Prizes were to be awarded!

That weekend kicked off with... relaxation. I’d been working all week long, it was time to take a well-deserved break. After getting some grub at Gracie’s, me and one of my roommates walked to the academic side of campus, to the basement of the Liberal Arts Building. (The Liberal Arts Building is right across from the Wallace Center, home to the Wallace Library and Java Wally’s).

(If you don’t know what Improv comedy is, try watching some clips of the famous Whose Line Is It Anyway?)

As soon as you walk in, you’re asked to write down a word or phrase on a notecard and put it in a box. Why? We’ll get to that in a bit. Once everyone had been seated, the show began with the “expanding and contracting scene” game. In this game, two actors are on stage, acting out a scene (although the term “actor” isn’t exactly fitting, as they’re doing things differently). At any time, a bystanding actor can clap their hands, pausing the scene, and insert themselves in the scene. When the scene restarts, the subject must change. It goes on until everyone is on stage, and after a while, the opposite starts to happen. Actors sit down, one by one, and the scene slowly contracts.

The Improvessionals, standing in a semi-circle, acting.
The Improvessionals act out a scene. Photo Credit: Kevin Granger

Games went on the whole night, with the MC asking for audience suggestions each round. Every round was guaranteed to have at least one person say “Minecraft!” or “Tardis!” Those suggestions were not used. However, suggestions like “a raccoon giving you a sausage for dinner” were used. My favorite games from the night included one where the selected “president” must leave the room, while the audience comes up with an imaginary issue that the country -- nay, the world faces, while “reporters” (the other actors) must ask them questions. They need to figure out what the issue is through these questions, while answering similarly. There’s also an all-time favorite, of audience members and actors alike, called Uber-prop. In this, actors must act out a scene suggested by the audience. The catch is, the only prop they have to use... is another actor. Oh, the abuse!

What really made the show, though, was Superhero Eulogy. In this, 3 actors are speaking at the funeral of a “beloved” superhero. This time, it was “interrupting man,” hence the quotes on the “beloved.” During their speech, actors must grab the notecards that audience members had written on and say what was written, no matter how non-sequitur it seems. It’s their job to make it work! I must say, I love the Improv shows that go on here at RIT, and they’re at a price that can’t be beat.

The next night, I was anxious for even more laughs, and I was not disappointed. I went to the CAB Comedy Show because a friend of mine was in it. For days before the event, he was worried because only 2 comics had signed up, him included. Luckily, when I got there, the roster was packed! It seems that the RIT Comedy Troupe had stepped in and asked some members to participate. According to comedian Joe Pilato, “It was good. There was a good turnout... Comedy troupe repped hard.”

The comics stand on the stage, while the 3 who won are in front.
The 3 victorious comics, as voted by the judges panel (and the audience's applause), shake hands. Photo Credit: Kevin Granger

Each comic was allotted about 10 minutes to go through their routine (although several did go over). Topics ranged from complaining about the phrase “much further ado,” to the story of a man who apparently got in a fight with a bear. (No, not this one.)

The show ended quite late, but hey, it was Saturday night. There were even more good times to be had.

More recently, I attended a comedy show put on CAB in Ingle Auditorium. That night, Ryan Reiss was up! I had heard about it from the various posters up around campus. As I arrived, the ticket sellers were giving out free Reeses’. That just so happens to be my favorite candy, so I was in luck! I think by the end of the night, I had about 10 in my backpack.

In case it isn’t apparent to you by now, if you’re a fan of comedy, RIT will keep you satisfied (did I forget to mention RIT Rings, the weekly, you-send-it-in-we-publish-it part of The Reporter? Funny as well.) Coming up next, Aziz Ansari will be coming here February 4th, as part of FreezeFest. Speaking of which, I still need to get my tickets...

Kevin Granger is a first-year physics major, who thinks he’s funnier than he really is. You should follow him on twitter here.

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