Comedy Club

IS THIS HOW YOU GET YOUR NAILS DONE? Kate Ernewein, Mark Heeney and their fellow scene partners improvise their version of a nail salon. 

Three guests arrive at a party.
 
One claps when she blinks, another shortens his arms each time he asks a question and the third probably should have stayed home because he seems to be physically allergic to parties, sneezing throughout the sketch. Saturday night's scene served as the opening act to the Western Comedy Club’s first independent improv show of the year.
 
The first 'game' of the night, called "party quirks," prompted audience members to come up with an idiosyncrasy for each one of the guests attending the party. The three-actor troupe spent the next few minutes clapping, sneezing and laughing while the fourth tried to guess what was happening.

“You're very percussive,” the host commented to an applauding party guest while trying to guess what her quirk is.

As more viewers trickled into the Beaver Dam, Kate Ernewein, the emcee for the night and third-year HBA student, welcomed suggestions as to what the comedians should do next.

One scene required the suggestion of a popular movie. The audience responded with Titanic, Spiderman and Gone with the Wind. Eventually, The Hunger Games won out, prompting the actors to run through the entirety of the movie in under a minute, then again in 30 seconds and finally, a marvel of under 15 seconds.

Although the structure of the 'games' are planned, each one is like a mad lib where audience members get to fill in the theme, location or even the gestures that the actors have to work with. Neither the audience nor the actors knew how the scene would unfold, and it’s this uncertainty that makes improv hilarious for everyone — both on stage and off.

“When something cool happens, it’s a whole lot cooler since nobody planned it,” Ernewein said, adding that this is her sixth year doing improv and sketch comedy.

As the night continued, the Beaver Dam filled with laughter as the audience witnessed a marital squabble between Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a discussion of an assassination plot between a skydiving coach and his client (while balancing solo cups and switching roles) and a conversation between a stressed manager and an employee at Disney World about who Sebastian the crab is. 

The night was the result of weeks of preparation from members of the Comedy Club. However, the idea of preparing for an improvised event often stirs some curiosity from people.

“It’s not that we’re rehearsing scenes because that means there’s some sort of script. Rather, we practice activities that exercise skills such as making and accepting offers in a scene or reducing hesitancy when jumping into a scene,” explained Ernewein.

Ernewein, who also serves as the Comedy Club vice-president of events, welcomes interested students to the club. She says a lot of students are hesitant to go because they simply believe they aren't funny, but Ernewein goes against this notion. The club welcomes all senses of humour and encourages members to support each other as as they try new things.

“You don’t go to Comedy Club to already be funny or be good at different forms of comedy. It’s where you test things out — you grow, you expand, you become a better person,” said Ernewein.

Improv is a group effort between the individuals on stage and the actors and the audience. Saturday night was a perfect display of how funny that group effort can turn out.

Check out The Western Comedy Club’s Facebook page for more details.

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