The Undercover Profiler: Improv Revolution

Last Friday at 8 p.m., I found my seat to the free Improv Revolution show as they played the theme songs to Full House, Boy Meets World and Happy Days. There were about 15 people inside the Little Theatre when I sat down, but by the time the improvisation began there were more than 100. For the next two hours the room was filled with nonstop laughter.

The night began when eight individuals wearing Improv Revolution shirts rushed the stage making loud, random noises. After taking suggestions from the audience the troupe began their improvisational exercises. The first scenario was a town hall meeting addressing the excess of pigeons in a town. This developed into a hilarious scene, as characters such as a homeless man denouncing the pigeons because they ate his food, and a pigeon hunter came to fruition. Another scenario I really enjoyed was the one where two clashing roommates converse with their resident advisor. What made this scene so interesting was that the four characters involved in it were portrayed by only two individuals; it was in one word, side-splitting.

The best part of the evening was the long-form improvisation with which Improv Revolution closed off the night. This was similar to all the other exercises throughout the night, except much longer. The situation was four couples on a honeymoon inside a four-story Candyland hotel. As the scenario progressed, more board games like Hungry Hungry Hippos, Sorry and even Monopoly made their way into the scene. The couples found themselves at increasing odds with each other which eventually resulted in the murder of Willy Wonka and, in my opinion, the best line of the night: “Take this Wonka bitch!” It was a worthy end to an extremely entertaining night for which I would have definitely received my money’s worth, had I paid any money at all.

Improv Revolution was founded two years ago by Joel Veenstra, a lecturer and Associate Head of Stage Management for the Drama Department here at UCI. Since then, the club has been hosting about five shows per quarter. For those of you looking to become involved in the club, you can either audition for Improv Revolution, or you can join Workshop Revolution, an extension of the club to which everyone is welcome without having to audition.

“Improv is awesome because number one, it’s really fun, but also, improv develops a lot of really important soft skills,” Andra Whipple, President of Improv Revolution, said.

“A hard skill being like, technical stuff, like ‘I can do a braid,’ or something like that … soft skills being like talking to people or leadership … but on top of that, I have just always had a blast doing it.

Whipple hopes people recognize that all interested students are welcome to participate.

“I want people to know that they should come and try because it sounds terrifying, but it is so fun and it’s not scary. We work really hard to create an environment that is as welcoming and un-scary as humanly possible … and we know what it’s like to be terrified because we started somewhere too. When I first started I was terrified, and I don’t want people to be terrified, I want people to have fun,” she said.

“And in improv, there’s no wrong answer, that’s the best part of improv.”

What amazed me the most about the show was that the audience was just as involved as the performers. Everybody was clapping, yelling and shouting throughout the entirety of the night. There seemed to be an unspoken agreement by everyone in attendance that we were there to only laugh, enjoy and support. There’s something about laughter that brings people together, and by the end of the night I felt connected to all the strangers around me. It sounds weird, but it’s true. For a brief two hours on Friday night we stepped away from our computer screens, our phones and the television to experience true, raw human interaction; and it was incredible.

If you want to experience the greatness I bore witness to, Improv Revolution’s final show of the quarter is this Friday at 8 p.m. in the Humanities Hall Little Theatre. The humor and enthusiasm of this club is sure to be a great relief to the stress of finals, and the best part is it’s free. Do yourself a favor, go to this show, laugh and make your night a little bit better.

It has been my pleasure to interview and write about a handful of exciting on-campus clubs this quarter. This article marks the final installment of this, my beloved column, “The Undercover Profiler,” and if you have been reading, I want to thank you. I urge you to please get involved in some way on campus. Go out there, do something, become someone, enjoy, appreciate and take advantage of the beautiful school and organizations that we have the privilege to call our own. You may not be able to envision your lives with these clubs as a part of them, but trust me, after you involve yourself you will be incapable of imagining your lives without them. I leave you now, my fellow Anteaters, in writing, but not in spirit. Live the life you want to live, value your opportunities and always be the best Anteaters you can be. I love you. ZOT!