Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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“Coup de Comedy:” The Improv is Coming, The Improv is Coming

UCI’s Improv Revolution put on the Sixth Annual Coup de Comedy at UCI, resulting in side-splitting hilarity. Coup De Comedy involves improv workshops featuring prominent figures in the art community, ranging from the Strong Character Workshop featuring Improv City’s Devin Dugan, to a Clowning workshop by Jetzo. A variety of improv groups brought their unique brands of comedy to UCI over the course of the festival. The Inventive Magic of Eric Buss and Opening Night: The Improvised Musical, were the shows on the Coup’s opening night and several other different performances were put on throughout the week, each bringing an exciting twist on improv. The Coup de Comedy culminated  in a night of bountiful laughter featuring Live Rude Girls, the Revolutionary Comedy award featuring Honoree Adam Conover, and finally the Resistance an improvised action comedy.

Inventive Magic with Eric Buss

Eric Buss is a talented magician whose unique brand of magic makes him both impressive as a magician and comedian. Buss has made several television appearances  on shows like “Late Night Show with David Letterman” and “America’s Got Talent.” His wild inventions bring a sense of wonder to his act. He is known for things such as a self-made bubble wrap bike and a canned snake machine that shoots hundreds of colorful streamers through the air in time to classical music. In his act, Buss does not shy away from tricks that may seem less exciting because he can make a simple trick interesting  through his unique style of comedy that uses the power of words to get laughs rather than just relying on slapstick or typical unfunny magician jokes. Buss starts his show by placing two pieces of string into a bag he has proven to be empty. Then he states that upon doing so the pieces of string will become magically tied. Reaching into the bag, Buss pulls out a full box of Tide brand laundry detergent, then makes a joke about how he can’t do this joke in front of hungry high schoolers. He would do bigger tricks and garner bigger laughs, but his ability to put comedy into simple tricks is what sets Buss apart from other magicians.

Opening Night: The Improvised Musical!

From The Second City in Hollywood to the UC Irvine Campus, “Opening Night: The Improvised Musical!” brought their hilarious brand of comedy to Humanities Hall. Consisting of performers Derek Miller, Matt Young, Michael Pollock, Shulie Cowen, Mack McConville, Norm Thoeming, Hilary Rowe and famed improv musician Laura Hall, the raucously funny show found the ensemble creating an entire musical out of a title suggested by an audience member, “I Love Pretzels.” From that simple phrase the group was able to spin a ridiculous tale of murder, love and pretzel-making in Austria, complete with impressively realized songs about the Matterhorn, American tourists and the terrifying Bavarian Commission, ruthless in their enforcement of traditional pretzel-making practices. Watching the team of performers play off each other, creating running gags and in-jokes on the spot, was truly a sight to behold, equaled by the considerable musical talent they use to construct humorous approximations of Broadway-caliber show tunes. For anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of this talented group of goofballs, “Opening Night: The Musical!” will be featured every Friday night through August at The Second City in Hollywood.

Revolutionary Comedy Awards Honoring Adam Conover

Improv Revolution’s award for revolutionary comedy was given to Adam Conover of College Humor and “Adam Ruins Everything” fame. Adam was presented the award for his success in  moving comedy forward and making the world a better place.Past recipients of the award include Kay Cannon, an Emmy-nominated writer and producer for shows such as “30 Rock” and “New Girl” and Keegan Michael-Key of “Key and Peele” who  received the award in 2015. Adam took part in a conversation and Q&A after being presented the award. Adam described his ascent from early internet stardom to less successful New Yorker doing open mic nights and his journey back to success. Adam also provided a great amount of insight into his particular brand of investigative comedy. “Adam Ruins Everything” is a show on TruTV that disproves commonly held misconceptions to often hilarious results. “People like being told that everything they know is wrong,” Adam remarks on his show’s success. Knowing his crowd was mostly college students, Conover had much to say about making it in the comedy industry but also tried to paint advice that could be applied anywhere, “Just do what works, do what feels right to you in that time. Grad school wasn’t for me, grad school is great, but I had other opportunities to follow.” Adam wasn’t only there to dole out  life advice, as he provided almost constant laughter with his animated responses to questions, relating odd stories about fellow comedians and his start in the industry.

The Coup de Comedy was a smashing success, bringing much needed laughs to campus before the start of finals stress and the end of the quarter. The event demonstrated the talent and openness that there is to be found at UCI  and is another reason to be proud to be an Anteater.