MSU students gather to celebrate improv comedy

“The improv club is the safest thing you can do on campus while having fun,” Alexander Tita, president of the Something Funny! Improv club, said. The club focuses on improv comedy, a performance style in which most of the material is created on the spot instead of following a prepared script.

“I first started to get into improv in high school when people were asking me to try out for our high school troupe. Eventually I did, and I made it on the team, and I had so much fun with it,” Tita said. When he came to MSU he wanted to continue to do improv comedy and increase its presence on campus. To meet this goal, he and other students formed the Something Funny! Improv club.

Since the club’s formation last October, its core group of about 10 members has met regularly to practice their improv skills, learn team building and enjoy each other’s company. The club has no dues or running roster and welcomes individuals of all skill levels and experience; many of the club’s members do not have any prior experience in improv comedy. The club emphasizes a low-stress environment, with members providing peer evaluation to each other when asked to.

“Our club is open to everybody, no matter what their experience with improvisational theater is,” Tita said. “If I wanted it to be more competitive, I could put a cap on the number of people that could come. I could tell people that they had to try out, but I’m not going to do that because I want it to be accessible to everybody.”

Meetings of the club usually begin with a warm-up exercise before moving on to games determined in advance by Tita. Some of these are original while others are learned from members’ previous experience. Usually the games are done in short form style, lasting for a few minutes with three or four individuals participating. Tita said the meetings generally last somewhere between one to two hours.

“I don’t have any improv experience. I did take drama, but that was a really long time ago. It’s interesting to me because the games are fun,” Kira Mari, the club’s vice-president, said, “It’s a great way to relax and just have fun and get people together.” Mari is a studio arts major and is also one of the founding members of the club.

Both Tita and Mari would like to be able to eventually expand beyond smaller meetings into more public events, something they had discussed before founding the club. By holding public events they hope to build the club’s name and benefit the community. “Improv is not something that is meant to be done for the individual; it is really a performance,” Tita said.

Until then, members of the club will continue to work on their skills and collaborate together as a team. “Right now we are just working on getting people interested and having fun,” Mari said.

Something Funny! Improv currently meets Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. in SUB 233. For more information, send questions to somethingfunnyimprov@gmail.com.