Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Mission IMPROVable, comedy accomplished

Haley Karlson (left) and Patrick McIntyre are all smiles during the show.

At a time when university students are preparing for another semester of exams, jobs and extracurricular activities, one may find some momentary relief in a night of spontaneity and light-hearted humor. Thursday, Feb. 1, in the Down Under of the University Center, Patrick McIntyre and Haley Karlson, two members of the comedy group “Mission IMPROVable,” gave students just that as they set out to create a unique experience for the dozens of people in attendance by way of simply asking for a place, person and object. From there, everyone shared the experience of comical and unique stories being developed, be they participant or idle witness. 

“I like it because you don’t know what could happen,” said McIntyre, who has been doing improv for 18 years after an old acquaintance of his steered him towards it. “It truly is different every single time, even if you have the same plan of attack, or action. We had someone in the audience tonight who we were having a lot of fun with – I couldn’t have predicted the way he would act or respond the way he did – and because of that, it was spontaneous, and I think it was more authentic because we all got to experience the moment together.”

Karlson, who has been doing improv seriously for about three years added, “Without an audience, it’s just not nearly as rewarding – that we’re not just doing it for ourselves. I think what makes it so rewarding is laughing with people and making them laugh and finding what makes them tick.”

Their desire for audience interaction did not stop at standing up on stage and asking for suggestions. On three separate occasions, one to two students were called up on stage and were asked to participate in the sporadic mini plays that McIntyre and Karlson concocted with the audience. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy displays of this was when one student acted as Karlson’s boyfriend with whom she was about to separate on account of her leaving Earth to oversee a “space colony” with fellow astronauts. When presented with this scenario for the first time, the student in question assured Haley that there were no hard feelings as he was seeing another girl who just so happened to be part of a different space colony, at which point both the audience and the improv duo laughed hysterically. 

Freshman Alyssa Wahlberg (left) and Patrick McIntyre (right) act out a song title.

When asked about the appeal of improv to students, Gavin Ziebell, a member of UC Live, said, “It’s really appealing to, I’d say, the Gen Z audience. It’s a different type of comedy, where it’s more in the moment, and I think it makes it more genuine.”

Zibell also mentioned that the comedy group performed at the University Center last year where they did a murder mystery party and left such a good impression that they were called back this year. 

If the audience reaction and attendance indicates anything, it is that one: improv can serve as an effective form of interaction, be it active or passive, and two: that the UC live group has a firm grasp on student engagement through entertainers.

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About the Contributor
Liam Delmore, Arts & Recreation Journalist

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