On Tuesday, Nov. 5, the three comedy groups on the University of New Hampshire’s campus, Sketched Out, Fringe Comedy and Improv Anonymous, came together in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) Theater II to present the Comedy Coalition.
The show was two hours, 8 to 10 p.m., of improv, sketches, standup and games. The host for the night was Rachael Moss, who is also the president of the Fringe Comedy Group. She, along with Samm Azen, the director of Fringe Comedy, set out to give the audience a comedy taste-tester, presenting every comedy troupe on campus all in one night. That being said, Moss and Azen also aimed to get their name out there in hopes of being as well-known as Sketched Out and Improv Anonymous.
When the audience walked into MUB Theater II they were greeted by the music of PSY and some light disco. The first act of the night was Improv Anonymous, and many of their skits needed people in the audience to shout out an object or a place. Some of these objects included oranges, a voucher for a free sandwich, two-months-worth of recycling, chewed gum, a ballot, pictures of your dead wife, pictures of your alive wife, monocles and a chair. The places that were shouted out also varied widely from the Bahamas, the North Pole, a trampoline, a CVS and amanatee exhibit in Montana.
With these places and objects in mind, Improv Anonymous played improv games such as Story Die, What Are You Trying To Say, Sweep, Half-Life and Should Have Said. Some of these made the actors go through their skits very quickly, only giving them 15 seconds to run through a scene, while other games made the actors continue a story someone else was telling or gave the actors monologues involving dinosaurs.
Samm Azen performed several comedic exercises, including standup about Lyft on election day, how he doesn’t trust people who are charismatic and how time slows down when you wake up at 4:30 in the morning and try to sit up. Other standup artists included Alana Gudina of Improv Anonymous who talked about her “granola” grandmother, deciding which of her friends would have rabies and trying to figure out what her night was like when she can’t remember it.
Sketched Out brought a different type of comedy than Improv Anonymous. They had planned skits that required costumes and props. One sketch looked at the history of Jimmy Carter and peanuts, a segment called Don’t Even Bother, With Two Fathers, where there was a heated debate about Home Depot versus Lowes and the troupe also took a look at Screamers Anonymous.
Fringe Comedy also displayed a distinct type of humor. While they started similar to that of Improv Anonymous, asking for places and things to start them off, they eventually ran with one theme for the entire skit. This type of comedy that they performed is called long-form improv. When someone from Fringe Comedy clapped, that was the signal it was time to change scenes. Within one skit they went from a bus driver trying to get hired, to a swimmer in Saudi Arabia, to a high fashion dress that doesn’t allow you to move or breathe. In another skit, they went from advertising the world’s longest toothbrush, to a boy bringing a girl home to meet his mother, to an evil tooth fairy.
At the end of the night, the actors from all three groups invited the audience to play a game of Freeze, where people can jump in and out of scenes as they like. There were skits about Batman, bench pressing babies, jewelry thieves, healing crystals and a deal going down in a Denny’s parking lot.
No matter what type of comedy was being presented to the audience, one could hear uproarious laughter from almost everyone in the theater. Moss says that she was thrilled with both the audience turnout and how the timing of the show came as a good stress relief for both actors and the audience. Moss says she is making long-term plans to do this show at the beginning of every semester so people are exposed to the comedy community. She also added how she wanted to recruit more outside standup comedians throughout campus to add to the variety.
At the end of the day though, Moss says, “we all just want to laugh.”