When attending the University of New Hampshire (UNH), one must be mindful of their role as a student, an independent and (hopefully) self-sufficient life sponge that (again, hopefully) retains the knowledge, skills and experiences acquired in class to be made useful for years and decades to come. It is a great responsibility that one must never forget to take seriously.
But even then, a student is also human, and humans tend to go mad if they can’t do something to brighten their day or distract from the pressures of real life. While there are numerous ways of seeking such relaxation – both maturely and otherwise – one such route is through the many student-run comedy groups that populate the Durham campus. From short skits and games to fully-fledged stories crafted in the heat of the moment, these groups offer something for (almost) everyone.
One of the newest comedy groups on campus, Fringe Comedy specializes in long-form improvisation, typically through single-scene or multi-scene plots that highlight a “game” (or running joke) and then build the scene’s characters and story from there. Its members also, per its Wildcat Link page, “play games, study the UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] handbook, share feedback, and grow as actors and comedians.” Students interested in joining are not required to audition but must be at the weekly Tuesday meetings, which run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Disclaimer: the author is a member of Fringe Comedy and serves as a regular member and its secretary.
One of UNH’s longest running and most popular comedy groups, Improv Anonymous is best known for their weekly Thursday night shows in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) Entertainment Center, which feature short skits, games and scenes driven by audience suggestions and participation. Its members, according to Wildcat Link, meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., with their weekly show kicking off at 9:00 p.m. most Thursdays. Students interested in joining are required to audition on the announced dates by participating in versions of skits and games used during their shows.
Sketched Out Comedy Troupe
Sketched Out Comedy differs from its counterparts through the use of its namesake – “sketch” comedy – using original scenes and plots written by its own members, as well as comedy videos for their shows and YouTube. According to Wildcat Link, the group holds shows every three weeks, typically in the Entertainment Center; each show features “five to seven comedy skits and a couple of videos,” with styles ranging from “sophisticated humor” and satire to “dumb” comedy and “poop jokes,” as well as both “dirty” and “clean” forms of humor. Students interested in joining can attend auditions at the beginning of each semester, where the group looks for both stage performers and writers for their sketches.
The WildActs Social Justice Theatre Troupe, UNH’s sole social justice comedy troupe, uses art and comedy to, per Wildcat Link, “promote social change and spread awareness of prevalent social justice issues in the community.” WildActs uses both the stage and other mediums to create theatrical pieces based on such topics, with their biggest show of the year being the annual “First-Year Student Orientation Performance (‘The Wild Year Ahead’),” a performance dedicated to incoming first-year students that tackles issues and topics concerning college life. Students interested in joining are not required to audition but have to attend at least three-quarters of weekly meetings.
Student Committee On Popular Entertainment (SCOPE)
Although not a comedy group itself, SCOPE occasionally hosts comedians and comedy groups on campus, so be sure to check out its Twitter and Facebook accounts for dates and more information.