By Ken Johnson, Staff Writer
Homecoming weekend at The University of New Hampshire brings a fitting Homecoming performance to the Memorial Union Building. Friday night will feature The Shock T’s, a comedy band, with members Tyler Paterson, Sarah Shockey and Tim Dunn.
Tyler Paterson graduated from UNH in 2006 with a major in English. During his time at UNH he was part of the Theater Sports organization. He was producer for them his junior year and director for them his senior year. Friday night marks the first time since graduating that Tyler Paterson will be performing at UNH.
“This is my first time being back [at UNH] since graduating, which is kind of a really big thrill for me,” Paterson said. “I just spent so many years there doing improv and then coming [to Chicago] and studying comedy, that to come back feels kind of full circle.”
“I think Homecoming is a really good fit, it’s almost like alumnus coming home to perform in front of his old school,” said Dave Zamansky, assistant director of the Memorial Union Building.
Things will truly come full circle when Improv Anonymous opens for The Shock T’s.
Improv Anonymous used to be known as Theater Sports, Nate Hastings said, coordinator of Student Organizations and Leadership.
“There was another group that had the name Theater Sports and [they] threatened to sue us,” Katie LaVallee said, a member of Improv Anonymous, explaining the name change.
“To have my old improv troupe open up is a really cool feeling…it is possible to, if you are really passionate about comedy, to do something with it and to travel the world and see different things with it,” Paterson said.
“It’s really exciting first of all to be able to perform for such a large crowd. It’s always so much fun but to be able to open for somebody who used to be in Improv Anonymous is even more exciting because I think a lot of us have future dreams to continue improve, so it’s exciting to see one of our alumni back and doing improv comedy,” Lavallee said.
The Shock T’s have been together for about five years now, Paterson said. The three met while taking classes at The Second City in Chicago, which specializes in sketch comedy and improvisation. The Shock T’s have performed at comedy festivals and colleges around the country, Paterson said. They performed around Chicago doing improv shows, stand-up shows and they have opened for other musical acts.
“[The Shock T’s] have a lot of funny material, they make up their own songs, some of them are political, some of them are satirical, some of them are parodies …they are kind of like a really great three person, two singers and a guitarist, kind of band,” Zamansky said. “We’ll have people laughing throughout the show.”
“I know when we got the call about it, I was so excited and I was like, Homecoming is such a big deal at UNH, it’s going to be so much fun,” Paterson said. “You know it’s not just a random Saturday night, like this is an event and to be doing a show at an event with my old improv troupe opening up it’s just like all the stars aligned and, it feels so cool and I don’t think it is actually going to hit me until I am there on the stage.”
“We’re really looking forward to having just a blast, we find that college crowds are kind of our best demographic because they get the humor that we have as opposed to some older crowds who don’t really connect with some of the material,” Paterson said. “I am very, very excited and honored to be a part of this.”
The Shock T’s, with opening act Improv Anonymous, will be playing at 9 p.m. in the Strafford Room of the MUB.
The comedy at the MUB continues Saturday night with stand-up comic Jeff Dye.
Jeff Dye is an actor and comedian, and can be seen on MTV’s Money From Strangers as well as Guy Code and Girl Code. He has been performing comedy for almost 10 years now, which he said is his true love.
“I’m a pretty crummy actor,” Dye said. The show at the MUB will be his 20th college show within the last two months. Dye said he enjoys performing at colleges.
Zamansky said he saw Jeff Dye at a comedy club in Tampa back in June and the name was familiar when Dye was introduced as an option. “I’ve seen this guy, he’s really funny,” Zamansky said.
“A lot of the people who come to college shows, they chose to be there, they want to be there, they’ve kind of sought it out so I enjoy that,” Dye said. “You’re getting generally a more reserved crowd, the students seem to be a lot more polite. I’m excited to be there, and I hope it’s a good turn out.”
Jeff Dye, with opening act Brian Moote, will be performing Saturday night at 9 p.m. in the Granite State Room.
This is the first time the MUB has had entertainment on Friday and Saturday night of homecoming, Zamansky said. The money for the events is coming from University Events and Programs instead of the MUB budget, according to Zamansky.
“I think they are just trying to create some more positive attitude toward homecoming when it comes to the students,” Zamansky said. “I think a lot of focus ends up being on the alumni, and I think they are trying to bring some of the focus back to the students and making sure that the students have something to do, too. And it’s good, and it’s quality.”
Both comedy shows are free entry.