Hope College is no stranger to the hilarity that stems from really good improv. The college’s own Vanderprov (whose September 8 show we covered last semester) is a fantastic group whose sketches many students are familiar with. However, students were treated to an extra-special performance this past Friday. The Upright Citizens Brigade, a traveling comedy group with several theaters in New York and LA, sent four of their comedians to the DeDitt Student Center to amuse and gutbust.
Vanderprov opened for the group at about 8:30p.m., featuring two of their own skits: a rapping game which challenges teams to quickly come up with and recognize rhymes involving a one-syllable name, as well as reenacting the same scene in a decreasing timespan. After they wrapped up, out came the four members of UCB. An interesting deviation from the typical improvisation show, UCB started by immediately inquiring about relevant traditions and famous people from Hope’s culture. Given information such as donut runs, Tulip Time, President Voskuil and the many fires at Van Vleck, the wheels started turning. Quizzing a volunteer from the audience gave them more comedic ammunition, drawing on the many stresses of being a Disney Cast member and family paintball rituals.
After this was over, it was time to see it all put together. And, sure enough, it was extremely amusing. As though the comedians had themselves spent time in Holland, scenes were quickly and effectively trimmed together. Beginning with the audience member’s suggestion posing a semi-delusional threat to Captain Jack Sparrow, they quickly drifted to a hyperstatic Tulip Time reenactment, theater students doomed to endlessly sorting costumes in a creepy basement, bemused Van Vleckians nearly starting another fire, a semi-saucy scene at Good Time Donuts, and family antics interrupting a sushi-making lesson. All these scenes existed entirely within the first half of the show, with the second half mirroring the first but with out-of-context text message material from phones of people sitting in the audience. The show was well-received, particularly because of its emphasis on audience interaction.
This particular show will never be re-performed, something the UBC members boasted about as an exceptionally enticing element to all of their performances. While this particular performance may never be repeated, comedy fans fear not; SAC and Vanderprov have you covered for future comedy shows.
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