On Friday, Nov. 4 at 9:00 p.m., Sykes After Dark presented the Upright Citizens Touring Brigade Improv Show with the West Chester University Improv club. Students lined up in the student union lobby waiting to be entertained by the famous comedy group.
Originating from Chicago’s Improv Olympic in 1990, UCTB has launched major stars like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Seth Morris and Andrew Daly. As people waited for the show to begin, endless amounts of pizza, snacks and drinks were provided.
There was also a table where you could make your own wax hand, designing a model of your hand by dipping it into wax. Cutouts of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton were displayed for people to take pictures with the two candidates.
At the start of the show, the UCTB group on stage asked for a volunteer to come up and tell a crazy college story.
One student was brought up and discussed how she woke up Friday morning to find a drunk, strange man in her dorm room.
When asked what she did about it, she told her RA, who then contacted police and arrested the student. The UCTB group interviewed the student further, cracking jokes during the process. When they were done, they based their improvised acts off of the information the student provided.
Some scenes took place in the Lawrence Dining Hall, depicted as a fancy cafeteria that served hot towels in one scenario, and a precinct in another. They cleverly put together a murder mystery, where they used a person’s story and tried to exaggerate it as much as possible. It turned into a series of “cereal killer” stories, where the murderers gathered to eat cereal and discuss their plots.
Often, they would reference WCU campus highlights like the WCU water tower. At one point they made up a fake kidnapping scenario and had police officers refuse to speak to the killer, who admitted to using a particular weapon in order to create more of an interesting story.
They took real information provided from student volunteers and incorporated them into different kinds of stories. They impersonated and exaggerated the personality of a disliked professor, who pointed, yelled, and collected students as Pokémon.
The UCTB group asked students to read off their latest text that they received to be used as lines for their next skit. They incorporated them and turned them into a theme. One text a student provided said, “Do not show her the electricity bill.”
With this, the group did a dramatic interpretation of the situation as if this person caught their roommates hiding their electricity bill. This person then found out that her roommate had been creating a meth lab in her room, inspired by the hit show “Breaking Bad.” Another scenario consisted of a boss impersonating Santa to try to lay off his employees during the holidays. The story regarding the drunk student served as a foundation for the UCTB group to act as drunk students making their way into a stranger’s home, who were creepily nice in the morning, serving breakfast and fixing a “squeaky” table.
It was fun to see a talented group play out exaggerated stories of students’ actual lives. However, one major complaint was that, despite the implication in the title of the show, the WCU Improv group did not participate in the improv show with the UTCB group. It would have been a wonderful experience to see our own improv group work with professionals on stage, but even so, the UTCB group still put on a great show.
Samantha Mineroff is a third-year student majoring in English writings track with a minor in creative writing. She can be reached at SM825021@wcupa.edu.