Good Improv Isn’t Dead?


So I was very fortunate as a college student to see some incredibly hilarious improv. The troupe at Rhodes College, Contents Under Pressure (CUP), was very good at remembering that improvisation is best when the audience feels involved.

Since college, I have attended improv, expecting that I should laugh as much if not more than I did in college. I mean, it was free in college!, so if I am paying I think it should be at least “as good” as it was in college. UNFORTUNATELY I have been unlucky! I’ve seen a lot of “long form” improv, which doesn’t have to be bad, but the ones I have seen have been terrible. That is until I started attending improv at “The Upright Citizens Brigage” I figured that since they were a name, they would be good, but not as good as everyone thought they were. I was wrong. They are better than everyone thinks. Both times I have attended their shows I have seen the same people. I think this is accidental, but in either case, it has been amazing. The most recent time I attended, last night, I saw “Death by Roo Roo” do their weekly special of “Your Fucked Up Family” where some lucky audience member gets to volunteer information about how screwed up their family is.

The guy last night was funny in that he thought his family was really screwed up. I am sure it is because he was explaining his situation to people who have quick wit, but they were able to easily point out that he exaggerates about how horrible his family is. However, he did have one nugget that the improv troupe could probably have mined for hours. Apparently his oldest sister is a 400 pound girl who is unable to hold down a job. Since she is unburdened by the daily grind, she spends her time posting to a Harry Potter fan fiction site, where she met a girl in Virginia named Britney. The older sister moved after falling in love, and apparently realizing her lesbianism, with Britney, but unfortunately she was cheated on and is now back at home.

This story was amazing, especially when coupled with the other characters in this persons family. They included an “over-achiever” who was actually just an “achiever”, a 200 lb highschool girl who cuts herself and listens to emo, a father who keeps his family at odds with eachother to prevent them from ganging up on him, (the father also “drank”, had a useless item on-line shopping addiction,  and yelled at his wife if his food was “too hard”), and although his mother was apparently perfectly normal, he admitted he himself was kind of a fuck up.

After the troupe interrogated this person they proceeded to mimic scenarios of his family. It was incredibly funny, and although the cast was entirely male, they did an amazing job of imitating large harry potter loving lesbians.

After a brief intermission the second half of the show stems from a movie quote. The quote they got was “You know she’s got like 5 sticks in the drawer” which apparently comes from “Napolean Dynamite”

This technically counts as long form improv. One suggestion and they go on for about 30-45 minutes. The difference was…this time it was funny. Although I was completely unaware of how it related to the quote the troupe proceeded to follow the story of 2 middle school girls who were shopping for their “new” image. As the low self-esteem girl flirted with a piano player, the other got her first period. This sparked perhaps the best joke of the entire night, as the two 12 year old girls had this exchange:

Girl 1: What happened to you?

Girl 2: I got my period.

Girl 1: Oh that sucks, now you have to use condoms.


Yes I realize this is terrible to laugh at, and you probably had to be there, but it was quite amazing.

The story went on with a bunch of entertaining jokes, but the plot is obviously not coherant or important.

As I quickly exited the theatre my face hurt from laughing so hard. I definitely plan to attend, and would love to see what they would do with my “fucked up” family.


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