IU’s funniest students to perform for IU Campus Comedy Festival

Guest post courtesy of internal communications intern Matt Bloom:

Saturday is the Indiana University Campus Comedy Festival, an annual event where the funniest students on the Bloomington campus perform sketch, improv and stand-up comedy for everyone for free.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. and lasting until we’re too tired to laugh, more than 75 students will be in the Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union making jokes, creating worlds and characters off the top of our heads, and doing our fair share of goofing around.

This will be my first time performing as a member of Full Frontal Comedy, IU’s longest-running improv troupe (this year we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary), and I’d like to take this time to reminisce about my audition and involvement with IU’s comedy community

I was more than an hour late to my audition for Full Frontal Comedy.

IU Campus Comedy Festival

IU alum Jeremiah Jordon, left, and IU Bloomington senior Michael Haluska perform improv during Full Frontal Comedy’s 20th anniversary on March 29. Credit: Matt Bloom.

When I came to college I knew that I wanted to be an improviser and meet other improvisers, and Full Frontal was first on my list. Full Frontal Comedy formed in 1994 under the leadership of Derek Miller and Jill Benjamin, both IU alumni now living and performing professionally in Los Angeles.

The current undergraduate troupe of eight students performs free improvised comedy shows about every other Friday in rooms throughout the IMU. I tried my hardest not to get my hopes up and made plans the night before to arrive 15 minutes early to the audition, because that is what respectful people do.

Soon it was morning. I rolled over in bed, lines from the sheets still impressed on my face.

9:56 a.m.

“No way,” I thought.

I couldn’t believe the time on my alarm clock. I rubbed my eyes, slapped myself, and looked again.

9:57 a.m.

The audition started at 9. I didn’t know whether to throw on some clothes and make a mad dash for the audition or just give up and go back to bed. My chances of becoming a member of Full Frontal were slipping away with every passing second. I knew that this troupe was committed. The members were passionate; they traveled to L.A. during spring break last year to study improv. They were hilarious and I wanted more than anything to perform with them. In that moment, my heart sank. I knew I had to go.

IU Campus Comedy FestivalI somehow gathered the courage to show up late for my audition. I told everyone there that I had “separation anxiety from my bed.” They laughed, and somehow my tardiness was justified. Miraculously, through that audition and a call-back (which I was on time to), I made the troupe. Since then, I feel I’ve found my place at IU.

The memories from my audition day are running through my mind this week as I prepare for the Campus Comedy Festival. On Saturday, 10 groups will perform all afternoon and evening. We will also be joined by members of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the professional improv school in New York City that was started by comedy stars Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts. It’s a chance for us to make you laugh, and that’s one of the key reasons we do comedy.

The festival itself is a celebration of the art of making people laugh. But it’s also a display of the strength of IU’s comedy community. Troupes have been collaborating more and creating new and exciting ways to entertain. Because of this, the other students involved in improv and sketch comedy groups have become some of my best friends.

They make me laugh, cry (from laughing), and want to work to become a better performer. It’s inspiring to know that there are so many people at IU that just want to make you happy and feel included.

Go see any of the free comedy shows on campus (there’s at least one every weekend). I guarantee you’ll have an amazing time, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next one to get up on stage and make us laugh. Just don’t show up an hour late to your audition.

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