The Maneater

Comedy Wars returns for season 11

The comedy troupe returns to the stage to entertain MU.

Lauren Zima cries beside Leann McLaughlin as they act out an improv scene during Comedy Wars on Wednesday night in Bengal Lair. The comedy troupe played many games with suggestions from the audience such as "emocoaster" and "the home shopping network" during the first show of Comedy Wars' 11th season.

The 11th season of Comedy Wars, the campus improvisation comedy group, opened Wednesday night in Bengal Lair at Memorial Union.

Freshman Carson Calkins said he heard about the event from a friend, who also heard about it from a friend, attributing the crowd size to word of mouth publicity.

"I'm from out of state, and I'm trying to meet people through social activities," Calkins said. "I heard that this was really funny, and I'm excited to see what it's all about."

The group, comprised of students Lauren Zima, Leann McLaughlin, Kyle Ayers, Brian Hamilton and Austin Huff, put on a show that lasted a little less than an hour and consisted of several different games.

For all games, the cast relies on the audience to prompt them with the specifics of their tasks.

For example, the show opened with a sketch, in which four cast members were each given a different word toward which they were supposed to become utterly incensed. The words were thrown out at random by members of the audience and ranged from sunlight to tofu. Senior and four-year member Hamilton was given the word "economics" and became angry his Intro to Economics Class didn't include Wendy's "3conomics" on the syllabus.

Sophomore Katy Berryman said she attended every show last year and plans to do the same this year.

"All of the games they played were the same as last year, but that's OK with us," Berryman said. "We know which ones we like, and we understand how they work. We get to supply them with new material, so we always enjoy the shows."

Berryman said attending the shows last year was something she and her friends did weekly as a way to get out of the dorms, laugh together and utilize a fun campus activity.

"We would get here early, get Starbucks, study and then watch the show together," Berryman said. "It was nice because it was something to look forward to every week. Even if we had homework, we knew it was something we would fit into our schedules every week."

One of the most crowd-pleasing games seemed to be the Home Shopping Network in which the performers had to sell an object without knowing what it was. They were given clues by their partners and had to guess what they were selling, what it was made of and who made it — all while selling the imaginary item. This is a favorite for the performers, as well.

"My favorite game is one called HSN just because the audience gets so invested in it," two-year performer McLaughlin said. "It creates a lot of high energy, and it's fun for the audience to get to play along."

The group practices the games with each other every Sunday, at which four-year member Zima said some of the funniest stuff happens. McLaughlin explained practice was more like just playing with friends than rehearsal or work.

"My favorite thing about improv comedy is the challenge it presents," four-year member Hamilton said. "You have to stay fresh, and sometimes you even surprise yourself. I'll sometimes say something and think this isn't going to be that funny. You can tell from the audience's reactions that you were wrong."

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