The daily stress of homework, exams, due dates and pop quizzes can be overwhelming, but Mizzou’s improvisational comedy troupe, Comedy Wars, can help lighten the load.
Composed of five students, Zach Beattie, Clint Cannon, Drew Kohler, Lucas Rim and Dan Sheehan, Comedy Wars performs improve and sketch comedy with the simple goal of making students laugh. Every Wednesday night at 9:30, the Bengal Lair in Memorial Union is packed all the way back to the Wheatstone Bistro. Students wait to get a laugh to cure what Comedy Wars member Dan Sheehan calls “the hump-day blues.”
During the hour-long performances the funny men play improvisational games and act out sketches based on audience suggestions or participation.
“Comedy Wars is really funny and similar to the show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ that I watch all the time,” freshman Ashley McWilliams said.
For their performance on Feb. 6, 2013, Comedy Wars created a new game to open the show. According to member Zach Beattie, the group developed the game while casually hanging out and thought it was funny enough to try in front of an audience. To begin the show, a projector screen was lowered and cable television was shown. With the sound muted, someone scrolled slowly through television channels as the comedy warriors narrated a Home Shopping Network infomercial and other shows.
Potential Comedy Wars members Jake Wallach and Abigail English aided with technology and music during the performance. Though Comedy Wars is only a group of five, they accept new members each semester.
“There is a six-month long audition process,” Wallach said.
Twenty to 30 people come to audition in the first round and by the third round of auditions the number is narrowed to around three or four people. These three or four are required to practice with the group and attend every performance, and they can be cut at any time.
Comedy Wars is a four-year long commitment, and the long audition process is a precautionary measure to ensure each trainee has good chemistry with the other members. It may be an extensive and nerve-racking process, but the potential warriors are looking forward to performing with Comedy Wars in front of an eager audience.
“Hearing the laughter is really rewarding,” English said. “Improv is sometimes under recognized, so it is really cool that Comedy Wars has such a big following.”
After attending the show Feb. 6, it is apparent that the audience is as enthusiastic as the warriors themselves.
“I came to Comedy Wars five times last semester,” freshman Amy Munneke said. “The shows are funny, they make me laugh, and I can get away from studying to do something fun.”
Despite hectic schedules and crazy exams, sophomore Jessie Kolisch said it best, “You make time to come to Comedy Wars!”