To open the story with a joke seems only appropriate, yet none come to mind that would do Lolopolis justice.
The Lolopolis Comedy Group performs improv and sketch comedy and they are holding a show Saturday at 9:30 p.m. in Theatre 101 on College Avenue. The show is free and ticket reservations begin at Theatre 101 an hour before the show.
The performance will revolve around a specific theme the group devised for this particular show. The evening will begin with a scripted sketch and then go into improvisation.
“The idea (for this show) is that Lolopolis Comedy Group has become Lolopolis Research Institute and we are here to show off new products we have created,” said Alex Beard, senior theater arts majors and founder of Lolopolis. “The idea is that the audience is potential investors in the future products that we create. We will do the sketch and then work back into improvisation.”
Beard promises that this upcoming show will be very different from past Lolopolis shows.
“We’re using the whole Theatre 101 building, which to my knowledge is the first time that that’s ever happened where a performance has utilized the whole building and not just the theater,” Beard said.
The group performs a specific type of improvisation called the Harold, which might be quite different from the improv viewers may know or have seen on shows such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The Harold is a long form improv style.
“Long form improvisation is basically you get a suggestion and you work off of that one suggestion for between 20 and 30 minutes,” Beard said. “Essentially, it is a collaboration of scenes that are created off the inspiration we get from the one word or two word suggestion.”
For Beard, the upcoming Lolopolis performance provides a unique alternative to the stereotypical weekend activities of a college student.
“I think a lot of people overlook theater as a valuable entertainment source, and because Lolopolis is so different than a traditional scripted play, I think that (it) provides a great opportunity to do something different and it’s free,” Beard said. “I really encourage people if they’ve never been before to come and just experience what live improvisational comedy is.”
There is a notable difference between improv and traditional comedy, according to Beard.
“It’s not like stand-up comedy where we are just trying to deliver jokes. The jokes and the comedy come out of the situations provided,” Beard said.
That said, it does not mean the group members aren’t truly funny. Matthew Schott, a junior theatre arts major, has high expectations for what people might get out of attending the show.
“We’ve got some happy surprises. Maroon 5 may or may not be in attendance,” Schott said.
“Along with Uncle Kracker," Andrew Sisson, a junior international studies major, quickly added.
Although hearing improv and rehearse in the same sentence seems like quite a paradox, Lolopolis does rehearse every week to prepare for shows and work on group dynamics.
“We work on different format ideas — how do we transition from one scene to another — things like that,” Beard said. “Other things that we work on are sketches because we do sketch work, too.”
Their comedy heroes include Childish Gambino, Ricky Gervais and Bob Odenkirk, and are as varied as the members’ personalities. Beard’s passion for theater, along with comedy, is palpable.
“You’re never really stuck in one character; you can do whatever you want. The possibilities are endless,” Beard said.
For those interested in checking out the show, the group will be handing out fast passes on the Drillfield Friday. The passes offer priority seating at the show. These passes can also be obtained by commenting on the group’s Facebook page.