Sloppy Joe Improv — Newman University’s improv comedy group — has provided the community with years of entertainment and is ready to start a new season.
With the departures of graduates Amy Emerson and Claire Setter, two new members were selected.
The auditions were heavily attended and everyone performed astoundingly well. After a difficult three hours of discussion, junior Marie Moore and sophomore Daniel Knolla were inducted as the newest Joes.
Members of improv groups act as playwrights, directors and actors simultaneously to produce dramatic and comedic content on the spot. Many say improvisation is the truest form of imagination.
Moore and Knolla said they are incredibly excited to be on the team and for the opportunity to be a part of the university’s comedic group.
“I think improv skills are really important for anybody in life,” said Moore. “I also think it’s a great opportunity for me to improve my skills for the future.”
Moore also claimed to have doubts about whether or not she would be able to commit to improv due to scheduling and energy “but after the very first game, I went over and I told Clayton, ‘Nevermind about what I said before — I want to be in improv.’ It was just such a match for me.”
After the first meeting and subsequent rehearsals, Moore and Knolla both began to understand the rules of improv and put them into practice.
Considering the first rule of improv, never say no, Knolla said, “If you say yes, it opens a lot more doors than you think it would … when you actually deny a request or an idea, it closes all doors, it doesn’t give you an opportunity to share your experiences with people.”
Moore added, “Saying no cuts off other people’s creativity for sure. In games, it becomes awkward when you don’t say yes. If you just always say yes there’s just kind of an accepting atmosphere with everything.”
Knolla also stressed the applicability of improv to life as a whole quite frequently.
“Training for improv,” Knolla said, “is just life. If you really think about it, just going through life, in general, makes you better at improv. And then, conversely, if you get better at improv, you get better at life.”
One of the troupe’s biggest goals is to simply have fun and create laughs. Moore explained that laughter is one of the dearest gifts that a person can give and receive.
“One of my biggest joys in life is making people laugh. It’s like one of my goals is to just have people think I’m funny, and that sounds cheesy, but when other people laugh at me — with me — it just makes my day.
“It makes me feel like I’ve made a difference in somebody else’s life. It was also in that moment that I realized I wanted to be in improv. I realized I could make so many more people laugh, and I could just fulfill that goal that gave me joy.”
The Sloppy Joe Improv team is co-captained by senior Lucas Farney and sophomore Brenden Schwartz. Troupe members are sophomores Katie Stanford, Austin Schwartz, Clayton Norris and Matthew Clark; junior Rooslana Rusk; and senior Jack Schafer.
Full-feature shows take place at 7 p.m. on the dates listed below in the Jabara Black Box Theatre located inside De Mattias Hall. Shows are free and open to the public.
- Sept. 27
- Nov. 1
- Nov. 22 — “After Dark” show (18+)
- Jan. 31
- Feb. 29 at 10 p.m. — “After Dark” show (18+)
- March 27
Workshops, also free and open to the public, are available to better one’s improv skills or to simply have some fun playing games with the Joes.
Sloppy Joe workshops take place at 6 p.m. in Jabara Black Box Theatre on the following dates:
- Oct. 16
- Jan. 22
- Feb. 12
- March 11
- April 15
** All dates are subject to change.