By: Megan Delaire
Students yearning to showcase their humour and network with like-minded people need look no further than the Algonquin Improv Club.
The Improv Club was founded last September by second year radio broadcasting students Mitch Vallieres and Conrad Koster and is open to all students, comedic background or not. The two were surprised last semester to learn that the school did not already have an improv club, and set out to establish one.
The main objectives are for members to enjoy themselves, feed off of each other’s humour and improvise. For this reason, there are no prerequisites or requirements for joining.
“I think the reason we started it was because we wanted to meet other people who kind of got the same brand of comedy that we did,” said co-founder Vallieres.
Rather than meetings, the club gets together on campus for jams involving different improv games, usually on Thursdays. If a game requires fewer participants than are present, the rest sit back and watch, but eventually everyone has the opportunity to play. The participatory aspect of the club makes it useful for networking.
“It’s a great atmosphere to network if you’re really into comedy,” said club chair and general arts student Ben Capaday. “It’s a great place to meet funny people so it’s really entertaining, you actually make friends, and Ottawa as a city is really coming up in the comedy scene so our scene is growing.”
The club’s founders are mostly focused on growing a steady core of committed members for now. However, in the future they would like to organize improv and sketch comedy shows.
“With sketch comedy, improv is a good basis,” said Capaday. “You can create a lot of scenes and really work from there.”
Improv encourages participants to think humorously and leads to hilarious, unplanned scenarios. It opens avenues to other types of comedic performance too.
Founders Mitch and Conrad and chair Ben all perform stand-up comedy in Ottawa occasionally and say that anyone who plans to break into stand-up comedy should start also with improv.
The club hosted an open mic night on March 21, but beyond that event they are currently focused on developing the club further by recruiting new members and encouraging existing members to attend jams more regularly.