Nu ‘ Improv’d pushes boundaries

By Aaron Lavender

From airport security to scientology, few topics were off limits to the NU ‘ Improv’d crew at their sketch comedy performance in afterHOURS last night.

About 130 students attended the show, which relied heavily on audience partipation.

Senior communications major Amanda Neci kicked off the night with a stand-up comedy routine focused on the appeal of breakfast food and the differences between girls’ and guys’ magazines.

Because it was her first time performing stand-up in front of a crowd, Neci said she was nervous until she heard the first sounds of laughter.

Other members of NU ‘ Improv’d took the stage to perform various comedic sketches. Highlights of the performance included an act based on the dating game and one which the members took turns ranting about everything from pop culture to national security.

Many of the sketches required group members to switch between topics quickly.

Members of the audience enjoyed being cued for ideas such as different celebrities and personal pet peeves.

Mark Rizzo, a freshman undecided major, enjoyed thinking of ideas as much as watching the actual performances he said.

“The audience was incredible to watch,” he said.

Tushar Patel, president of NU ‘ Improv’d, said the group was energized by the audience’s enthusiasm and participation. Every performance is completely dependent on what suggestions the audience throws out, so “having such an enthusiastic crowd really helped,” he said.

Patel said the group practiced the night before their performance, but didn’t rehearse the sketches since they wanted each performance to be spontaneous.

The practice sessions are geared toward helping the group work better together and figure out the performance structure he said.

Sam Soloman, a sophomore communications major and member of NU ‘ Improv’d, said Tuesday’s performance was exciting for the group because “lots of requests for shows have been pouring in,” she said.

NU ‘ Improv’d became a student group in 2003 and has steadily grown in numbers and notoriety since then. They are regulars at ImprovBoston, a Cambridge comedy club, and last year, they performed on Broadway last year.

When they held the inaugural “Beanpot of Comedy,” an annual event with Boston University, Boston College and Harvard University competing for best improv troupe, it sold out Blackman Auditorium last year.

Patel said he hoped last night’s performance helped build more enthusiasm about NU ‘ Improv’d.

Earlier in the day, the group traveled to the freshmen quad to recruit future members and advertise their shows. Auditions for the group will be held Thursday.

Adrienne Devino, a freshman communications major, said she is definitely going to try out for the group because she never stopped laughing during the show.

Neci said the group is known for a “no holds barred” approach to comedy, as there is no topic that is off limits. She stressed that anything goes, and the group does not shy away from controversial topics.

“Nothing is intentionally designed to offend anyone, and the group doesn’t go out of its way to offend anyone,” she said.

Upcoming performances for NU ‘ Improv’d will be Oct. 10 during Alcohol Awareness week and Oct. 21 during Homecoming.

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