Improv Uknighted brings laughs to Natura
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 16:01
Hookah smoke and laughter filled the room as UCF's comedy troupe Improv Uknighted performed various improv games Monday night. From Charlie Sheen on cocaine to a depiction of The Lion King in five seconds, the performance ranged and was clearly worth more than the free admission.
"I think it was one of our best shows," improv member and freshman radio/television major Ryan O'Toole said. "It was definitely one of the rawest performances. It was a great way to come back and perform after break."
Performing around 9 p.m. at their usual venue, Natura Coffee and Tea on Collegiate Way, Improv Uknighted provided the audience with nearly 20 different improv games, touching on pop culture and deadpan humor.
Prior to the show, members of the comedy troupe walked to each table in Natura, informing customers that they were performing and asked for their help. Each customer quickly became a member of their audience as they wrote down movie titles, quotes and song titles on slips of paper that would be used in the show.
Crystal Gray, the president of Improv Uknighted and junior exceptional education major, found the audience's attentiveness surprising.
"My favorite part of performing is the audience," Gray said. "Improv has to do with audience participation. It helped make a better show, and we had high energy."
Jamie O'Neil, Improv Uknighted secretary and sophomore theatre studies and biotechnology double major, said she was concerned before the performance.
"I was nervous because there were a smaller number of players that performed than usual," O'Neil said. "Also, because we perform every other Monday we sometimes have to deal with distractions."
Another nervous member was host Lina Ortiz, a freshman psychology major. Despite her nerves of learning to run the show, Ortiz was a welcoming and pleasant host.
The comedy troupe performed for two hours in front of about 20 audience members. While the set seemed long and endless at times, the crowd ranging from young to old found Improv Uknighted entertaining.
Monica Rodriguez, a senior psychology major and frequent audience member, thought the group was very energetic compared to other nights.
"Usually their performances are slow but they had lots of enthusiasm and made the entire crowd laugh," Rodriguez said.
While all performers were talented, the audience favorite seemed to be Charlie Sheen impersonator Johnny Crowder, a sophomore psychology major. His quick wit and pop culture references generated many laughs.
Overall, Improv Uknighted's performance was comparable to cycling up a hill. It started off a little slow, peaked in the middle and had a fast and feasible ending. Although they had their highs and lows, the improv members had witty comebacks and comedic timing that made the show brilliant.
Gray and vice president Noel Harris, a sophomore theatre major, said that the comedy troupe hopes to branch out from short-form comedy and include sketch comedy. That means the group would write skits in addition to improv at shows and rehearsals, much like the famous variety show Saturday Night Live or like the improv groups The Second City and The Groundlings.
"We're looking for both people who can write and people who like improve," Harris said. "Not everyone can think of something on the spot like in improv, but some can write a really great sketch."
Improv Uknighted also offers free improv workshops Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Theatre Building to anyone interested. They can be seen performing at Natura Coffee and Tea every other Monday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free, but purchasing a drink or snack from Natura is encouraged.