Sunday, March 23, 2014

Funny Thing Happened: A Look at the Spartan Comedy Club

By Nikki Zaidan

“In the stressed environment of college, people need a place to relax and laugh with friends, and the Spartan Comedy Club provides students with this opportunity,” says club Founder Sean Feeley. An improv acting group at St. Thomas Aquinas College, the comedy group is made of students who come together to practice every Tuesday at six on the second floor of Costello Hall.

Feeley said there is usually one show a month, with the next shows being on March 24th at 8 pm and April 23rd at 7 pm in the Romano Center. Among the benefits of the Spartan Comedy Club, Feeley said, “[the club] tries to invite outside comedians and improv-specific clubs,” which ultimately “exposes students to different kinds of improv comedy that they may not know about. We are actually partnered with Levity Live, which is a professional comedy club venue certified by Comedy Central, and they help us with promotions and publicity.”

Discussing rehearsals for the group, Spartan Comedy Club member Rohan Lawrence said, “We just work on different skits and scenarios. Sometimes the scenario requires a pre-decided scene, and another includes a random place where we come up with the details on our own. It’s a lot of fun…it’s ‘thinking on your feet’ comedy, and that’s why I really like improv. Anybody can do it, and even though we go to practice, there is no real practice or preparation required to do it, and anyone can participate, which is nice.”

Feeley added, “I love being able to try out our own type of comedy to make people laugh…I started a group like this in high school, but there weren’t enough members so it had to be disbanded… but I wanted to start a club like this in college because I felt there would be more people to participate.” Feeley explains how one of the problems the club faces is finding audience members and people who want to perform. The club is relatively small and Feeley often acts alongside the other 10 members of the group.

Feeley recalled one of his favorite moments with the Spartan Comedy Club last semester  at the McNelis Commons Open Mic Night. He explained how he and some of the other members from the club came together, brought supplies, and put on a “great” show in under 15 minutes. To Feeley, this was a “perfect example of improv” – with little to no preparation, the show was “all improv – exactly as it should be.”

Spartan Comedy Club member Sarah Jo Montello said, “The club is a good outlet for our students. In addition to having a creative and relaxing atmosphere, it allows a way for students to de-stress, which is an overall benefit for the student body.”

For the future, Feeley said that he would like to have more comedians and comedy groups come to STAC to perform. “It will take work, but I hope for the club to continue after I graduate; we need to grow it, and I fully encourage more students to participate,” he said.

As a final note, Lawrence adds, “The Spartan Comedy Club is a great outlet for creativity…doing this improv forces you to think in a different way and gives you freedom. Plus, it’s important to know that anyone can participate, which is what I appreciate about improv.”

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