The Ad- Libs Wow in First Show of the Year
We chatter in the semi-lit room, squished on the plush green couches, waiting for the show to start. Wiecking basement feels oddly like a secret comedy club now, where only people with the intel know where to go. After a few minutes of anticipation, the six comedians burst through the door with their pump-up song blasting. After, Chris Isaacson ’19 introduces the “newbies,” or new members, and they start the show.
The group begins with a game called four-square, where four people rotate in a square formation. Two people end up in the front and land themselves in a scene, but they have to begin each scene with the line previously said in the set before, while one person stands on the side telling the others to “switch.” Like most improv shows before them, Ad-Libs began with a word from the audience: cucumber. And then it begins.
The scenes varied from engorged red cucumbers on a vine to burning weddings to palm readings. After spinning around a few times, the group ended with applause and laughter from the audience and another game began. The second game was called “Pillars,” where four people stood in a line and the two in the center had to mouth what the others on the ends said, but without knowing the topic beforehand. They started with the word “podiatrist,” again from the audience and ran with it, beginning in a doctor’s office. The scene became crazier as it progressed through the night, accompanied by spontaneous laughter throughout.
After the games, the actual improv show began, with the starting word being “tuna.” Ana Shoemate ‘21 stepped out and mimed the act of opening cans of tuna, and then prompted to inhale deeply over and over before Jorden Alvarez ’20 stepped out and asked, “Am I not enough?”, causing Ana to reply with “You will never be tuna.” The scene ended with a swell of laughter, and the night continued with Chris acting like a fish caught on a line.
The scenes switched so fast, which made the night pass and end in a blur. With the adrenaline of a good show running high, and students trickling out into the night, I gathered with the stars of the show into the corridor between the lounge and the stairs to ask them some questions:
Q: What made you guys want to audition for Ad-libs?
Ana Shoemate: “I auditioned for the Ad-libs because I feel like the people that I do improv with are the people I have a unique and irreplaceable connection with and I feel like it creates a kind of camaraderie that’s irreparable. It’s just really exciting. I like doing improv, but most of all I like the people who do improv and I like to be part of it.”
Oliver Little ‘21: “Freshman year I wanted to join this group, so I went to the auditions and I walked in and there was a ton of people having a good time and I was like f-k that…”
Ana: “No! He said he didn’t know anybody; he got nervous, then he left.”
Oliver: “This is true. So, I came back this year to redeem myself!”
Chris: “I auditioned for Ad-libs because so many of my friends were in it at the time. Now I have new friends that are in it right now. And Ad-libs is the oldest comedy group on campus and it started com-fest, so that’s cool! Not to be obnoxious about it, but there is a cool kind of historical factor to Ad-libs. AKT brings a different energy than us and I think that anyone who loves comedy and loves improv should go to both shows.”
Grant Landau- Williams ‘19: “It’s true, we should support all the comedy.”
Q: Since you guys are seniors, what has been your experience throughout the years?
Grant: “We would see the seniors set examples for us, as younger students. Assuming that position of ‘Alright, we are gonna be the seniors and do the things and teach folks,’ but also seeing the group become a lot more collaborative, and it’s not so much that we are teaching people, or setting examples but that we are all teaching each other, and that’s really exciting. That’s something that I don’t think was there when I first started, like not in a bad sense, just that it was different. So yeah, I’m much more glad in the direction we are headed, it feels much more like an ensemble.”
Chris: “I feel like all my best friends were already in Ad-libs when I joined, and all the people I really looked up to who were older than me. It’s interesting seeing them leave and then bringing in new people and watching the group change as it goes on. It’s a beautiful and a human process to be in a group that is changing, and I love that about Ad-libs.”
Ana: “But I think the unique thing about Ad-libs is that we are participating in this thing where we have to lean in in a way that we could fall on our face, but instead we catch each other. And that in itself is a very trust-filled thing, and then we are so close because of it. It’s dope. Do improv is the moral of this!”