USD improv club is the only comedy focused club on campus. Improv club provides free, live and on the spot entertainment to anyone interested in sharing a laugh.
Improv club performs live every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Munster University Center pit and live streams the event on their Facebook. On the opposite Tuesday’s they have a podcast available on YouTube.
Parker Oleson, a MA English grad student, is the vice president for the improv club. This is the fifth year Oleson has been involved in the improv club.
Improv clubs’ performances are created by scenes that the audience gives them, Oleson said.
“You kind of get up on stage and fly by the seat of your pants,” Oleson said. “We are a club that teaches and encourages people on how to do that.”
Caitlin Harkness, a junior finance major, is the president for improv club. Harkness said there are currently twenty active members either performing on stage or doing the behind the scenes work this year.
“We have the executive board, which is about eight people,” Harkness said. “We have two different groups. The performance group focuses on getting better on Tuesdays and on Thursdays it’s more of a relaxed group environment.”
Improv club was re-founded in 2015 but before then, it existed even longer.
Oleson said improv club gives people the opportunity to work as a team and build relationships.
“We want to promote comedy on campus, we strive for acceptance and providing people with a safe place to come hangout and enjoy themselves and we value improvement,” Oleson said. “We want people to get better and improve their comedic chops.”
Harkness said there are a variety of people with different majors involved in improve club.
“I joined improv club to get better at public speaking,” Harkness said. “In the business world, you need to be able to present and conduct yourself.”
Oleson said he is definitely going to get involved in some sort of comedic club after college.
“I love comedy and have always had an itch to be on stage,” Oleson said. “I think that is something that sort of binds everyone that does comedy because we’re all looking for validation from strangers.”
Improv club focuses on community and providing students a place to relieve stress, Oleson said. He said he still keeps in contact with a lot of members who have graduated.
“Some of the best friends I’ve ever had came from improv club,” Oleson said, “A lot of things have come together in my life because of this club.”
Being involved in improv club for over a year now, Harkness said the club differentiates from other clubs because of how friendly everyone is.
“There are some organizations that I’ve gone to and I don’t know anyone there and people haven’t reached out to me and actually sat down and had a conversation with me,” Harkness said. “Whereas with improv, we try to talk with new people, get them involved and form that bond and friendship.”
Within the five years, Oleson has been a member of improv club, their professionalism and organization have been the biggest improvement he said.
“Improv club has improved on how we prepare our members for performing and dealing with administration and institutions,” Oleson said. “We have gotten better at working with the University to promote our events.”
Improv club has practices Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7pm in Beacom 302.
“If someone is interested in comedy and has an itch to get up on stage and receive attention and validation from stranger’s improv is going to be your best bet,” Oleson said. “If you’re just looking for a good group of people to hang out with and laugh this is the only group dedicated to that.”