If students are interested in having dinner with a 5-foot gorilla, making friends and laughing until their stomach hurts, the improv comedy workshop is the place. The workshop takes place every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Manwaring Center, rooms 368 and 369.
The workshop is managed by Matt Richen, a sophomore majoring in marriage and family studies. Richen oversees the workshops, games and skits that are held every Wednesday. These activities build confidence as they improvise scenes and complete challenges without scripts or preparation.
Richen was first introduced to improv comedy by his roommate three semesters ago. From the beginning improv was “really, really funny,” Richen said. To him, the environment was supportive and full of hilarious and kind people, which kept him coming back.
Richen laughed as he gestured to a group playing a game in the other room.
“The people here, they are amazing,” Richen said. “These are some of my closest friends now; I come for them.”
Thanks to improv, Richen said he can now roll with any situation in life.
“I’m the king of interviews now,” he said.
Richen said he’s a more confident person now than before he started.
Jessica Blanning, a junior studying art education, first came to an improv showcase to support her brother — unsure if she would have a good time. She left feeling accepted and included like she was adopted into a big family.
Blanning never thought of herself as a funny person, but at the end of the showcase, she was invited to come up and join the group onstage. This experience sparked her love of improv. She kept coming to the workshops thereafter to develop her talents.
“I haven’t missed a single improv night; it’s my highlight of the week and my roommates can attest to it,” said Blanning. “If you come to improv, you leave with lifelong friends.”