Comedy groups at BYU-Idaho offer students opportunities to make new friends, connect with other students and develop skills such as teamwork and effective communication.
A variety of students gathered last week in the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center to audition for two on-campus comedy groups, Humor Code and Unscripted, who will be performing throughout this semester.
Students who joined these comedy groups said they were looking for a place to belong, to make connections and develop a variety of skills. Some of these skills include public speaking, being proactive in group settings and learning how to handle awkwardness and nervousness.
“I found most of my friends at Humor Code,” said Kait Pedersen, a sophomore studying art and head manager of Humor Code.
Humor Code is a comedy group established on campus in 2012. It produces and rehearses sketches twice a week to perform throughout the semester. The group will perform five times during Fall 2019.
“During my first semester, I didn’t really like to socialize,” Pedersen said. “Therefore, having a place where I could be at twice a week and see people who knew my name and would talk to me was so important.”
Unscripted doesn’t prepare and rehearse sketches. Instead, it presents improvised skits based only on impromptu audience suggestions. The group was established five years ago and has gone by different names such as Academy of Comedy, Laughter Day Saints and Hot Spot. Unscripted will perform four times this semester.
Michael Neff, a senior studying data science, has participated in Unscripted each of his seven semesters on campus. He said he’s learned and developed several life skills while doing improvised comedy with Unscripted.
“I’ve become a lot more intrinsic,” Neff said. “I learned how to deal with awkwardness and how to embrace my awkwardness. I’ve also got a lot of practice in really cheesy pick-up lines, and my wife loves them.”
Unscripted doesn’t look for participants who already come with humor, said Kaden Walker, a sophomore studying biology and assistant manager for Unscripted. Instead, it seeks those who are ready to commit and build their teammates up.
“Being on stage is a bit nerve-wracking, but everybody is very supportive,” Pedersen said. “We try to keep a good group dynamic, so it’s not just the most talented people who get into Humor Code. It’s the people who work well with others and the people who will support one another, that really make the team work.”
Humor Code meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the MC Little Theatre to work on their comedy skills, create sketches and rehearse for the presentations.
Unscripted meets on Fridays at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater to develop and practice improvising skills. There’s also an improvising comedy workshop everyone can attend each Wednesday at 7 p.m. in MC 369.
All performance dates and times are found on the BYU-I website.
Making people laugh is what they are here to do, so Humor Code and Unscripted invite each student to come watch the shows and leave stress at the door.