Improv comedy troupe performs during Family Weekend

By Katie Monigan

Arts & Life Editor

For Family Weekend, improvisational comedy troupe We Brake for Nobody performed twice last Saturday, once in the Elaine Langone Center Forum and once in Trout Auditorium.

The show began with three videos of skits the members prepared beforehand. The last video introduced their three new members: Ben Rees ’14, Julian Fleming ’14 and Meg Visokey ’13, who all joined in September. They then played a series of games that incorporated audience suggestions.

The final game was called “Innuendos.” All the troupe members stand in a line and the audience suggests an object or occupation, and each member steps out, one at a time, and says, “I like my men like I like my blank,” and then justifies their answer. Since members are not forced to offer an answer for every audience suggestion, this fast-paced game is more amusing than it sounds. The show consisted of about 10 games, and every game triggered significant laughter from the crowd.

We Brake for Nobody was founded in 1998 by Ben Wellington, who then went on to start a troupe at NYU called Dangerbox. We Brake consists of 11 members, two of which are women.

“Men have historically had more power and influence, which makes it easier and funnier for them to be vulnerable on stage. Women, however, not only have to be funny, they have to combat the subconscious and societal structure that has been around since a society of people was a thing,” Sam Nelsen ’11 said.

Their two women are up to the challenge.

“Meg [Visokey] and Ali Keller [’12] represent the females in our troupe and are extremely hilarious,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen explained that the troupe members are generally minimally experienced in “improv,” if at all and just “tend to be naturally funny.” They do practice twice a week for an hour and a half, and more recently have been learning “long form improv” from a group from Chicago called Charles Grodin that includes We Brake alum Lars Weborg ’06. Long form is more like an improvised play, rather than individual games.

According to Jack Wiles ’12, practices are more frequently “very unstructured and basically time for us to get to know each other’s senses of humor. We also like to get a little more crude in practice compared to our shows.”

He says this is because it’s more challenging to not be crude, but also because there are frequently parents and small children in their audiences.

“We don’t use [practice] time to plan out what we are going to say or do, we use it to become better and more comfortable with making scenes work. We have to practice creating character, living in circumstances and other aspects of improv that help us fit the form,” Nelsen said.

Judging by the crowd at the 4:00 p.m. Trout Auditorium show, there is plenty of enthusiasm on campus for We Brake. Expect to see continued growth from John “One Hit Wonder” Pikowski ’13, Jasper “Banana Cat” Young ’12, Meg “Pie Kill” Visokey, Jack “JR” Wiles and the rest of the We Brake members.

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