Humor Artists do a song and dance
Allie Tollaksen | Wednesday, March 26, 2014
In a semester packed with dynamic performances, Humor Artists (HA) will take the stage again tonight at Carey Auditorium at 8 p.m. with a 30-minute, entirely improvised musical. Called “Humor Artists Present: Suspended Disbelief,” the performance will consist of the group acting out a spur-of-the-moment musical based solely off of suggestions from the crowd.
The group, Notre Dame’s only comedy group on campus, is known for their classic improv games while taking the stage at Legends and their Notre Dame-centered comedy videos, including the amusing, recently-posted clip called “NDSPA: Save Our Students,” parodying those heart-wrenching ASPCA commercials we love to hate.
An improvised musical, on the other hand, is a less common performance for the comedy collective. Still, this isn’t their first time to the improv musical rodeo: Humor Artists have produced longform shows like this both on campus and in competitions, an impressive feat. With the help of piano man sophomore Pat Hansen, the group manages to put on shows in which everything from the music to the scenes is generated on the spot.
“It’s pretty simple,” HA Vice President Conor Haney said. “We get a prompt from the audience and do a musical based on said prompt, singing (or rapping) to the improvised stylings of our pianist Pat ‘-in-the-Hat’ Hansen. His fingers are magical.”
The troupe of performers, who go by Suspended Disbelief (you bet they wear suspenders), is made up of a handful of members from the larger Humor Artists group.
“Not all of HA participates. Nine of us perform in the non-musical longform improv sets, and four of us and Pat in the musical ones,” Haney said of the troupe. “Of the group, it is only sophomore Steven Goickecheskza’s second show with us. He’s got the voice of an angel, the dance moves of a devil and the moistness of a half-angel, half-devil’s food cake.”
While the longform format isn’t new for them, a move to the bigger stage at Carey Auditorium is. Increased demand moved the group to the Hesburgh Library auditorium.
“Usually we do these kinds of shows at the Washington Hall Black Box Theater with little publicity, but we needed to increase seating capacity because so many people want to watch/adore us,” Haney said.
When asked if there was anything else to know about Suspended Disbelief, Haney replied in true Humor Artist fashion.
“I’d like you to know that HA is accepting of all audience members,” Haney said. “Especially the Finnish, whether you’re from Finland or have actually fins. Except for orcas. I watched ‘Blackfish’ on Netflix. You’re not killing any of my friends, orcas.”
With only a few more shows left this year and growing adoration, “Humor Artists Present: Suspended Disbelief” won’t be one to miss this evening. Tickets are free. No orcas, please.