Improv Central 2021 showcased remarkable talent while making unforgettable memories for the audience


Sydney Race

The 2021 Improv team sitting on one another during an act

Past the promised 7:33 p.m. on September 18, 2021, senior Zach Guikema was alone in the choir room. While he stayed behind, the rest of the Improv team shared a moment, theorizing over Zach’s whereabouts, on the auditorium’s stage. But when Zach reconvened with his team, they wiped the audience’s bored faces and replaced them with looks of happiness at the team’s outstandingly comedic performance at Improv Central. 

Before the show began, the team had a slideshow running in the auditorium with two truths and a lie about each team member, some of which were very intriguing—for example, senior Russel Baird’s lie was that he’s not afraid of hot tubs. The slideshow also included some fun questions, like “How many people are on the Improv Team?” The answers consisted of “A) Zero,” “B) One: Benji Zorn,” “C) Nine: five guys and four girls,” “D) Ten (don’t forget the director).”

Once the auditorium’s bright lights dimmed and the restless crowd silenced, the show started with each of the members, one by one, running from different corners of the auditorium, questioning why the show hadn’t started at exactly 7:33 p.m.—the start time is an “Improv thing.” This led to the moment that precluded Zach’s arrival on stage, a fitting intro to a hilarious hour and a half. 

Each act of the show was captivatingly different. There was no best act of the night or funniest improv member. Each act was equally as funny and entertaining as the last, and the team’s engagement and interaction throughout the show generated consistent levels of uproarious laughter. 

Aside from the ill tension that the stranger behind me had unknowingly started, “Party Quirks” was fairly entertaining in terms of performance.”

However, the rap battle was my personal favorite act. It showed the true colors of improvisation: coming up with remarks that would garner a reaction from the audience while still maintaining flow. The Improv team divided themselves into two groups—”Westside” and “The Cougars.” Then the moderator would point to an audience member and ask them to come up with a one syllable word for the improvisers to rhyme their bars with.  The first team to fail to come up with a rhyme on the beat would lose the round. The rap battle act ended with Westside breaking the tie between the two groups, leading them to a spot as the winners. 

At the end of each act, the stage lights changed from a dirty yellow to hues of blue and pink as the talented team collected themselves and set the stage for their next performance. The splashy transition gave the viewers a break from the harsh stage lights.

“Party Quirks,” my least favorite act, just so happened to occur right after the rap battle. Once the colored lights dimmed, an Improv team member started cold-calling audience members to suggest an object for the scene. I didn’t have my glasses on, but from the way the team member was pointing and how they said “front row,” I knew I had been picked. But just as I was about to shout out my suggestion, the person in the row behind me called out their own answer. In the simplest terms, I was upset. It was my time to shine, but the person behind me decided to rob me of my moment. 

Aside from the ill tension that the stranger behind me had unknowingly started, “Party Quirks” was fairly entertaining in terms of performance. As audience members, we got to watch the “party host” try to guess the “quirk” that each of their “party guests” possessed, quirks such as running whenever someone said “um” or having potatoes for ears. The audience got to participate by snapping whenever the guesser got close to the right answer and clapping when they finally guessed it. The agonizing feeling of knowing the guesser was close but not quite there yet overwhelmed us for only a few short seconds until the colored lights made their debut once more.

Though I adamantly think “Party Quirks” would have been better with my suggestion, Improv Central 2021 was an unforgettable watch. The Improv team displayed stellar improvisation abilities, and I absolutely can’t wait to see Improv Central 2022 at 7:33 p.m. next year.