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Ohio State’s comedy network to put on second annual year-end variety show

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Six comedy-driven student organizations at Ohio State will collaborate for the second annual “Great Friday Show” this weekend. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Ohio State’s comedy network, which includes the six comedy-driven student organizations on campus, will be putting on its second annual variety show, the “Great Friday Show,” this weekend.

The groups performing are 8th Floor Improv, By the Slice Improv, Fishbowl Improv, Buckeye Stand-Up Comedy Club, The Sundial Humor Magazine and Backburner Sketch Comedy. Each group will have the opportunity to showcase its members’ abilities.

Will Thornton, the president of 8th Floor Improv and a third-year in computer and information science, said the idea of the variety show sprouted after creating the OSU Comedy Network Facebook page at the beginning of last year. The page was meant to be a way for all the comedy groups on campus to connect and promote each other’s events, he said.

At the end of last year, the groups that belonged to the page decided to come together and perform so student audiences could experience more than one type of comedy, Thornton said.

“If we can get those people out, we can all help each other because every single one of the groups is very talented and we all are sort of different in different ways,” Thornton said. “It’s a way to reach new audiences, but also sort of bring all these different ideas together.”

Thornton said 8th Floor will be performing long-form improv during the show. He said long-form  improv is more often performed in larger theaters in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. The performers will take a suggestion from the audience and perform a set of scenes based on that suggestion.

“Essentially we will have 15 minutes and we’ll get a suggestion from the audience at the top (of the performance),” Thornton said. “(It) could be anything at all, and then we will do what we call a set based off that suggestion. It’s essentially like a loose collection of interconnected scenes all sort of branching off from the initial suggestion, whatever it might be.”

Alex Lacey, the president of Buckeye Stand-Up Comedy Club and a third-year in biomedical science, said there are a few differences between last year’s show and this year’s, including the change to a larger venue and the addition of By the Slice Improv to the roster.

Lacey also said preparing to perform as a stand-up comedian is different than preparing to perform in an improv group because of the lack of a team dynamic. Instead, stand-up performers practice by critiquing each other and holding workshops.

Lacey said the club’s officers chose comedians for the variety show based on students’ hard work and growth as performers.

“We put a lot of effort into picking people that we thought had been putting in work, that had been going out to open-mic stuff and had been writing new jokes and have greatly improved their material,” Lacey said.

Lauren Moliterno, president of the Sundial Humor Magazine and a fourth-year in English, said the way Sundial participates in the show is different than other groups. She said Sundial has more leeway with its material because it’s not tied to one type of comedy.

“I’m reading a poem, we have someone singing a song, we have someone giving a traditional monologue, someone reading a piece and then someone else reading like a list piece,” Moliterno said. “We have this wide variety of different things we can do.”

Moliterno said she wants the show to be a place in which students can relax and enjoy themselves before the stress of finals.

“I’m a big proponent of comedy in general,” Moliterno said. “I think it’s really important for mental health to laugh a little bit.”

“The Great Friday Show” will be on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall Room 100. Admission is free.

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