ASU comedy troupes express talent for entertainment

Biochemistry freshman Anna Salibi discusses a skit for an upcoming show for charity. The comedy clubs preforms every Friday in the Memorial Union. (Photo by Murphy Bannerman)

Several comedy troupes operating on the Tempe campus give opportunities for students to express their comedic side, while providing them with experience they can use in the professional world.

Alumnus Danny Vega said each group offers different comedic approaches, and that performers must be prepared to adopt new techniques to succeed.

“Barren Mind Improv is based around performers doing on-the-spot, improvisational comedy,” Vega said. “(Farce Side Comedy Hour) is different in that it revolves around sketch comedy, which must be written and rehearsed prior to the show itself.”

All of the clubs perform in the Memorial Union basement.

Vega said the third group, Stand Up vs. the World, focuses on group members performing prepared stand-up comedy individually.

Journalism senior Chet Gole secured an internship as a writers’ production intern with The Late Show With David Letterman in New York City following his experience directing Farce Side shows.

“I would not be where I am right now if it wasn’t for our comedy troupes,” he said.

Gole said he was recently able to participate in a sketch alongside comedian and actor Steve Martin.

“My boss cast me in the sketch as a butler alongside Martin,” Gole said. “It was absolutely unreal.”

While the Farce Side and Barren Mind Comedy groups have been present at ASU for more than 20 years, Stand Up vs. the World was started by Vega and Chris Nash four years ago.

“Those guys started it up from nothing,” Gole said. “Then it was handed off to another director, Jake Davis, who took it further and made it what it is today.”

Film and media studies senior Cory Charlton is the current Farce Side director. He spent last semester as a full-time writer and performer.

Charlton said the three groups are closely affiliated, and over time, the comedians grow very close to one another.

“The atmosphere is like one big family,” Charlton said. “When you have people sharing their creative thoughts and ideas so often, they really get used to opening up to each other on a deeper level.”


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