ASU Comedy hosts Friday shows at the Memorial Union

Comedy troupes get together every Friday night for variety show at MU

ASU Comedy, a student-run collective, brings together an eclectic group of comedy troupes every Friday at the Memorial Union.

With the Tempe and Phoenix comedy scene growing, there is a place for comedians of every level to perform. Lawn GnomeFirst Friday and similar outlets lend a platform to fledgling comics, while Tempe Improv and Stand Up Live draw national headliners.

Comedians of various forms and styles can be found setting up, rehearsing and hanging out every Monday night before the 8:00 p.m. showtime at the Union Stage on the lower level of the MU. Three troupes perform different kinds of comedy: sketch, improv and stand-up. 

Farce Side Comedy Hour

Farce Side Comedy Hour does sketch comedy every Friday at the Union Stage as part of the ASU Comedy show. They usually kick off the event at 8:00 p.m. with some homemade sketch comedy.

Matt Steiner, a senior communication major, has been a director of Farce Side Comedy since spring 2016. His first experience with comedy at ASU was as a performer in Barren Mind Improv, in which he still performs. 

“Farce Side deals with sketch comedy, similar to Saturday Night Live,” he said. “Think almost like mini comedic theatre, if you will. So each week, every cast member on Farce Side writes. Every week they’ll submit sketches and we’ll kind of revise them. And throughout the week we’ll start memorizing them, blocking them, getting costumes and everything like that sorted.”

Standup vs. The World

Standup vs. The World is a troupe that puts on stand-up shows after Farce Side Comedy every Friday night. Their repertoire ranges from plain stand-up, one act right after another, to roast tournaments and even an upcoming one-hour special they will be producing with an ASU comedian (details to be announced). 

David Peña, a sophomore philosophy major, is a director of Standup vs. The World. He’s been doing stand-up consistently for over a year. He also performs in Farce Side Comedy and Barren Mind.

“It’s a weekly stand-up show we put on here at the MU lower level basement stage. We get a couple local comics, (but) we try to keep the lineup as many ASU students as possible,” he said. “We go to the local Phoenix comedy scene to get features. The best guys out of that, they take time out of the day to come by and do the show for us.”

Barren Mind Improv

As the last performance of the Friday night show, Barren Mind Improv wraps things up with an improvisation routine.

Evan Fairbanks, a senior sustainability major, is a director of Barren Mind Improv. He got into comedy through his high school improv group. He said that as an out-of-state student, he decided to jump right into the ASU comedy scene by auditioning for Barren Mind in order to keep performing. 

“We do shows every Friday night at ten. Sometimes we do extra shows that are either extracurricular or sometimes not even related to school," Fairbanks said. "For Barren Mind we have a rehearsal Sunday, from three to six. We go over the shows we want to do, we go over the games we want to play, we go over how to get better. Tuesdays and Thursdays we have rehearsals from 12 to 1:15. Those are our more intimate rehearsals."

Fairbanks said he never had any interest in a career in comedy before joining ASU Comedy. After joining and seeing other people successfully pursue humor as a profession, he said he realized comedy can be a way to make a living.

Tempe Late Night

Tempe Late Night is the newest of the groups under the ASU Comedy umbrella. They don't perform on Friday nights, but rather on Monday nights on the same stage. Tempe Late Night is a combination of the three forms of comedy one would see on a typical Friday ASU Comedy show.

Colton Loving is senior studying creative writing and Latin. He's currently the president of Tempe Late Night and performs stand-up. He described Tempe Late Night as "more of a variety show."

"We do sketches and we do improv and we work on some stand-up," he said. "We try to recreate the feeling of a set and being in front of a live audience, that kind of thing...In between segments we bring in people who do stand-up. Comics within ASU Comedy and the local comedians that are trying to do this professionally or are bigger names in the area. 

Read more about Tempe Late Night here

These shows occur every week on Mondays and Fridays starting at 8 p.m. on the Union Stage, which is located on the lower level of the Memorial Union (below the entrance to Pitchforks). 

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