UB Improv club hosts Open Mic Night

Students take a chance in the spotlight


Paul Thompson has been waiting for a chance to perform since high school and has been writing lyrics for years.

He finally got a chance to shine on Wednesday.

At UB Improv’s Open Mic Night, he brought down the house with his rap performance as one of many performers who took to the stage.

In Student Union 330, UB Improv held an Open Mic Night Wednesday night as an opportunity for anyone who wanted to perform a song or comedy routine in front of a live audience.

“We thought an Open Mic Night would be an interesting and engaging event to try,” said Corey Reisman, a senior political science major and the treasurer of UB Improv. “We do more structured things all the time, but this is something a bit different we wanted to try.”

Thompson, a senior psychology major and Jamaican-born rapper who moved to the Bronx when he was 11, was happy to add his own voice to the list of musicians.

Thompson was a fan of the show’s variety. Listening to and observing other people inspire him.

“I write from other peoples perspectives,” Thompson said. “[It’s] not always stuff about me.”

Although he has written material from his own perspective, the rapper feels he gets more out of the writing process when writing from the perspective of others.

The musical acts ranged far and wide, from a cover of Outkast’s “Roses,” to UB Improv’s event coordinator and senior English major Rachel Sawyer’s rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.”

The night’s main focus was on having fun rather than worrying about who the better performer was.

Apart from the musical acts, comedy was also a highlight of the night.

The event provided an opportunity for UB Improv members to try out new skits and routines.

Curtis LoFaro, a senior Spanish major and UB Improv president, performed a stand-up comedy act that kept the audience laughing.

Reisman acted out a scene from a movie where he played the role of two characters at once.

The evening was designed to be interactive and involve as many people as possible. The club wanted to try something different from their usual routine.

Over the course of the night, UB Improv played games that incorporated the audience.

The evening started with UB Improv members leading a game called “Blind Lines.” Audience members were asked to write down random thoughts, lines or words on pieces of paper that were then placed in a hat. UB Improv members randomly selected from the audience’s ideas and incorporated them into a scene.

The result: a crazy mix of elf farts, wild body movements and other audience-induced randomness.

Another game of the night, “Pan Left,” had the audience roaring with laughter.

Four UB Improv members walked onto the stage and stood in a square so that two people could be seen at a time. Each pair of performers was given a scenario or location they had to improvise a scene around topics such as a talk show, brothel, aquarium or auditorium.

The caller, a fifth person off to the side, decided when it as time to “pan left” and have the performers rotate onstage. The group rotates several times so the audience can see the same scene develop in different ways.

It was the variety that made the night memorable. At any given moment, there could be someone singing onstage, leading a comedy routine, acting out a movie or even playing a handful of improv games.

Reisman said diversity was the whole purpose of the open mic event.

“We are a performance based club with a membership base that is highly talented in a variety of arts that isn’t just improv,” Reisman said. “We really wanted to showcase these talents in a different setting.”

Club members and non-members alike attended to show off their skills, enjoy themselves and the acts and overall, just have a good laugh.

Students were able to sign up prior to the event or walk in and decide to perform.

The UB Improv Club has weekly meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theater for anyone interested in becoming a part of the free-spirited club.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com