Improv Club Spreads Joy


LEADING THE WAY Kuehn introduces the club to the next improv game. He gets everyone ready to have a good time. “People need a place where they can go, and they can just hear some funny things, laugh, even if you’re not even up there performing,” said Kuehn. “We have people who come here every week just to watch some people say funny things, just be in the audience and maybe yell a prompt or two. ‘That was something funny, that was something good.’ And it’s really just a place where people know that no matter what no one’s gonna judge them.”

Sophia Esselman, Reporter

Improv Club is playing a game, and three students are trying to piece together a story in the Wild West while only saying a couple words at a time. It’s been good so far but now they’re at a loss, and that’s when Junior TJ Kuehn, a lieutenant in the club steps in. With a new cowboy on the scene the pace picks back up again, and everyone’s back to laughing.

Kuehn is one of only three officers in the club who help lead the games and choose participants. He and the two other officers are in charge of running the club, picking the games they play, and the people who perform in them. The whole meeting is reminiscent of a theater performance, but there’s still a great sense of community.

“It’s really just a place where people know that no matter what no one’s gonna judge them,” Kuehn said. “We have people who get up there, and sure they probably never done improv before and they maybe don’t know the best thing to say or the best way to go with the scene, but they know that they’re safe. They know they can get up there and they can be anyone, anything.”

Kuehn’s been in the club since freshman year when his theater teachers told him about it. Even though it was virtual he still enjoyed it a lot. Before he moved here he attended a camp called Improv Mania where he learned a lot about how to do improv and act.

“There’s so many different ways I’ve heard people talk about improv, and basically it’s just being in the moment and trying,: Kuehn said. “You’re not trying to be funny. It’s gonna be funny no matter what you do. You’re just trying to get up there and say something, talk about the prompt. My mind is usually pretty blank when I’m up there. Just thinking about what’s the best thing I can say in the situation. How can I help the fellow people on stage? How do we get to the goal? How do we get them into the scene? How do we start the scene? Like everything like that, you’re just really thinking about what’s the best option you can make, and at some point, there’s not a lot of thinking and you just, you just gotta go for it. You just gotta say whatever is up there because you gotta get the scene moving. So, yeah, pretty blank.”

Improv Club is open for anyone to join, and you don’t need to do anything other than watch and have a good time.

“In improv, it’s a little bit different from acting,” said Kuehn. “In acting, you kind of have a character. You have a role. You have a script. You know what you’re going to be and you’re going to keep it that way. I think acting is great, but improv brings this whole new level of being able to be yourself while also being somebody else. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful dynamic to get to that. I consider myself lucky to get to watch these kids do this every week. This was a beautiful club and I’m so thankful for it.”

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