Fat Tuesday Debutantes perform improv comedy shows on campus

The Fat Tuesday Debutantes held their first improv comedy show of the academic year on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Huntington Recital Hall. The theme of the night was “Why Is It Still Hot Outside?”

The show was approximately an hour long, and there were seven parts to the performance where various debutants participated in an improv-type game.

Some of the games of the night included Blind Lines (pulling random lines out during an audience-suggested scene), Party Quirks (the “host” of the party is guessing the various quirks of the other party members, which were assigned to them by the audience) and World’s Worst (where the debutantes had to create a very short, funny scene that the prompts of the audience followed on the “the world’s worst” things or people).

The MCs of the night were Christina Everett, Sarah Howe and Michael Haskell.

Michael Haskell (left), Christina Everett (middle) and Sarah Howe (right) were the MCs for the Oct. 2 Fat Tuesday Debutante performance. Photo by Trinity Langbein.

This performance was only Haskell’s second semester participating in improv comedy. “I have been in the audience since freshman year, and I have been more outgoing in the last couple of semesters and more authentic with myself because of this experience,” Haskell said.

Everett has been a part of FTD since her first year at college. “I definitely got more expressive and [am] afraid not to get out of the box a little bit. [I like to] create funny scenes of whatever’s coming to my head,” Everett shared.

Howe has been participating in improv since the spring semester of her sophomore year, and she feels like being in improv has gotten her “out of her shell” and that she is now “more comfortable saying wacky things.”

“I was kind of nervous at first and then I started coming to the shows. I was like, oh, I want to do that. I want to be on that stage. So I just did it. It’s been great and I love it,” Howe added.

Dr. Dan Heaton, the faculty head of the Fat Tuesday Debutantes, describes what the group is and how the group got started.

“[The Fat Tuesday Debutantes] is a pre-professional activity offered through the Department of Communication, Art and Theater, so you can earn credit for participating. And there is no audit process. We meet once a week for an hour to play games and learn how to do [improvisational comedy].

We’ve been doing this since 1995, and the ‘Tuesday’ [in the group’s name] is referencing Mardi Gras. Our very first year, we had an improv contest where we invited local groups to come, and the title of that was ‘Fat Tuesday’s Improv Contests and Debutante Coalition.’ And we liked the name “Fat Tuesday,” so we just kept it as the name of the group after that.”

If you are interested in joining the Fat Tuesday Debutantes, they have their class every Tuesday at 5 pm in Huber-Spielman Hall, room 127.

Howe says that “There are some people who only come to class and they don’t perform. That’s totally fine. Everyone’s at different places in their improv skills.” Anyone who signs up to join the group is not required to participate in the shows.

“If you want to join improv, I say just go for it and come to a practice and see if you can watch and see how it goes. Or you could participate some and play games,” Everet said.

Haskell added, “It is a very forgiving environment. We aren’t harsh, [and] it’s very open. We all have our unfunny moments. That’s why we practice to get better. It’s not expecting perfection 24/7.”

The Fat Tuesday Debutantes hold performances once a month, with their next performance dates and times for this semester outlined below:

Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 10-11 pm in Huntington Recital Hall

Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 10-11 pm in Huntington Recital Hall

  • Trinity Langbein

    Trinity is a senior English Literature, Creative Writing and Spanish triple-major. She enjoys all things humanities and loves to learn about different cultures.

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