BC Comedy Club CCE Places Third In Improv Tournament
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 10:02
This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Improv Boston hosted the Beanpot College Improv Tournament, in which 10 college comedy teams competed for first, second, and third place. The Committee for Creative Enactments (CCE), one of Boston College’s four comedy clubs, competed in the competition, winning third place in the tough competition with their comedic talent, experience and innovation.
BC has been represented in the tournament for many years now by CCE and by, until two years ago, My Mother’s Fleabag.
The tournament itself is unlike any comedy show students have seen at BC in the past. The difficulty level of performing is kicked up several notches by thrusting the competing teams into timed, surprise challenges (aka comedy scenes), each with its own set of rules. In most challenges, each team has a possibility to earn up to 15 points from the combined scores of three different judges, each rating the scene in one of three different areas: Skill, Story, and Entertainment. All three judges are always trained comedians from Improv Boston.
Advancing to the finals on Saturday night requires a large amount of comedic talent, which CCE had on full display over the tournament’s three days. Some readers might know CCE best from the scripted murder mystery shows that the club puts on once a semester. Others might know them as the club that doesn’t make cuts amongst its members. But CCE does plenty of improv comedy as well, with a handful of shows across campus each semester. For the Improv tournament this year, the club brought its big guns.
Improv coaches Jack Masterson, A&S ’13, and Emma Missett, A&S ’13, carefully chose their Beanpot team from the club’s ranks last fall. Along with Jack and Emma, the team consisted of Phil Seidl, LSOE ’13, Kelsey Maher, A&S ’14, Jill Lawler, CSON ’15, Gabby Colavecchio, A&S ’15, Sara Daley, A&S ’15, Zander Weiss, A&S ’15, and Gavin Buckley, A&S ’16. The sheer number of sophomores and freshman on the team speaks to the wealth of young talent currently in the CCE.
On Thursday night, CCE performed “line games,” in which teammates needed to come up with quick punch lines to various inspirations. They fared well, tying for first by the end of the night with Gordon College’s Sweaty-Toothed Madmen.
CCE then performed four short improv challenges on Friday night, scoring 48 out of a possible 60 points for the night.
All of this was a lead-in for Saturday, the tournament’s longest day of competition. Teams competed at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, which led to the top three teams competing in the finals at 9 p.m. Fortunately, CCE was in full-form right at the start of the night, when each team had to perform long-form improv. As opposed to short-form improv “games,” in which teams perform scenes (three minutes max) with rules, long-form has no guidelines. Simply, all members of a team perform a string of comedy scenes for several minutes. At any point, a member of the club can take inspiration from a given scene and begin a new one, creating an uninterrupted flow of comedy.
With the long-form competition, CCE advanced to first place, winning a whopping 57 of the round’s 60 possible points. Behind this win was an innovation from teammate Jill Lawler, who suggested, mere days before the competition, that the team should structure their long-form comedy around a made-up word. On Saturday, that word was “Chiswick.” A CCE teammate would come on stage and make up a definition for “Chiswick,” inspiring his/her team into a scene that conveys that definition. Definitions ranged from a sex-change to a letter with awkward declarations.
The judges, and the audience, loved it. For this innovation, as well as for her great comedic ability, Jill Lawler won MVP of the entire tournament.
In the second round of the night, a lightning round of short scenes for 60 more points before the finals, CCE lost some of its momentum, but gained it all back after an unusual, difficult scene inspiration from one of the judges. The club had to create a scene that disregarded all the basic rules of improv. The ensuing chaos was an audience and judge favorite that night, as every member of the team slid worked together effortlessly to create a manic hilarity. Weiss had his back to the audience. Seidl screamed “WE’RE DOING IT!” Colavecchio asked unnecessary questions. Buckley would walk onstage for mere seconds, just to scream “NO!” and walk off-stage. Every comedy rule was broken, and the resulting action showed the incredible talent that CCE possesses.