Bad Grammer to perform last show of spring
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 14:05
JustArts spoke with Jen Kleinrock ’12, who is a member of Bad Grammer. The group performs in both long- and short-form sketches and holds open practices where anyone on campus can learn how to make people laugh or just have some fun. Bad Grammer’s semester show will be held this Friday at 9 p.m. in Cholmondeley’s. The event is billed as the group’s seniors’ last show at Brandeis, but they also have the opportunity to come back and perform as alumni. This year, several alumni, including recent graduates Amy Thompson ’11 and Dave Frederick ’11, will be performing once more.
JustArts: How long have you been in Bad Grammer? How did you get involved?
Jen Kleinrock ’12: I’ve been in Bad Grammer since I was a sophomore, so since September 2009. … Herbie Rosen ’12 told me to audition for improv troupes at the activities fair that year and I did and I got in and it was really fun. It’s a good community.
JA: What made you choose Bad Grammer in particular?
JK: The way that the system works for getting into improv troupes is that you audition until you get into one and then pretty much everyone just accepts the first one that they get into. It’s more of a feeling than anything else. You get kind of a vibe from the group and every group has a different style of comedy so … you end up where you fit the best in the end.
JA: What makes Bad Grammer special as opposed to the other improv groups on campus?
JK: We’re really wacky and strange. For us it’s less about potty humor and randomness. We go big or go home.
JA: How much does the Bad Grammer lineup change year to year? How has it changed since you joined?
JK: It definitely changes a lot. We take two to three, sometimes more, people per year. So it’s definitely a very different group than when I got in but we still have the same kind of attitude. … It changes because [there are] different people in the group, but [they are] the same kind of people. It’s like a cycle.
JA: Why does Bad Grammer hold an alumni show every year?
JK: Bad Grammer is one of the younger improv troupes and so a lot of alumni are still close to our hearts and have been in the group with a lot of [current members] so it’s almost like a reunion for everybody. … It’s more hanging out.
JA: How much do the alumni actually participate in the show?
JK: The way it’s set up usually is we have about half an hour of the current Bad Grammer and then we have for the next half hour all the alumni so all the alumni will be in at least one or two games in the show.
JA: How often does Bad Grammer practice? What do practices consist of, considering improv is supposed to be made up on the spot?
JK: We practice twice a week, for two hours on Thursday and three hours on Sunday. Honestly what practicing for improv is just playing the games. We have some games that we play that we only do in practice because they’re about building an environment or relationships or really strengthening character work but most of what we do in practice is just the games that we do in shows and figuring out what particular things there need to be to make the game funny and for the show to be successful.
th JA: What is your favorite improv game?
JK: A lot of people will disagree with me about this, but my favorite game that we play is called Trip Dub and it’s where three people are up and they’re in this location and nobody is speaking for themselves and so someone would be voicing my character and it’s like a circle. It’s really complicated.
JA: What do you do to cope with the awkward moment when something you say during a performance does not make the audience laugh?
JK: That definitely happens and I think the more you kind of acknowledge that it wasn’t funny and move on from there, the better it is. Because if everyone is still expecting it to be funny and you’re just standing there waiting for somebody to laugh, it’s horrifying. You just kind of have to push through that. We know that everything we say is not going to be funny, clearly. But hopefully it is more often than it isn’t.