On Wednesday evening, the TBA Improv and Sketch Comedy group put on its first show of the semester. From start to finish, the show was full of laughs; the audience, about 40 students, was drawn in for the entirety of the two hours. 

The show consisted of various acts, each one a different activity for the group to complete. Many activities were interactive and involved the audience’s input, making the performance even more pleasing to the very responsive audience.

To begin the show, new members Oliver Leeb ’21 and Anna Cass ’21 competed for the affection of an audience member. The passion that the two put into the scene proved that they were just the right additions to this astounding group of students. The audience gave prompting words such as “grapefruit” and “stressed”   to start the acts, and Leeb and Cass built upon the respective words. This particularly memorable act began what would be a fun-filled evening.

My favorite sketch of the evening was a new game for the group, in which a scene was improvised in a made up language. Performers would interact in this language, and other performers served as translators. The use of tone and body language made the scene understandable, yet humorous, due to the exaggerated movements.

Another memorable act was a series of monologues involving different group members describing various experiences. Seneca Scott ’20 discussed how, unfortunately, the most damaging part of his childhood was being forced to learn how to tell time and read a clock. The conversation would continue and evolve as members discussed their childhood experiences of being late to school and even skipping classes. The experience of the monologue was enhanced by how relatable it was; as  fellow students, we understand how challenging school can be and TBA’s acting was incredibly realistic. 

In another notable scene, Abby LeRoy ’20 laid on the floor, insisting to her “parents” that she would not go to school.  Lee, serving as the girl’s father, asked what the “fat” hand of the clock represented and joked that he had already tried to kill his daughter after having to put up with her stubbornness. 

Another interaction relatable to students across many subjects involved Scott worrying  that he would fail his physics class.  A pessimistic Caroline Kriesen ’20, acting as one of his teaching assistants, agreed that he would indeed fail the class. Even more humorous was when she proceeded to advise  him to internalize all of the problems he ever had and channel them into his physics work.  Her representation as a brutally honest teaching assistant was a relatable sentiment to many audience members and was enjoyed by the crowd. 

A very memorable joke came from Cass, who urged students to make use of the Brandeis Counseling Center because they have so many open appointments for students. The crowd roared with laughter at this point in the performance, and the show paused for a few seconds so that the audience could settle down. 

Following this segment, TBA huddled in the middle of the room, touching one another. Each member began to state their intentions for the coming months. LeRoy said she wants to have a baby with the father of eucalyptus, Scott wants to pass physics, and Leeb wants to bathe regularly. 

To conclude the evening, TBA played a line game. When prompted, the audience would give the group a word that was not a fruit, vegetable. or “dildo.” The first blank the audience called out was “blog,” and the group went on to explain the sentence, “I like my partners how I like my blogs.”  Then they went on to describe how “I like my partners how I like my crocs.” Every TBA member got involved in elaborating on the sentences.

The “I like my partners how I like my crocs” sentence was particularly amusing. Scott elaborated, “I like my partners how I like my crocs: full of holes.” The crowd roared at this sexual innuendo as Leeb would go on to say, “They look good on me; stop telling me how to live my life, Mom!”

The last few sentences elaborated on were “I once dated an umbrella,” “I once dated a clown,” “Sex with me is like origami” and “Sex with me is like JetBlue.”

TBA shows are  must-sees for Brandeis students. The passion that the group members bring to the table is inspiring and noticeable to the audience. For anyone craving a good laugh, the three shows per semester that TBA puts on will not disappoint. Before a production, TBA prepares by discussing games that have not been performed in a while and that would suit the performance space. According to member Evan Moloney ’20, “We practice maybe eight games as a group and narrow it down to about four based on which felt most natural in practice. Once we know what we'll be performing, we try not to practice those games anymore, to preserve spontaneity in the show.” This preparation is ideal, as the jokes seem authentic, realistic and very spontaneous. 

TBA has four big shows coming up throughout the rest of the semester and the group will also be seen around campus at other events. They also go off campus, according to Moloney, and are hoping to perform at Yale University in April.