Arts

Continued success hardly improbable for U of O improvised comedy team

Sabrina Nemis | Fulcrum Staff

From its small weekly jams to a landmark gold-medal performance in Toronto, Mission Improvable has come a long way.

The University of Ottawa’s English-language improvised comedy team took home first prize at the University of Toronto’s improv summit Jan. 26. Team co-captain Brooke Cameron says this has been a great year for the team so far.

“It’s become something quite big—it’s pretty exciting,” she says.

A master of biology candidate, Cameron started going to improv jams as an undergraduate student.

Mission Improvable beat out teams from McGill, Brock, Western, and the summit’s hosts, the U of T.

“It was a really big deal just to represent Ottawa, because Ottawa doesn’t have a lot of comedy right now,” Cameron says.

The team was almost knocked out of the competition at the summit, but a wild card brought them back in for the last round. Beatboxing about didgeridoos and cheating roommates won Mission Improvable a victory measured by audience applause.

The win has helped motivate the team as they prepare to head to Montreal for McGill’s annual summit Feb. 9. It also shows how far the team and its audience have come since Cameron started.

“Our audience is slowly growing,” says Cameron. “Initially it was just our friends. We’d do it at 1848, and we’d have like 10 people there.”

Now the team sees audiences of 40 to 50 students coming out to support them and enjoy an evening of comedy. Mission Improvable has a monthly Wednesday-night show at Lunenburg Pub & Bar on Waller Street.

“It’s a different style of theatre,” says Cameron. “It’s not the kind of thing where it’s well-rehearsed and we have a song and dance routine, and you’re going to see perfection. That’s not what improv is.

“Improv is just people going out there, putting themselves out on a limb, and just trying to make the audience join them in the adventure.”

The members of Mission Improvable are also excited to perform at the Cracking Up the Capital event at Algonquin College on Feb. 7. The Whose Line is it Anyway?-style performance will showcase youth comedy in Ottawa.

“This is the first comedy festival that Ottawa’s ever had, and they’ve asked Carleton and uOttawa to be part of youth night—which is being hosted by Colin Mochrie [of Whose Line is it Anyway?], which is everybody’s dream on the team,” Cameron says.

With affordable pricing, the festival is a cheap and fun way for U of O students to see a showcase of youth comedy and support Mission Improvable.

Students who would like to try improv or just spend an evening laughing their heads off can follow Mission Improvable on Twitter or Facebook for more information about practices and monthly shows.

“It’s a neat way for people who don’t even have to have an acting background to just go out there and have some fun and not be themselves,” Cameron says. “Don’t plan anything, don’t premeditate, just go up on the stage and do something.”