If you enjoy laughing and have a love for comedy, there is no doubt that you are familiar with Sarah Lawrence's Lampoon troupe. The group specializes in sketch writing and improvisation, and has been making quite a name for itself both on and off campus.
Lampoon meets once a week as a class taught by active comedian Keisha Zoller. "It's structured like a UCB class, with a warm-up, with a 10-minute break in the middle [of class], and then if there is a show coming up, we rehearse for that show," said Isabella 'Izzy' Roland (‘16). "Otherwise, we practice new [comedic] forms, or new improv skills, even sketch lab!" Many 'Pooners have noted that the class is highly resourceful as well. According to Maxwell Hegley (‘15), "Once a semester, we have 'Industry Day', where everyone sits in a circle, and we ask Keisha for 3 hours about comedy, acting, living in New York, etc."
When the group was asked about Zoller herself, they all gushed with praise. "She's just awesome," says Charlotte Cwikolski (‘15). "You want to impress [her]," echoed Maddie Fischer (‘15). Zoller is the head of the UCB Training Center Diversity Program, where many 'Pooners have taken classes and worked as interns. She has given talks and participated in panels concerning race in the comedy industry, and works actively to ensure that scholarship money is given to up-and-coming comedians from minority backgrounds.
SLC Lampoon is a group that has been on the rise for the past few years, going from a rarely-advertised club to a very cohesive, highly-entertaining, award-winning campus organization. Speaking about his freshman year on the troupe, Patrick Vermillion (‘15) said, "It was pretty shitty.” He continued to elaborate on how they would have a maximum of about 30 people show up to the shows. He also admitted that, in the past, tensions were present. Sam Henneberry (‘15) explained, "There was less comedy and more drama".
However, things changed as the group began to take things more seriously. And as they took charge, they began putting together better sketches and increasing the number of shows that they did per semester (sometimes at the behest of the Theatre Department's ever-ambitious Christine Ferrell). The comedic experience of the group members also changed. When doing these interviews, there was a sense that many of them have spent half their lives constantly fine-tuning their craft. Along with UCB classes, some of them of have taken acting classes, performed high school comedy, joined other comedy troupes, and more.
When asked about her experience, Roland says that she attended art school to get an idea about the level of experience some of the members have had. However, the Lampoon troupe wants to ensure that it invites people from all backgrounds to audition, and that they more focus on who can contribute to the group as a whole.
One of the things that makes the troupe so entertaining is the bond that members of the group have with one another, which came as a surprise to the troupe, considering that they were just looking for talent and funny personality. However, they have bonded really well, which has come in large part from the touring they have done. The troupe just started touring this year, and they have already gone to places like Amherst College, Suffolk University and Harvard University. They will also be going to Chicago during spring break to participate in the College Improv Tournament National Championships.
Despite their many off-campus trips, the group is grateful for their fans at home. "Our school rocks!" said newcomer Kathleen Yates (‘17).The troupe really appreciates getting to perform on home territory after they’ve been away. Hegley said that the SLC student body is “the heart and soul of this team.”
The Lampoon troupe will be performing here at SLC on Friday, March 6 with Trike, an incredibly hot comedy troupe who have made NYC their stomping ground with their own unique brand of seamless improv. That will be their last performance before going to Nationals in Chicago over spring break on March 14.
by Nahome Diribssa ’17