Good, clean comedy has always been a favorite of BYU students. But have you ever wondered where it all began?
In the fall of 1992, freshman Eric Snider set out to form the first comedy/improv troupe on campus. Named after the head resident of his Deseret Towers apartment, The Garrens Comedy Troupe began performing in 1993. For the next eight years they performed weekly shows to sold out audiences and paved the way for the future of BYU comedy. Now the troupe is reuniting for the first time in 12 years on Saturday.
“We like to say that we invented comedy at BYU,” said Snider, who now works as a movie critic. Snider is looking forward to reuniting the group to perform timeless favorites that he’s sure will appeal to today’s audiences.
“Jokes about obnoxious roommates are timeless,” he said.
The Garrens was the springboard for many students who now find themselves working in the performing industry. One such person is actor Lincoln Hoppe, who was part of the original cast. Hoppe was first introduced to improv comedy by some friends on a typical college night. The next day he saw a poster in the Harris Fine Arts Center for auditions and thought he’d give it a go. He made the troupe and it changed his path from becoming an advertising copywriter to a Los Angeles based actor.
“The Garrens was my first thing that made me want to go into acting,” he said.
Since then, Hoppe has been successful in films such as ‘Saints and Soliders: Airborne Creed,’ in which he both starred and helped co-write.
Daryn Tufts, a member of the Garrens from 1995-1998, recalls his first time seeing a show.
“It understood BYU,” Tufts said. “It understood the culture and humor. It was a show for us.”
Tufts has gone on to become an actor and writer to successful films including ‘American Mormon’ and ‘The Singles Ward.’ Tufts attributes his start in the industry to his time with the Garrens.
“I can take everything I’ve done professionally and trace it back to the Garrens,” Tufts said.
After a 12-year hiatus the group is reuniting to perform some of their timeless classics.
“I think it will hit the nostalgia button for those who saw us in the old days and appeal to the new crowd as well,” Snider said. “We’re doing stuff from the old days but we made sure to choose things that are still funny.”
Sinder, Hoppe and Tufts will join other former Garrens troupe members this Saturday at 7:00p.m. for the must-see 20th Anniversary Reunion show in the JSB Auditorium. Tickets are available in advance for $8 at http://bit.ly/garrens or for $10 at the door.