By SHAWN HAMMOND
One of BYU’s longest-running comedy groups will be performing two shows on campus Friday at 151 Tanner Building. Divine Comedy, an all-sketch comedy group that is part of BYU’s Student Humor Union, will begin the shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
According to Ryan Hamilton, president of Divine Comedy and the Student Humor Union club, Divine Comedy started about five-and-a-half years ago under the direction of then-BYU student Randy Davis.
Hamilton, who first saw the group perform at last year’s Spring Fling, said his favorite part about being in Divine Comedy is the sketch conception process.
“The most fun for me is the rehearsal right after a performance where we start pitching all these new ideas around,” Hamilton said. “Although, we don’t perform improv, we do use it as we’re writing. That’s why we have a month between shows because we like to have mostly new material every time.”
Hamilton tried out for Divine Comedy at their first audition after the Spring Fling show he saw. He said this year’s auditions, held in September, drew 69 Divine Comedy hopefuls, with 5 making the final cut.
One of this year’s new cast members, Lana Woolstenhulme, a broadcast journalism major from Plano, Texas, said the audition process was a little daunting but great fun.
“They told us to go up and be funny for three minutes and I was like, ‘okay,'” Woolstenhulme said. “So, I just went crazy up there, I was spaz-tastic.”
Megan Anderson, a UVSC student from Lakewood, Colo., said she saw one of Divine Comedy’s recent performances and that the groups biggest strength is their enthusiasm.
“I think the thing I liked the most about them was that they were really high energy,” Anderson said. “They would do well even if the crowd wasn’t really into it.”
Hamilton said the key to the group’s vigorous performance is their “notebooks o’ comedy,” little notepads that each of the members carry everywhere they go so they can write down any wacky sketch ideas that pop into their heads. At each rehearsal, group members pull out their notepads and share the best ideas with the troupe.
“The great thing about doing sketch comedy as opposed to improv is that we know exactly what we’re getting into,” Hamilton says. “That’s what allows us to keep it high energy — we don’t have to rely on energy from the crowd.”
Local a cappella group 259 will be opening Friday’s show. Tickets are $3 and can be purchased before the show in 3326 WSC or at the door.