BYU comedy club auditions are not all kicks and giggles

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Jenna Barton performs for BYU’s stand-up comedy group Humor U on March 7. (Maddi Dayton)

 

Sarah Thompson, a junior at BYU, auditioned three times for Divine Comedy before getting in. She felt the competitive atmosphere during each of her auditions.

“They had 150 auditions the first time I auditioned,” Thompson said. “This last year, I was nervous and didn’t want to audition four times, but my audition was luckily funny, and I made it to call backs and got in the final round.”

To audition for Divine Comedy, students write and perform an original minute-and-a-half sketch that is funny enough to be included in a show. Thompson said she wrote 15 sketches and performed them in front of her friends to narrow down which sketch was the most entertaining.

As pressure accompanies the increasing competition, auditioning for club membership is becoming more difficult, especially for Divine Comedy. Although it’s a popular club to join, other clubs such as Humor U and Laugh Out Loud are gaining popularity and becoming other options for students looking to share their comedic talents.

Humor U stand-up comedian and BYU grad Sean Christensen said it took him four to five months to become a member of Humor U and explained why he joined.

“Growing up I always had fun writing jokes, and when I came to BYU I saw there was a stand-up comedy group,” Christensen said. “My friend tried the open mic night, so I thought I’d try my hand at it a few months later.”

Humor U focuses more on stand-up comedy and is less competitive. Although it accepts more people than Divine Comedy, the club maintains a lengthy audition process for people to become members.

Christensen said Humor U has meetings every Tuesday night in which members and nonmembers come and tell their jokes. He said everyone is welcome and that to become an official member, auditioning students must come to meetings.

“To become a member, you are invited to a dress rehearsal, and from there we take the people with the best jokes for shows,” Christensen said. “After they have been in a show or two and have regularly come to the meetings, the group votes on whether or not to have them become a member.”

Vice president of Humor U, Hannah Wing, spent nine months auditioning before becoming a  member. To students who want to become a member, Wing advised to come regularly to the Humor U meetings and to think out of the box for jokes.

“The way to get into the club is persistence,” Wing said. “Keep coming, keep bringing and working on jokes, and talk to anyone in the club. We try to give people all the tools that they need to get into the club.”

As Humor U is becoming more well known on campus, it is not the only option for aspiring comedians. The BYU improv club Laugh Out Loud is another place where students can become campus comedians.

President of Laugh Out Loud, Samuel Wright, explained the process to becoming a solid participant and show performer for the club.

“The club is divided into the clubbers and the players. The players are the ones who perform in shows and teach the clubbers improv,” Wright said. “Clubbers become players by coming to practice regularly, and when the players feel that the clubbers are ready, we start inviting them to be in the shows with us. Once we feel that they are ready, we invite them to be a player.”

Although Laugh Out Loud welcomes anyone to come to its weekly Thursday meetings and workshops, the time it takes to become a player varies.

“Everyone develops at their own rate,” Wright said. “Some of our players were clubbers for maybe one semester before becoming players, and another guy was a clubber for two years before becoming a player, but he is one of our strongest players now.”

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