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Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Mission Improv-able expands for a new semester of laughs

For the second consecutive semester, Mission Improv-able is adding two new comedians to its ranks.

Paul Stewart, a freshman in College of Arts and Sciences, and Bob Siegel, a freshman in School of Public Affairs, will both make their debuts onstage at the troupe’s show on March 27.

Neither one is a stage veteran. Stewart spent much of his high school career working on the tech crew for the school’s drama productions. Siegel has even less experience – he didn’t go near the theater program in his high school.

“The closest thing I have is I watched ‘Whose Line?’ as a kid,” Siegel said.

He was inspired to audition after the troupe members incorporated one of his lines into their “Lines from a Hat” game, in which the performers use lines suggested by the audience in the middle of an improvised scene.

Stewart has a longer history with Mission Improv-able. He auditioned last semester with his friend CAS freshman David Brown. Brown got in, Stewart didn’t.

“The first semester I was really nervous during the auditions,” Stewart said. “I really wanted to get on the troupe and I think that kind of showed. This semester I just kind of showed up and I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. Improv. Sure!’”

The current troupe members traditionally call their new recruits to let them know they’ve made it to the group, but neither Stewart nor Siegel picked up. Stewart was at a meeting for AU Ambassadors and Siegel was in the process of charging his phone.

Brown ran into Stewart later to give him the good news – in a roundabout way.

“David ran into me later and I had no idea whether I got in or night and he was like, ‘No, dude, you didn’t make it,’” Stewart said. “I was like, ‘Don’t play with my emotions like that!’”

Siegel was happy to receive the news, which came to him in less deceptive fashion.

“Even as a kid, I was always the funny one in my group and that was something I liked,” he said. “It was just kind of validating.”

So far, the new recruits have been forced to adjust to the troupe’s untraditional rehearsal schedule: 10:30-12:30 p.m. or 11 p.m.-1 a.m. twice a week.

“I always have 8:55’s the next day, so I’ve been exhausted, but it’s worth it,” Stewart said.

Siegel has already added an old farmer to his list of successful characters, and Stewart has remained awestruck by his fellow comedians.

“I have never laughed so hard,” Stewart said. “They are the funniest individuals. It’s just a good group.”

He’s adjusted quickly to the group’s rhythms. Right before the troupe introduced their new recruits onstage at the beginning of its long-form show on Feb. 20, Stewart whispered menacingly, “Is this a good time to say that I get crippling stage fright?” Needless to say, he was joking, something he’ll be doing a lot more of in the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, Siegel has but one modest goal for his debut on Thursday night.

“I hope people laugh,” he said.

Check out Mission Improv-able’s latest short-form show “Mission Improv-able Presents: THE MADNESS” in the Tavern March 27 at 11 p.m.

In this grand finale, hosts Sydney Hsu and Sara Winick say their goodbyes and give updated lists of their current favorite shows. Listen along and compare the new lists to those from the very first episode! 

To all the loyal listeners, it has been a great run, but all good things must come to an end. However, just like some of your favorite TV shows, a second season is never truly out of the question.

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