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Fishbowl channels ‘Back to the Future’ in first show of year

Doc, fire up the DeLorean, because the Fishbowl Improv Comedy Group made their return to the new school year Friday with their show, “Back to the Fishbowl.”

The 293 seats in the U.S. Bank Conference Theatre at the Ohio Union were nearly full for the improv comedy group’s “Back to the Future”-themed show, which was inspired by one member’s “random” promotion ideas for flyers for the upcoming season.

“Instead of the main characters, (member James Garcia) would awkwardly Photoshop people from our group’s heads on (the bodies),” said group member Travis Kendall, a third-year in philosophy. “We just ended up rolling with it.”

Those ideas paid off for some in attendance.

“I thought it was absolutely hilarious,” said Sam Tony, a third-year civil engineering major. “This is, honestly, probably the best (Fishbowl) show I’ve been to, and this is probably the fifth or sixth (one).”

The show was just as exciting for the group members, especially after the summer break, said Fishbowl president Tyler Davis.

“Doing a summer of nothing, and then coming back and playing with these guys and having such an awesome audience to feed off of is just a great experience,” said Davis, a fourth-year in marketing.

One audience member in particular was pleased with the group’s performance.

“I thought it was great,” said former Fishbowl president and recent Ohio State graduate Alex Lefeld. “I was really proud of everybody … I was really impressed with what they had, especially this early in the year.”

The show kicked off with a “Back to the Future” DeLorean spoof, with group members John Wernecke, Sage Boggs and Garcia running to the car. Though the car itself wasn’t there, the members ran out of the theatre, leaving the audience with a video of them plastered in a scene from the movie, in which they are sitting in the DeLorean talking to Michael J. Fox.

“It’s not like we planned it a whole lot,” Kendall said. “We literally shot the whole intro movie (Thursday) night.”

The group, which often shoots videos and uploads them to their YouTube account, got the idea for the video intro after bouncing ideas off one another and mapping things out after practice, Davis said.

“Even when we plan things, they’re not planned very well,” Kendall said.

Davis said there were many takes of just Wernecke and Boggs in front of a green screen.

After the many takes and hours of editing, the video premiered to roaring applause from the audience, leaving the group members wondering where talk of their video might lead.

“I want people to walk out saying ‘That was funny and I want to do that,'” said member Carly Kohake, a fourth-year in English.

One current group member did just that.

“It’s almost like an adrenaline rush, going from the audience to being up on stage,” said Anahita Ameri, a second-year in engineering, who joined the group in the spring.

Since its inception in 2009, the group has nearly doubled in members.

“What (our group) has become is so amazing,” Kohake said. “You become attached to improv and to the people you do it with and the thrill you get out of making other people laugh.”

Laughing, Kendall said, is “one of the biggest stress relievers.” Having shows right before exams is helpful and being able to laugh until one cries is a relief, he said.

“Hopefully everyone in here laughed at some point tonight and they got something off their chest,” Kendall said.

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