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By the Slice Improv promotes laid-back environment for amateur comedians

The Logo for the new Improv Comedy Group Improv by the Slice. Credit: Courtesy of Patrick Bouchard

Ohio State’s newest improv comedy group is serving up laughs By the Slice.

By the Slice improv comedy group, which was established late last semester, currently has about 10 regular members. The group focuses more on the practice and enjoyment of improv comedy rather than performing, aiming to create a relaxed environment.

Patrick Bouchard, a fourth-year in English and president of By the Slice, helped found the group after he and other founding members were rejected after auditioning for another comedy group on campus. Bouchard said what sets this club apart from others like it is there are no auditions, and no required attendance.

“We’re not really an improv group whose goal is to perform and just put on shows,” Bouchard said. “Our objective is to give students an opportunity to try improv comedy in a more laid-back environment.”

Bouchard said during the meetings, the members will show off their creativity by participating in improv games and activities that not only allow them to have fun, but allow them to practice the craft of comedic improv.

“So far, we have switched it up at each meeting,” he said. “But, each (meeting) has included an improv game, kind of like you’d see on ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’— improv exercises for people who want to get better. And then we kind of end it all with scenes, at the end, where people volunteer, get up and do scenes for everyone else.”

Joe Majka, fourth-year in speech and hearing science and regular attendee of By the Slice’s meetings, said he had never done comedic improv before joining.

“I had been to a couple of the Fishbowl comedy improv shows,” Majka said. “I thought those were pretty funny, so I thought it would be fun to try it out.”

Majka said the meetings fit Bouchard’s goal of creating a relaxed environment for its members by eliminating pressure when performing improv.

“I think it was pretty relaxed because it was structured, but it was not too structured where it felt like I had to participate or anything,” he said. “It just felt like if I wanted to participate, I could.”

Although performance is not the main goal of the group, Bouchard says as the club grows, he would like to show off their honed improv skills.

“We’re kind of hoping to eventually put on a show with as many of the regular members as possible, just to show what we’ve been doing and show what we’re excited about,” Bouchard said. “I think there will be opportunities for people who just want to practice and get better, but then we are also trying to provide an opportunity for people who would like to get out there and perform.”

By the Slice’s first meeting of the semester is on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sphynx Centennial Leadership Suite at the Ohio Union.

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