For a handful of students at Suffolk University, making people laugh just comes naturally. Every Thursday night, for an hour beginning at 10 p.m., a few dozen students fill the 150 Tremont basement for the weekly show by Seriously Bent, Suffolk’s own improv comedy group. Improvisational theatre or improvisational comedy, commonly and more often referred to as improv, is a type of entertainment for everyone that has grown in popularity over the last decade. To the great fortune and luck of Suffolk and its students, Boston is one of the biggest cities for improv.
Like any other Thursday night, the basement was crowded with an anxious audience, almost filling every seat available, awaiting another dose of comedic hilarity. The night began a little differently than usual. As members of Seriously Bent arrived on stage, the music that had been playing to get the audience enthusiastic quieted down and cheers from the crowd grew loud. Then, they made two brief announcements. They welcomed members of Suffolk’s Program Council, as well as a student from Emerson College who visited to promote the upcoming film Identity Thief starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. A key aspect to continue having big crowds at each show is inclusion of audience interaction and participation, with suggestions for ideas, in each of the skits.
Bridget McGuinness, a freshman majoring in acting, said she goes “every Thursday because it makes the end of my week better,” and that “[they] are so funny and make my day!”
Asked what she considered her favorite Seriously Bent skits, McGuinness replied “[their] two best skits is when they do ‘my sex is like’ and the piano one when they have to change what they’ve said.” However, she also added that their new skit, when they bring people up on stage, has its low points.
For those who have not yet gone to a Seriously Bent show, McGuinness unhesitatingly said she “would totally recommend it,” as “[it’s] a nice way to end your week. And they are all really nice and talented people!”
They practice twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for around three hours, and then they have a brief meeting after each show where their coach, Tony Passafiume, a Suffolk alumnus and veteran comic with Improv Asylum in the North End, goes over what he wrote during each scene and gives feedback – both positive and negative – on how they performed that evening. Seriously Bent has begun to pick up a bit of name recognition and trophies over the past few years. In regard to competitions, they have won many contests and awards locally and nationally. Among the competitions they won are the New England Regional Championships and the Boston Comedy Festival’s College Improv Championships.
They also participate in many shows off-campus. Last Saturday, Feb. 2, Seriously Bent took part in an entirely Suffolk joke-themed show at Improv Asylum.
The group definitely has a strong connection and they say one of the best parts of doing improv is that it can be “a great break” from the daily stresses of day-to-day life in college. They also added that the worst part about Seriously Bent is “not getting to do it every day.”
As always, their shows will continue every Thursday night in the basement of 150 Tremont beginning at 10 p.m. One of the best parts of Seriously Bent is that someone attending never knows what to expect in the sense that it is all made up on the spot – all the jokes and plots of the stories they act out and portray. No matter what type of day you have with classes, it is basically guaranteed that you will leave any Seriously Bent show with a big smile on your face and hoping that the week goes by quickly for the next show.