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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hunger isn’t funny – but these guys are

    Consider them smart asses with soft hearts.

    They may be comedians, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take some things seriously. The members of the Tucson-based, long-form improv comedy group New Kevin will try to help ease the pains of hunger one chuckle at a time.

    Boris Glebov, an optical sciences graduate student who is president of New Kevin, has been busy organizing the third annual Ha Ha Food 3: Food Must Die comedy festival.

    As a benefit for the Tucson Community Food Bank, the festival features free performances by a number of other Tucson and Phoenix improv groups. This year the festival has been honored by the appearance of the visiting New Orleans group Cold Towne Heroes. No formal tickets are needed, but nonperishable food items will gain you entrance.

    The full lineup includes the aforementioned groups along with UA’s own Comedy Corner and Street-prov. Phoenix groups Apollo 12, Galapagos and Elastic Theater will also be fronting.

    The festival is mostly improv with a few sketches. For those of you who miss the childish allure of wooden dolls (and really, who doesn’t?), Elastic Theater will be putting on a puppet performance as well.

    “”We wanted to benefit the community,”” said Glebov. “”We can use venues to do good, and we decided to put together a benefit show.””

    Usually the Ha Ha Food benefit is a crowd-pleasing event and one of the best shows for most of the performers all year, according to Glebov.

    Glebov stumbled onto improv comedy while attending the University of Florida for an undergraduate degree in physics.

    Though not formally trained in acting, Glebov got interested in the spontaneity and sense of play incorporated in improv as well as the lessened time commitment.

    “”I decided to do improv because when you do scripted performances, there’s too much prep before a show. Being a physics major, you don’t have a lot of time,”” Glebov said.

    Fellow New Kevin member Desika Narayanan, an astronomy graduate student, agreed with this point.

    Narayanan first picked up improv comedy on a whim and apparently the whim stuck. It has been a part of Narayanan’s life for seven years.

    A veteran of a few comedy groups from his time at the UF, where he met Glebov, Narayanan has done some workshops and festivals in Boston as well.

    The thrill of the performance along with the added bonus of the easy time constraints that practice allows keeps these two in the game.

    “”Once I was doing a show … and afterward, a few people came up to me and asked me how long we had practiced that,”” Narayanan said. “”They fell into the storyline so much they stopped believing it was improv. It felt pretty good.””

    Differing from the sort of improv that you see on a show like “”Whose Line Is It Anyway?,”” the long-form technique of New Kevin allows for a narrative to unfold rather than just short games with no connection.

    “”When you go for half an hour and not know how things are going to end or where will it go, everything is onstage,”” said Glebov. “”They have no idea, they see history develop right there and it’s complex and all born onstage.””

    Performances will be held in Modern Languages building, Room 350. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The event is free with a perishable food donation that will benefit the Tucson Community Food Bank. Consider this a fun and easy way to tip the scales of karma towards good.

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