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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Women bring humor and perspective to improv, too

Correction: Feb. 11, 2016 — Justin Lukasewicz’ name was originally spelt “Justin Lukasewirz.” According changes have been made below.

In the world of art, one of the most difficult (and rewarding) tasks is making a group of complete strangers laugh with you. There are many art forms that take on this challenge, but the one I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of is improv comedy. I’ve been doing improv for roughly two years, and as difficult as it can be at times, it’s incredibly rewarding for both the improvisers and the audience members.

During an improv performance, a group of brave performers go on stage without any prepared dialogue. It can be just as entertaining as any sketch comedy with dialogue prepared and rehearsed ahead of time.

The Tucson Improv Movement, has established itself as a staple of the Tucson comedy community, and this February the group is putting on a show every Saturday at 9 p.m. with the Riveters, an all-female group of improvisers.

Called “The Best Show Period,” this improv show lives up to its name and is exactly what’s been missing in the world of comedy. Unfortunately, in the improv world — and, let’s face it, in the world as a whole — there has been a lack of focus on the accomplishments of women.

Run by Jessica Peck, who’s been doing improv since March 2013, “The Best Show Period” is filled with women with an array of improv experience who come together to put on a show that’s hilarious and smart. While the Riveters are the main act, they’re joined by guest improv groups outside of TIM, as well as stand-up acts — all consisting of nothing but female performers.

Peck, with the help of Justin Lukasewicz, TIM’s executive producer and long-time improviser, “wanted an opportunity to showcase local female comedic talent in all forms whether that’s in improv, stand-up, or storytelling.“

“[The show] is really a celebration of the smart and unique perspective women bring to comedy and life in general,” Peck said.

This important event is in its sophomore year and is running strong, proving that women have much to offer when it comes to comedy. This show is a step toward bringing the successes of women onto stage and into the spotlight.

Having more women like those of the Riveters in the improv scene would only improve the community. The comedy industry has been molded over the years to be more easily accessible to men than to women, an unfortunate and detrimental result of the history of comedy in this country.

Everyone in improv brings a different perspective on the world, so it’s crucial that we get the views and opinions of women represented in our shows. It’s refreshing to see women bringing their humor to our shows, and I for one know that I’d love to see a whole lot more of it.

In the world of improv and the world of art, the Riveters are proving that they’re just as funny as any other group out there. I know Tucson is a relatively small city, but hopefully their style of all-female comedy becomes a trend and catches fire so we have an equal amount of men and women doing comedy, singing, making art, running businesses — the list is endless.

“Ultimately my hope is ‘The Best Show Period’ is viewed as a great comedy show not a great female comedy show,” Peck said. “In my mind funny is funny regardless of gender and hopefully we can get to a place where those labels or comparisons don’t exist.”

Even just the knowledge that this show exists makes me happy. It shows that we’re making strides toward the point where we don’t need to discuss who is and who isn’t involved in the world of art. All we’ll have to worry about is whether or not the audience loves the show.

This is much more than just a comedy show; it’s proof that anybody, of any gender, can put together something amazing that is fun for everyone involved. Hopefully everyone takes notice and begins to step out of their comfort zone. There’s room for everyone.

Follow Daniel Geffre on Twitter.

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