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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Everyone Has a Story: Jenny Wise

“”Everyone Has a Story”” is a semi-weekly segment in the Arizona Daily Wildcat that aims to tell the story of an interesting person on the UA campus. This week, the Daily Wildcat interviewed Jenny Wise, a Charles Darwin cast member and senior majoring in producing and media arts.  

Jenny Wise shouts and improvises on stage weekly, sending her audience into hysterics. Wise, a senior producing and media arts major is a member of the “”Charles Darwin Experience,”” a UA improv troupe that performs every Tuesday night at the Gallagher Theater.

When Wise found herself studying film and television at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, she saw an immense difference between American and British comedy.

“”Our jokes are different. They wont get my references, and they have references I don’t get. There is a huge block on comedy and language,”” she said.

It may be hard to believe that England is absent of improvisation, a country famous for its dark humor and the original creators of “”The Office;”” but according to Wise, they didn’t know what improv was.

“”I was asked to do an ‘improv’ charity event about a month before I left (England).  I remember going up and saying something and someone threw a political reference at me, and I did kind of know a little about English politics, and I didn’t get it at all. I said, ‘Oh I’m American, I’m an exchange student.’ They thought it was funny, but it was kind of a disaster.””

However, by the end of that night, Wise had earned fellow actors’ respect.

According to Wise, the fellow actors said, “”What the heck? You do improv? You’re so professional!””   

Jenny Wise also describes her experience as a performer in England as humbling a experience.

“”I auditioned about four or five times, and I didn’t get any callbacks, and that’s never happened to me. I usually get at least one callback, but people didn’t want me because I was American. It made me feel dejected and rejected. I auditioned for “”Closer,”” and there was an American character in that show, but they didn’t give it to me even though I was the only one who could pull off a real American accent,”” Wise said.

She found discrimination when it came to European football. Wise went outside her classroom one day and tried to play soccer with a group of guys. “”Girls are not allowed to play,”” said one. Another stated, “”Girls don’t really play football. They watch.””

While away in England, Darwin fans and fellow cast members weren’t the only ones missing Wise.

“”I have a cat. His name is Fraiser, and he’s cross-eyed and great,”” said Wise. She explains that Fraiser is not only a little bipolar but “”the biggest jerk of all times. He’s just awful but so lovable.””

If not giving Fraiser her full attention, he’ll attack, said Wise.

This love/hate relationship between feline and “”Darwin”” cast member has been an affair for the past two years.  

“”He is the Edward to my Bella,”” Wise said.

Though now a key “”Darwin”” character, Wise did not begin her improvisation career on the Gallagher stage.  

As a freshmen, “”I remember before I was in it, I would go to ‘Darwin’ every Tuesday. I was religious. I was obsessed with ‘Darwin’,”” Wise said.    

To Wise, it feels “”weird”” being a “”Darwin”” now. She never planned to audition but was persuaded to go and at least watch by her roommate, a former “”Darwin”” cast member.

“”I remember the night I got the call that (I) got in the group. I was just in shock and scared out of my mind because I’m in this until I graduate and past that. Once a ‘Darwin,’ always a ‘Darwin,'”” Wise said.

Over the past three years, Wise has become a dynamic part of the group. Going from obsessed fan to senior member, Wise now encounters her own admirers.

“”I was in Flagstaff for New Years Eve. I was at the countdown, and some girl comes up to me and she’s like ‘You’re my favorite Darwin!’ and she hugged me. I didn’t even know who this girl was!”” Wise and the fan continued the New Year’s countdown arm in arm.

With the constant laughter and energy, Wise puts forward on stage with each improvisation game, her love of comedy is apparent.

“”People need that release. I need it every Tuesday to de-stress. Standing up on that stage and seeing all the smiling faces, it’s just the best feeling,”” she said.

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