The newest GW comedy group may call itself Purely Coincidental, but it’s far from PC.
Recess is no longer the only comedy group on campus. But the appearance of PC was hardly coincidental; founding the group took a lot of planning and hard work.
Senior Andrew Kozma and sophomore Ryan Frank, who started the group with the help of the Creative and Performing Arts Community, said the campus needed another comedy group for several reasons.
Recess auditions draw an overwhelming number of people, many of whom must be turned away, Frank explained. Many of them are talented, but are left with no outlet to practice comedy, he said. Purely Coincidental offers students another venue, another opportunity to perform.
Like Recess, the group performs biweekly, but putting on shows is not its sole purpose.
“We are trying to make our focus improv rather than skits like Recess,” said sophomore Tony Delgado. Self-improvement and learning from one another also is important, explained sophomore Rory Haiber. In that sense the group is something of a training ground, suggested one of the 14 members during a boisterous rehearsal in the Mitchell Hall Theater.
“Yeah,” Kozma quipped, “like a bra.”
“Improv is the most basic form of performance,” Delgado explained. “If we can get good enough at it, we will be prepared to do any form of performance that exists.”
During rehearsals, the group struggles for improvement by criticizing one another and practicing diligently. The members take turns leading improvisations, while the other members watch and offer feedback.
Offending people can be really funny, Delgado explained, but too many comedians depend on sex and profanities to carry their acts.
“We want to expand rather than have to rely on that to be funny,” Delgado said.
Despite the group’s focus on improvisation, it is bound to use what is at its disposal. For the time being, this means the group is limited to an eleven-to-three ratio of men to women, which the men claim is accidental. The imbalance does not hinder them too much, they say, and they have their fingers crossed for new members.
“Anybody can do this,” Kozma insisted.
“We are definitely not a closed group,” added Frank.
Others may join if they can hack the rehearsals. The group meets nightly from 10 p.m. to midnight or later.
“The fact of the matter is there are too many funny people on campus for just one improv group,” said Frank.
While some of the impetus for PC’s development arose out of the mass rejections from Recess auditions, group members say they do not feel any hostility toward their competition.
“There is definitely room enough for more than one comedy group on campus,” Haiber said.
Purely Coincidental will be performing before Thanksgiving inthe Mitchell Hall Theater.
“We’re like the Rocky Horror Picture Show meets “Full House,” ” sophomore Matthew Roth said.