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Opinion: Lolopolis Comedy Group Generates Laughs

By Mia Simms
September 15, 2010

Lolopolis, born from the visionary genius of junior and theatre arts major Alex Beard, has a unique chemistry that makes one imagine what we did for comedy before it came along.

"I saw a void in the community for no improv, and that's ultimately what I want to do with my life. I was thinking what better thing to do than to just get one started?" said Beard. What would more than 150 audience members have done had this brilliant idea not been born?

The Lolopolis Comedy Group engages with the crowd before performing.

On Friday, September 10, the Virginia Tech community were treated to a night of laughs as 12 Lolopolis improv members took the stage at Theater 101 just off of Main Street.

The improv members had a vague idea of what they would do in the theme of dating and relationships, and they worked off the crowd for specific ideas. One brave soul shared his awkward encounter with a female while waiting for his next class.

The audience member recounted how a random female student tried to chat with him while he was waiting outside a classroom. He explained that he didn't want to talk with the girl and quietly slipped away once she was distracted by her cellphone.

The sketch would be called 'Boy with yellow JMU shirt,' as the audience member who shared his encounter was wearing a yellow James Madison shirt. The cast battled evil French professors, witches and dangerously explosive cheese that had the crowd roaring with laughter for a solid 20 minutes.

Improvisation uses a set pattern or formula to go off of, but each and every time the sketches will vary by audience participation. Working off each other for cues and punch lines, each member feeds off the other with great precision and timing. With comedy, timing is everything and these comedians have in down to a science.

"Every time we perform, it's always better than the last time," said Jonathan Walker, an improv member, "because alot of jut what we've been doing is just getting to know how each other's personalities work and what kind of comedy this person can portray. Each time you go through it, it's like buliding that next level. It just progresses each time. I think by the time our second show here this semester it's going to be even better than this one."

There's a certain inherent energy that can be sensed within the cast. How is the group so cohesive? Jason Tolbert, a castmember, offered a succinct explanation: "We've all known each other for awhile, since the womb!"

Kevin Fraizer ventured further, "They're two reasons why it seems why we're so cohesive: One, everybody knows each other or is sort of familliar with each other and that's one thing. The second thing is, spread accross the group, there's about 10 years of improv experience. There's a pretty wide bearth of expereicne in the group."

Three weeks prior, the group held auditions and then performed at Gobblerfest, and they're already slated to go viral. Beard announced that the group would have its very own show on Virginia Tech TV.

"I can tell you right now, our show on Dec. 3 is going to be much different formula wise than what we just did," said Beard. All 12 heads nodded in agreement. Beard added, "We're trying to do big things and get even better and even just diversify the performance itself."

For more information, check out Lolopolis on Facebook