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The East Texan

Whose Lion is it Anyway?

Members+of+the+Cricket+City+improv+troupe+at+their+first+rehearsal+of+the+year.
Members of the Cricket City improv troupe at their first rehearsal of the year.

Members of the Cricket City improv troupe at their first rehearsal of the year.

Photo by Cricket City Improv

Photo by Cricket City Improv

Members of the Cricket City improv troupe at their first rehearsal of the year.

Alex Medrano, Staff Reporter

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“Whose Line Is It Anyways,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “MadTV” made comedic-improv popular in the 1990’s.

Today, improv has grown to comedy clubs and improv troupes in every major city. A group at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Cricket City Improv creates a safe space to mix being weird with a talent of making people laugh.

The name Cricket City was coined after Saturday Night Live’s popular Second City improv group in Chicago with living legends Tina Fey, Bill Murray, and John Candy.  Brennan Jones is a graduate assistant and member of The Crickets. His style of improv is based on Norm MacDonald’s Burt Reynolds impersonation on Celebrity Jeopardy on “Saturday Night Live.” SNL and Comedy Central made a home for quirky people quick on their feet and able to adapt to the circumstances thrown at them.

Comedic improvisation (or improv) is live theatre with actors that make up a scene or story on the spot. It helps build confidence, public speaking, and problem solving skills, which not only help in social situations, but many companies are also looking for these specific traits.

The Cricket City Improv is not just for theatre majors or minors. Anyone and everyone is always welcome, with members ranging from computer science majors to education.

Ron Leonard, senior and president of A&M-Commerce’s Cricket City improv group, said “Cricket City Improv is something that everyone can enjoy. Everyone needs a laugh now and then, and we are more than happy to deliver.”

Likewise, Jones added, “When you see what makes someone laugh you find a lot about them.”

The Crickets end every session with a distinctive signing off with a pat on the shoulder assuring to each fellow member, “I’ve got your back,” mixing a physical assurance with mental.

“Improv is not a singular mindset, you have your partner, your group to think about, and no one is going to let you drown,” Jones said.

Shows happen about every month and the next planned show is October 27th, which is Halloween themed, and a Thanksgiving one proposed. The shows usually cost $2 each, but if you show up in costume they could be half off, depending on how good someone’s costume is.

And, during the season of giving, donating canned goods could get audience members a discount to the November show. During the spring semester, Cricket City will team up with The American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life,” where half the proceeds from Cricket City shows will go.

Secret shows pop up every now and then, but those interested can check with a member or their Facebook page, “Cricket City Improv.”

The Crickets will keep chirping on social media, bulletin boards, or flyers to keep A&M-Commerce informed.

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Whose Lion is it Anyway?