During the Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond week, Sheer Idiocy ran a day trip on Wednesday, August 20 in preparation for the participants’ show later that night. This year, Sheer Idiocy had a much smaller group than in previous years, but that did not affect expectations in any way. When asked what he expected of the group, David
Silverman ’14 said that he expected them to be funny. To begin the event, the freshmen did ice breakers and other activities in order to encourage them to open up.
Silverman said, “This works because the older members do things that are silly, stupid, and comical, which makes the NRB participants feel like equals from the start.”
Being funny is not the main idea behind the group’s behavior. They don’t try to make their audience laugh because people are generally funny on their own. Instead, the focus of the group is on building off each other and building up each other. “Make your partner look good,” said Silverman, “It is better to have one intricate joke that builds up thanks to the efforts of two people that brings the house down with laughter than a bunch of wise cracks that cause chuckles over the course of the show but only scratch the surface.” One major rule of improv comedy is not to deny a joke. The example given was when someone says, “Hey, mom!” the person in question does not reply, “I’m not your mom. I’m a firefighter.” From watching Sheer Idiocy’s experience, the line between what is okay and what is not is a little less distinct, because certain situations can be funny.
The importance of playing off of each other was highlighted in the miming exercises at the beginning of the NRB event. An invisible door was kicked down, but was later opened and closed normally, where the chair in the center of the house became a toilet, and where an imaginary refrigerator moved on its own. Despite the inexperience of the freshmen attending the Sheer Idiocy day trip, their exercises were comical and were a good preview for the show later in the evening.
According to director Brandon McLear ’15, “This was the best NRB show I’ve seen in my time here.” Those who attended the show found the improvised exchanges funny. The interaction with the audience was beneficial to the show and helped capture the attention of the freshmen attendees that did not entirely know what to expect of the comedy troupe. Emperor Fiona Kine ’16 said, “It was fantastic to see the freshmen come out of their shell and bear it all on stage.”
Sheer Idiocy has a show once a month. This year, the first show is September 12. The group has had great turn outs to shows in previous years and expects the trend to continue this coming year.