The Whistling Shrimp placed third out of 16 teams at the Eastern Regional Competition of the 2010 College Improv Tournament, sponsored by the Chicago Improv Festival, earlier this month. The improv comedy troupe is now one of 10 teams up for review for two wild card spots in the national playoffs of the National College Improv Tournament, to be held in Chicago this February.
According to Mark Vigeant ’11, director of the Whistling Shrimp, a panel of judges will review a video of the Shrimps’ performance from the Eastern Regional Competition and decide how it stacks up against the nine other schools to determine who will compete in the national tournament. He expressed his satisfaction with the team’s accomplishments thus far.
“It’s really nice to work really hard at something, and think we’re doing something good, and then get validation,” Vigeant said of the team’s performance.
During the competition, each team performed a short improvisational skit and advanced through each round based on the score they received from a panel of judges. Vigeant noted that the Shrimp got encouraging feedback from other teams as well, many of whom praised the uniqueness of the act.
Though the Shrimp perform at least two shows a semester, competitions are not as frequent. Vigeant said the Eastern Regional Competition was only the second time he had competed with the group since he was a freshman. He noted that the group did not do anything particularly different to prepare for the competition.
“What we really wanted to do, [was] we just wanted to come in and do really good improv,” Vigeant said.
According to the Whistling Shrimp website, the troupe was founded in 1981 by Stuart Flack ’82 as a theatre company, and by 1984, morphed into a comedy group that performed a mix of improv and sketch. The Shrimps’ website says the group is Cornell’s only improv troupe, though they occasionally collaborate with other campus comedy groups such as the Skits-o-phrenics and Humor Us!
Vigeant said that he hopes to pursue a professional comedy career in New York City following graduation in May.