Happy Gas Improv celebrates unique comedy

Griffin Fletcher

With upcoming auditions and new opportunities, Happy Gas Improv aims to keep WKU funny.

Imagine sitting in a barren studio on the first floor of Gordon Wilson Hall, wondering how you ended up there and what will happen next. Now imagine participating in games such as “Bad wingman” and “Clap-on,” wondering why you cannot stop laughing and why you never came before.

When it comes to Happy Gas Improv, every second is a surprise and just as funny as the last.

Rather than abide by a script or careful rehearsal, Happy Gas performers are encouraged to act spontaneously, involve the audience and have fun. Whether they are standing behind each other and acting in tandem, pretending the arms of the actor behind are actually those of the actor in front or urging the audience for bizarre suggestions to include in their games, the Happy Gas crew is over-the-top in the best way.

Started by WKU students in 1999, Happy Gas is still fronted primarily by students who specialize in theatre and dance. However, all students are welcome to audition.

Happy Gas most recently performed in studio 105 on the first floor of Gordon Wilson Hall on Sunday, but no further shows have officially been scheduled. According to Louisville freshman Jacob Chamberlain, Happy Gas actor and co-spokesperson, the organization will soon announce dates for new shows and auditions, which will most likely take place by early September.

As the longest run student comedy troupe in Kentucky, Happy Gas draws influence from stand-up comedy and the Upright Citizens Brigade, a Chicago sketch comedy group that has yielded Saturday Night Live greats like Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz.

Despite mostly performing around the Bowling Green area, Happy Gas wishes to extend its reach to new venues such as Nashville.

Franklin senior and Happy Gas president, Paige Brouillette, appreciates Happy Gas’ tradition of performing in front of WKU residence halls, so-called “dorm-touring,” but cites expansion as the organization’s greatest point of emphasis.

“Our goal is to get out there, explore some new venues,” Brouillette said.

Brentwood senior Gabriel Pless performs with Happy Gas and serves alongside Chamberlain as co-spokesperson. Pless enjoys the artistic flexibility improv comedy allows and looks forward to the opportunity to interact and share comedy with others.

“It’s all about being in the moment,” Pless said.

Chamberlain voices a similar interest in increased audience involvement and performance spontaneity.

“Especially with shows, it’s always something new,” Chamberlain said. “No show is just like the last one.”

Reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].