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Guerillas looking to move popular act to local space

Nov. 3, 2006

Courtesy Photo
Guerilla Comedy Troupe members perfect their comedic timing in preparation for a performance 11 p.m. tonight in 101 Castellaw.

Staff writer

"We've been 'bringing the funny since 1987,'" Blake Evans, a Guerrilla Comedy Troupe member, said. "It's one of our slogans. But we just sort of made that date up."

The troupe's real history started in 2000 when John Wolfe, now an alumnus, decided to organize auditions for an improvisational comedy group. The troupe didn't start having its own shows until 2005, after collecting fans from its performances at university functions.

And the troupe has come a long way.

The last try-outs had more than 100 applicants who competed for four openings. Now the troupe is looking into renting a place downtown where they can have performances for the Waco public, Evans said.

"Comedy is a way to get away from the stress of school or life, or it is a way to have fun or sit back," Evans said.

"You can either participate or you don't have to. People can yell out suggestions like, 'big fat watermelon,' or (they) can just watch."

The 13 Troupe members don't work for money. The $3 entrance fee for performances goes to maintaining the group. And Evans said that's the way they like it.

He said there is a need for the troupe because there aren't any comedy groups in Waco, Hewitt, Temple or the surrounding area.

"Maybe the Hippodrome has something like once a year," he added. "But it isn't very good quality."

Guerrilla Troupe member Zach Kelty said laughter is a bond that holds people together.

"People come to our shows and they could have had a really bad week or day and our only job is to put a smile on their faces," Kelty said.

"I can't think of a better way to spend my free time. I love what I do. And I love making people laugh."

Troupe performances last about an hour and a half. During that time, the audience is led through short comical recorded clips, games and improvisations.

Evans, who's been in the Troupe since he was a freshman, compared it to Whose Line is it Anyway?

"We do that in a live format," he said. "Except the thing with Whose Line is it Anyway? is that they film three hours of footage and they only show like 45 minutes to an hour. With us, we have to make everything funny because it's live."

Salil Arora, an Arlington junior, said he's been hooked on the Guerrilla Troupe since the first time he saw the show.

"I love improve comedy and they are absolutely amazing at improve," he said. "Every time they have a show I try to make it out."

The Guerrilla Troupe will perform at 11 p.m. Friday and 9 and 11 p.m. Saturday in Castellaw Communications Center 101. Tickets are $3, $2 if they wear a costume.

This weekend's shows are going to include new games, and it will be the first time the Troupe improvises the order of activities.

"We're going to decide on the order by picking them out of a pumpkin," Evans said about the Halloween-themed performance. "I think it'll be more exciting for the audience."