CORRECTION: A previous version of this article contained a quote that was inaccurate, which has been removed. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
When finals sit on the horizon like a cloud of impending doom, spending a couple of hours laughing could be as refreshing as sleeping through a 9 a.m. class, which is why UNC students Eric Clayton and Kenan Bateman founded comedy group False Profits.
SEE THE SHOW
Time: 8 p.m. Sunday
Location: Hanes Art Center, Room 121
More info: http://ow.ly/qRtYq
“I felt my comedic performance outlet was unfulfilled, and I had spoken to others that felt that way,” said Clayton, a junior communication studies major. “A lot of talented people weren’t being represented.”
Clayton and Bateman wanted to create an inclusive group for students with comedic potential. Unlike other groups on campus, False Profits does stand-up comedy, in addition to improvisational comedy and comedic sketches. It is the comedy equivalent of a jack-of-all-trades.
“We didn’t just want improv, we didn’t just want stand-up,” said Bateman, a junior journalism major. “We wanted all forms of comedy.”
False Profits is one of two comedy groups on campus , and the first to incorporate both stand-up and improv into a show. The group will showcase its progress at a comedy show Sunday, which will feature six stand-up acts, six sketches and two improvised scenes. A third of the performance will be a surprise for both the performers and the audience — who should prepare to bring flowers for performers, as opposed to week-old bananas stolen from Lenoir.
“It will be all over the place. With a CHIPS show, you can expect to see lots of improv,” Clayton said. “With us it will be a change of pacing. I think it will be stimulating in a lot of ways.”
Although False Profits formed at the end of spring semester, they didn’t open the group for auditions until this fall.
For freshman economics major Hannah Jones, auditioning for the group was the result of an accident.
She came to the Student Union on the same day as a Bible study meeting. But when she got there, she saw that the meeting was canceled — not wanting to make the odious walk back to South Campus, she decided to stay and audition for the group.
Before she joined False Profits, Jones’ only comedy experience was writing sketches for fun in high school.
False Profits includes both a training group and a performance group. While the performance group trains for two hours twice a week, the training group refines its improvisational and stand-up skills during a weekly two-hour rehearsal. Before joining False Profits, some members had no improv experience whatsoever.
“We wanted a group of people who were talented and funny but didn’t necessarily have training,” Clayton said.
Because improv is created on the spot, it can seem silly to rehearse for — but Bateman said trainees still need to learn how to do it well.
“It isn’t as made-up as you’d think,” Bateman said. “There are some techniques you can do to be successful. It’s all about supporting your partner and taking an idea and pushing it to new levels.”
The group decided to title its show “Too Silly for Jail” in reference to the trainee initiation night, when members of the group wore masks and pretended to kidnap the new members from their dorms.
“Some girl misunderstood and reported it as a real incident,” Jones said. “So we had to explain to the police what was actually going on.”
Luckily, the incident became an inside joke among the group’s members. Between differing obligations and an expansive campus, UNC tends to pull students in different directions. For members of False Profits, comedy is the link that ties them back together.
“The group is larger than any of us,” Clayton said. “When you are with a bunch of stand-up comedians everyone has a certain persona, so it’s been a challenge to become a cohesive group, but I think we’ve really accomplished that.”
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