“The thing that stands out to me about the comedy is how thoughtful it is," he said. "A lot of the jokes relate to current events, political matters, some of them are literary references or allusions to Greek mythology, so I enjoy both the humor of it and the topical nature of the comedy.”
Emmons couldn't help but laugh as he recalled his favorite Profits sketch about a quarreling couple on a game show that must work together despite their issues to win prize money.
In a way, audience engagement can make or break the performance. Audience members are encouraged to contribute ideas, and their response to jokes shapes the way the performers carry on with their sketches.
Ellie Rodriguez, the troupe’s president, speaks of their ability to foster community not only among its members but also among the audience.
“I think even when you don’t come with a group, you’re laughing with the person next to you," she said. "I think it brings people closer because you have this shared experience.”
Laura Barnes, who joined the troupe in the spring of her first year at UNC as a “Disciple,” is very excited for her first opportunity to share in this co-creative experience as a "Profit."
Barnes said the Disciples aren’t in the Profits' shows, but they have their own shows once a semester. The Disciples come and watch the Profits' shows, as well as help with tech and selling tickets.
"We get onto the troupe when everyone feels like we’re ready to, so I guess I’m ready for it,” she said.
The improv portion of the performance is especially exciting, as audience participation and the quick wit of the actors bring comedy to life.
“There’s a way that the improv is being created right in front of you," Emmons said. "The audience itself is part of the creative process. The actors onstage don’t know what’s coming, and they have to think on their feet a lot.”
Rodriguez said she agrees with Emmons' sentiment.
“Improv is like scheduled spontaneity for me," Rodriguez said. "It’s the one time when I can just completely let loose, do something real stupid and that’s my two hours for the day.”
If you want to “completely let loose” like Rodriguez, there are plenty of additional opportunities in the Chapel Hill area to foster and develop your sense of humor.
Chapel Hilarity Standup is a student group that hosts comedy workshops and open mic nights for aspiring comedians. False Profits hosts monthly workshops as well, the next of which will take place on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. The People’s Improv Theater (The PIT) is also set to open on Franklin Street this fall.
So, if you’ve already caught the so-called “Carolina Plague” from your roommate who never covers her mouth when she coughs, remember that laughter is the best medicine.