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Tuesday December 6th

Improv group Chapel Hill Players to create comedy based on Daily Tar Heel headlines

<p>Elliot Melfi, a senior english major, performs with Chapel Hill Players (CHiPs) "UNC's premier improv and sketch comedy group."</p>
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Elliot Melfi, a senior english major, performs with Chapel Hill Players (CHiPs) "UNC's premier improv and sketch comedy group."

Chapel Hill Players (CHiPs), a UNC student comedy group, will perform improv Tuesday based on multiple issues of your favorite student newspaper. 

“CHiPs Reads The Daily Tar Heel” is the newest show the comedy group will perform. At the start of the show, the group will create improvised sketches based on DTH headlines. 

The group’s director, UNC senior Mihir Shah, said he hopes the show will open people's minds to improv comedy, and that sometimes it’s as easy as reading the DTH.

“All of our shows are a mix of improv and sketch comedy, so every other thing we do switches off,” Shah said. “We'll do a short-form improv game based on whatever it is that's suggested from the audience or something like that, and we have a lot of games lined up, and then we also have pre-written sketches that we rehearse together and we perform. So the whole thing is about an hour and a half long. I think it's pretty funny." 

Shah said the group gets a lot of its inspiration from its yearly trips to Chicago during fall break, where the actors attend comedy workshops and watch other groups perform.

“One of the things that we really liked that we saw there is that they would do improv based off of a lot of different things besides just the suggestions that they get from the audience,” Shah said. “Our first idea was just like, 'Hey, let's read different headlines and do improv based on it,' and then we decided it would be awesome to do it with the DTH."

Why the DTH, instead of another local newspaper? Shah thinks it will help spread the word to others in Chapel Hill.

"I really want people on campus to be more aware of comedy on campus because it's just such a niche little thing that we do," he said. "A lot of people might not know about it."

UNC junior Keshal Patel said she has friends within the group. She has seen three CHiPs performances, ranging from their Study Abroad show to their fall 2018 LDOC Eve show. 

“I enjoy the variety of performances that they put on, whether it’s sketch or improv,” she said. “Each member of the team has a unique approach to their performances, which makes all the shows different from each other.”

UNC senior Elliot Melfi has been a member of CHiPs since his first semester at UNC. He was in the group’s training program until a semester ago. Melfi said the group gives him a lot of connections, especially with friends, and that the group's inside jokes are what he’ll miss most about being in CHiPs. 

“To this day, my favorite joke that we ever came up with is just this guy who doesn't know how to sit in a chair,” he said. “Every time someone sits down in a chair, I just can't help but think, 'What if that person didn't know how to do that?' So, I'm gonna miss the dumb jokes."

Melfi said the trust needed within the group is something that makes performing with CHiPs special to him. 

“You're spending hours just being incredibly vulnerable with these people, and just trying to work together,” he said. “I imagine it's similar to being on a sports team. You’re all working together to try and create this group dynamic, trying to create these shows, just doing your best together, and it really solidifies the friendships.”

Shah said he's proud of the entire group's effort and work this semester and can't wait for audiences to see the DTH-focused show. 

"It's just something that I think everyone can relate to and everyone can enjoy no matter what your background is," Shah said. "If you've been to a million improv shows, or you don't even know what improv is."

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