“Agents…your mission, should you choose to accept it…” boomed a voice, “provide entertainment this evening for Texas A&M – Kingsville!”
Four men ran out onto the stage, prepared for another mission last Monday Oct. 22 at Jones Auditorium. They stood in front of the crowd, with smiles, looking full of energy.
“How are you all doing tonight?” shouted Agent Battlestar. He was greeted by the excited cheers and clapping of the audience.
The four men, code named Agent Battlestar, Agent Raptor, Agent Apocalypse, and Agent Sugarbear, are members of the group Mission IMPROVable.
As the name implies, their act is not planned: they improvise based on the audience. People can expect the unexpected.
“I need those babies or I’ll have your ass!” shouted Agent Raptor to Agent Sugarbear during one of their routines.
“I talk big but I’m literally a chicken!” Agent Apocalypse shouted to Agent Raptor in an- other random exchange.
Mission IMPROVable didn’t leave out the audience, though. They selected volunteers for a number of their routines, prompting some quick thinking, and in some cases, embarrassment.
In one routine, they brought up two students from the crowd, and then proceeded to make a small skit out of their texts. In others, they acted out skits based on audience feedback. Where else could you find a play called, “The Tale Between Your Toes?” Or a party that SpongeBob, Robert Downey Jr., a drunken Cinder- ella, and a red solo cup attend?
“It’s something different to bring to the community, besides just a regular comedian; there’s other types of comedy out there, and this was great. I feel the public loved it, it gets the public in- volved, it makes it a better show,” said Francisco Tapia, President of the Campus Activities Board (CAB).
CAB’s Comedy and Magic Chair, Lydia Ayala, was in charge of researching and bringing the group to campus, and talking to their agent.
“I think it went really well. I think they had a lot of the audi- ence’s participation. I would have liked to see a larger turnout, but I think we did have a good amount of people in the audience and the fact that they were open to sug- gestions and ideas to [Mission IMPROVable]…it went really, really well,” Ayala said.
Mission IMPROVable’s tour company, based out of Chicago, started about ten years ago when some guys decided to start an improv group. They started selling
their show and touring around, but it got to a point where they wanted to settle down, so the current Mission IMPROVable group took over, said Matt Garard (Agent Sugarbear).
“[The code names] have always been part of the spy theme show, so everybody has their own agent name because you become a se- cret agent of comedy. It’s kind of how it’s been,” Garard said.
Mission IMPROVable does a lot of improv games and exercises, but most importantly, they make sure to spend time with one another, and get to know each other, Garard said.
“It’s a lot about confidence. It’s about being confident that your audience wants to see you. Doing stand-up, doing plays, doing improv, people come in there not ready for comedy, so you just got to be confident and give it to ‘em, and make sure they have a good time,” said Adam Higgins (Agent Apocalypse.)
“I love that there’s four of us. If you’re a stand-up, all you’ve got is your jokes and yourself and that’s all you have to rely on. With this, if I’m having an off-show or a down scene, I can instantly be turned around because I’ve got three guys who’ve got my back so that’s really appealing to me, as far as doing improv…just build- ing something together,” said Byron Kennerly (Agent Battlestar).
CAB would like to encourage more students to attend their events. So keep an eye out. If you happen to see a gorilla carrying a giant banana, something’s about to go down.