After a successful “Back 2 Kool” show in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall last Wednesday, Bryce Cooke and the improvisational comedy group Zoiks! are preparing for the “All Hallows Eve” show at 10 p.m. on Oct. 30 in Albert Taylor Hall.
Cooke, senior social science major who has been a part of Zoiks! for five years and is currently art director, will end his last year at Emporia State and with the group with a series of improv comedy shows.
“It’s going to be our brand of improv comedy,” Cooke said.
Austin Schopper, senior secondary English education major who joined Zoiks! in spring 2010, said he is excited for the sketch activities they have planned. Cooke said although the group is very excited, they will be keeping a lot of the content for the shows “under wraps.”
“We want a lot of the acts to be a surprise,” he said.
Cooke said he finds Jim Gaffigan, Steve Carell and older material from Lonely Island influential. He said he also draws a little influence from movies like “Talladega Nights” and television shows like “Parks and Recreation.”
“I don’t really draw as much from movies and television as I do from stand-up (comedy),” Cooke said.
The “Back 2 Kool” show, Cooke said, was “packed” and that some people had to be turned away because the theater was at capacity. He said Zoiks! is also trying to set up a show for Nov. 14.
“We’re matching up with Union Activities Council and Associated Student Government,” Cooke said. “We invited all of the Greek houses. We are trying to set a record for largest student attendance and participation for a student-run activity.”
Schopper said the group has been competing in the Improv Thunderdome, a Kansas City-based improv comedy competition, “off and on for a long time.” This year’s competition was held in January at Westport’s Comedy City in Kansas City, Mo.
“A lot of the people we work with influence us,” Schopper said. “We work with a lot of other college improv groups.”
Andrew McCutcheon, sophomore theater major who is in his second year with Zoiks!, said he enjoys playing the new improv games the group comes up with.
“I grew up watching a lot of Jim Carrey movies,” McCutcheon said. “I drew some influence from his physicality.”
McCutcheon also said he does not watch much stand-up comedy and that most of his material is drawn from personal experience.
Cooke said he briefly performed stand-up comedy before he came to ESU and that he is definitely planning on doing comedy in the future.
“I would like to get back into it again or get involved with other local improv groups,” Cooke said. “My most recent solo stand-up act was at Leeds Center at Kansas University with a few other amateur stand-up artists from the Kansas City area.”