A few more members have been added to the roster of Zoiks!, Emporia State’s improvisational comedy group, this year. They have been hard at work with putting together the show “Clue: Zoiks! Edition,” which premiered last night in Albert Taylor Hall.
“When I was in sixth grade, I used to come see Zoiks! and I loved to come see them do improv,” said Chandler Archer-McGinnis, junior theater major and Zoiks! member. “I knew even back then that I wanted to be in Zoiks!”
Archer-McGinnis said Zoiks! has “become a bigger part of the campus.”
As a Recognized Student Organization, Zoiks! has also overcome some challenges this semester. They lost their RSO status at the beginning of the academic year, but they recently petitioned to Associated Student Government to be reinstated in time for their show. They were approved last Thursday.
Justin Rahe, sophomore communication major and Zoiks! member, said ASG senator Julie Ma, junior biochemistry, molecular biology and Spanish major, helped Zoiks! go through the process of getting reinstated step-by-step.
“It was basically the same process an RSO goes through when they are first set up,” Rahe said. “We got necessary signatures for permission and we represented ourselves at ASG.”
Zoiks! worked on their constitution and bylaws after getting reinstated. Despite the hardships, Mike Freeland, senior crime and delinquency major and Zoiks! member, said it’s good to be in an environment where it’s encouraged to make jokes.
Freeland was in Zoiks! before leaving for a year and a half for military service, and auditioned again when he returned to ESU.
“I had the pleasure of auditioning twice,” Freeland said.
Amanda Miller, senior communication major and Zoiks! member, said an audition usually starts with warm-ups before breaking into groups to do improv games. The members of Zoiks! watch the skills of characterization and projection of those who auditioned.
“We do a round of callbacks and give them notes before we make the final decision,” Miller said.
Zoiks! members have a lot of improv games. They’re about “having fun and seeing what works,” Freeland said. Miller said playing these games helps develop the skills needed this type of comedy, as well as an understanding of the rules of improvised comedy.
“There’s a misconception that you have to be hilarious in Zoiks!,” Rahe said. “A good improv comic makes funny jokes. A great improv comic makes other people funny and helps move the story along.”
The group will occasionally veer from improvisation with a scripted sketch, usually at the beginning their shows. Everything from then on is improv.
Miller said her favorite part of being in Zoiks! is making the audience laugh.
“There’s nothing like hearing laughter…you helped create,” Miller said.