Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 27, 2021

Hopkins’ comedy groups plan out new semester

By HOLLY TICE | January 28, 2016

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COURTESY OF SOFYA FREYMAN Members of Throat Culture, Will Bernish and Michael George, perform a sketch during their 24-hour show.

In a rigorous academic environment like Hopkins, comedy groups can help lighten the mood and create an outlet for free expression of creativity and humor. The Buttered Niblets, an improvisational group, and Throat Culture, a sketch comedy group, are the main providers of this comedic relief to an often stressed Hopkins student body.

Both groups held themed performances throughout the fall and will continue to provide their comedic services during this spring semester.

The Buttered Niblets have their first show of the semester on Friday, Feb. 12. For this show, audiences can expect to see all familiar faces. All members for their spring shows will have acted with the group before, as the Niblets typically do not take new members mid-way through the year.

Senior Matt Moores, a member of the improv group, explained the importance of forming a solid group early on in the school year, since the group dynamic is a vital part to comedy.

“It’s very important to know each other and have a solid group dynamic,” he wrote in an email to The News-Letter, “and therefore we unfortunately only take new members once per year so that everyone has as much time as possible to get to know each other’s style of comedy.”

The group took on three new members earlier this year, sophomore Kyra Lesser and freshmen Bryan Li and Jayne O’Dwyer, who now have a semester of work with the group under their belts.

Without having to focus on recruiting and training new members, the Buttered Niblets hope to work on improving their social media pages in order to increase awareness of their performances.

“The Buttered Niblets are nationally ranked as one of the top twelve improv groups in America, and nobody at Hopkins knows that!” Moores wrote. “I am hoping that by increasing our social media presence, The Buttered Niblets are able to reach a wider audience, and get more people coming to our shows.”

This will be the last semester for seniors Matt Moores and Neil Chapel. Moores, while looking forward to the newer members’ further development as comedians, expressed sadness at the prospect of leaving his days of college improv behind.

“I am old and crusty, and my time is near. I am fully confident that the younger, more spritely members of the group are well equipped for the future, a future that sadly does not include me,” Moores wrote.

The new members of Throat Culture are similarly expected to come into their own this semester. Junior Dubray Kinney and freshmen Val Hernandez and Rachel Underweiser joined in the fall and have been learning much from the veterans of the club.

“As a sketch comedy group, our weekly meetings are more focused on the writing process, and they’ve all been keen to teach me sketch pacing and how to overcome writer’s block,” Hernandez wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

Like Moores, Hernandez emphasized the importance of a tight-knit group in understanding each member’s individual comedy style.

“One gets to know their friends’ comfort zones, classic accents, and acting potential,” she wrote.

Throat Culture plans to put more time into video sketches as well as the material it creates for the live shows, which will be held on Feb. 27, March 26 and April 30.

In addition to performances from The Buttered Niblets and Throat Culture later this semester, Hopkins students can also attend a show featuring the students of an Intersession Stand-Up Comedy class this Friday, Jan. 29 in Shriver Hall.

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