Belmont University’s sketch comedy cast found success on its own terms, selling out Third Coast Comedy Club on Thursday.
Spring Sprollies, normally dubbed Fall Follies, is a comedy show held in the fall semester at Belmont.
And while it typically only performs in the fall, the group’s director knew it was capable of more.
Ty Sato, a junior audio engineering student and this year’s director, felt the move off campus this semester for a spring show would be beneficial for the group.
“When we do the show in the fall, typically there's a lot of bureaucracy and dealing with the university to get any space booked. And so we're performing at Third Coast Comedy Club which is like a super small, intimate and a comedy-specific venue. So we thought if we could do the show there, it would be easier to do our own thing and not have to go through Belmont to get stuff done,” Sato said.
Sato also noticed there was a wider array of subjects the group could tackle, with the off-campus move bringing a new energy to the group’s sketches.
“It's a little more freedom to touch on topics that maybe the university wouldn't like us to say … To expand to being able to say whatever we want is nice, we're not doing anything crazy,” he said.
The off-campus venue primarily allowed the group to keep creative liberty of its show without being edited by the university for approval.
“We've had whole sketches cut before and like things we have to change and it just cramps our style. So we are choosing to move off and are trying to put more of ourselves on the stage,” said senior cast member Caroline Conner.
“At Belmont we’re restricted a lot by language and theme. And we have like a whole committee who sits in and lets us read our sketches to them. It's the weirdest thing because they never laugh. They're just there to filter out whatever we can't say,” Conner said.
Working off of the newfound excitement among the group, Sato came up with the idea to try improv for the first time at a Follies show, free from Belmont’s oversight.
“We've been able to work on some improv and do some stuff where if we get a suggestion that's a little, not inappropriate, but a little risque, we're able to do that and not have to worry about facing any backlash or criticism from the university,” said Sato.
Conner was ecstatic with the choice to move off-campus and the new possibilities presented to the group this semester. As the group’s “de facto improv leader,” she echoed a lot of her director’s sentiments.
“I think it's just nice to have the freedom to put whatever we think is funny and relevant and important on the stage,” she said.
The group performed to a full house with sketches ranging from “The Palace” and “Chick-fil-B” to many different improv scenarios, such as “Larry” and “An Oscar Worthy Moment,” delivering laughs throughout the evening.
Olivia Nievera, a Belmont student in attendance Thursday night, felt the performance was better off-campus.
“The improv was so impressive. I was just thinking I could never ever do that, and the non-affiliation to Belmont gave it a lot more independence, which I think was fun and very needed,” said Nievera.
“I didn't really know what to expect. It was cool to see, and I thought it was very relatable for the audience, and me. I was pleasantly surprised.”
The cast left the stage to a standing ovation and an understanding that the show isn’t restricted to the Massey Performing Arts Center going forward.
PHOTO: The Spring Sprollies cast on stage. Photo courtesy of Annabel DelGiorno
This article was written by Braden Simmons.