Students team up with traveling improv group for night of comedy

Bradie Gray

Carter Hall roared with laughter January 21, when students got to team up with Mission IMPROVable to complete hilarious “missions” with the traveling comedy troupe.
Carter Hall roared with laughter January 21, when students got to team up with Mission IMPROVable to complete hilarious “missions” with the traveling comedy troupe.

Jan. 21 in Carter Hall, students and agents spent an hour solving “missions” involving diapers, banana-flavored chicken, Channing Tatem, and a three-eyed panda bear as well as watched the famous “Shakespearian” work of “Everybody Dies.”

Carter Hall roared with laughter as students got to team up with Agent Sugar Bear, Agent Broadway, Agent Trailmix and Agent Pepperjack, also know as Mission IMPROVable, to complete hilarious “missions” with the comedy troupe Mission IMROVable.

Mission IMPROVable is an improvisational comedy team that tours full-time to colleges around the country to give students a good laugh.

The team calls itself a mix of MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out” and ABC’s “Whose Line is it Anyway?” But unlike these popular shows, Mission IMPROVable, just like the old television series “Mission Impossible,” consists of  “agents” on missions created solely out of the audience’s random suggestions.

During their one-hour performance, the students and agents solved missions related to diapers, banana-flavored chicken, Channing Tatum and a three-eyed panda bear, as well as watched the famous “Shakespearian” work in “Everybody Dies.”

By the end of the third mission, the students smiles and laughter told they were all ears and eager to participate in more.

Before every mission, the agents would start a countdown from five by asking the audience to put one hand in the air and count down with their fingers.

“Put one hand in the air like you’re being robbed with a half gun,” one agent said.

“Put your hand in the air like you’re plugging the leak in O’Bannon Hall,” another agent said.

“Put one hand in the air like I’m going to high-five the s**t out of you,” another agent would add.

Agent Trail Mix, or Mike Keening, has been doing improv since high school, but joined the Mission IMROVable team nine months ago.

“We have rotating cast members, so some people will do it for a couple of years and then they’ll retire, and then we’ll get more people after that,” Kenning said.

He has had a jam-packed schedule for the nine months he has been participating in missions.

“We tour full-time, so sometimes we’ll do two shows a day and usually around four to six shows a week,” he said.

Since the team travels to so many colleges around the country, they say they never usually know what to expect from each university.

“Things like audience size kind of just depends,” he said. “We don’t really have a normal. (USI) is kind of a mid-range. Sometimes we have shows in cafeterias for just two people or we’ll do shows like the one up in central Michigan in their auditorium which seats 2,000 people. So we do the whole range.”

The audience would suggest random situations for the agents to act out while their fellow agents were given the daunting task of guessing what that situation was.

The most entertaining situation that was acted out was one of an agent eating lunch on top of a hippo, while drinking from the Holy Grail on the moon where the floor was pizza – while also beat boxing into a microphone that was actually Bonnie and Clyde.

Agent Sugar Bear guessed the whole situation with no trouble at all.

“A lot of people ask, ‘Oh, how could you possibly know what they’re talking about?’ But what that comes from is just hanging out in a van,” Keening said, “We hang out with each other 24/7. We’re not just improvisers or co-workers, we’re all best friends and that’s where all of the success in the guessing games comes from.”

“When you spend seven hours in a van with someone day after day after day, you get to know what they like, how they act, and what their style of comedy is,” he said.

Freshman radio and television major Amber Rains was happy with her first live improv experience.

“I love “Whose Line is it Anyway?” so when I saw this on Facebook, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to go.’”

Rains even got to be one of the lucky volunteers Agent Sugar Bear took out of the room so he couldn’t hear the crowd while the rest of the audience figured out his next guessing game.

“He took us out and just explained how they got started as a group,” she said. “He wanted to know how the area is with localized food because they like eating at local places. We really couldn’t hear the audience. We couldn’t hear anything until everyone started clapping.”

Rains said her favorite part of the show was the mission where the agents “dissed” each other with “having sex with an agent is like…” jokes, where the agents would explain to the audience what having sex with their fellow agents would be like.

Keening said his favorite random suggestion of the night was “Three Blind Mice.”

“I really liked ‘Queen’s Island,’ but ‘Three Blind Mice’ was my favorite. We’ve never gotten that before. “It was a unique one,” he said. “I always appreciate a unique suggestion from the audience.”