14th annual Comedy Jam in a Bowl

By Dave Coffey

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This weekend, Student Valley Productions will host its annual Comedy Jam at the University of Massachusetts. After its 14 years of production, the event promises record attendance. It will center on a football theme, and will be aptly titled, “Comedy Bowl XIV.”

The jam will take place over two days, with performances on Friday night and Saturday morning. Student Valley Productions is made up of three comedy troupes from UMass, namely Mission Improvable, which specializes in short-form improvisational comedy, Improv With Attitude, which focuses on longer-form improvisational comedy, and Sketch-22, a sketch comedy variety. All three troupes will perform at the comedy jam, with Improv With Attitude scheduled to perform at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night, and Mission Improvable and Sketch-22 scheduled to perform at 8:00 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. respectively on Saturday morning.

Student Valley Productions is also inviting other comedic performers to the jam. A total of 10 other groups will perform in addition to the Student Valley Productions troupes, bringing the total number of acts to 13 over the course of two-day event. In addition to other collegiate comedy ensembles, several professional comedy performers will also be invited to play the jam, including Team Submarine, Pangea 3000, MC Mr. Napkins and The Dowry.

On top of the live comedy performances, there will also be comedy workshops held by several of the invited professional comedy performers in the early afternoon on Saturday after the morning show. Improvisational comedy squad The Dowry will host an improv comedy workshop. Sketch comedy group Team Submarine will host a sketch-writing workshop. Comedy-rapper MC Mr. Napkins will host a workshop on comedic freestyle rapping. Comedy workshops have been commonplace at the annual comedy jam in recent years.

“It helps to have professionals come in and help us hone our craft, so we can then return it to the UMass community,” said Peter Storey, secretary of Student Valley Productions and producer for Sketch-22.

Attendance to the comedy jam is both free and open to the public. In past years, the event has garnered a significant turnout, and is expected to do so once again this year.

“We have been blessed with excessive attendance in the past, and we are hoping for the same this year,” says Storey.

While Storey says that public attendance has usually been limited to the live performances in the past, the public is also welcome to attend the comedy workshops as well.

The performances will begin on Friday evening at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday morning at 7:45 a.m. in room 65 of Bartlett Hall in the downstairs auditorium. The comedy workshops will take place in rooms W-26 and W-27 in Machmer Hall. For more information, visit the Student Valley Productions office in room 415 of the Student Union, or visit their website, www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~svp/.

Dave Coffey can be reached at [email protected]