story Dave Lim, Contributing Reporter

The Improv Comedy Conglomerate promoting the group at the Student Activities Fair on Aug. 19 (Christopher Tee)

The Improv Comedy Conglomerate promoting the group at the Student Activities Fair on Aug. 19 (Christopher Tee)


In the chase for artistry, how do we decide what constitutes as merit?

For The Improv Comedy Conglomerate, spontaneity is an art form and their challenge is in deciding the best way to measure it. Desiring to create a close-knit team, The Improv Comedy Conglomerate measured up participants through a series of workshops, which doubled as an intensive five-week selection process. Over 50 students attended the workshops. The result? A streamlined, qualified Improv Troupe of ragtag intellectual rapscallions who are forever up to no good.

While the Student Government’s Principles of Recognition states that all recognized Yale-NUS College student organizations must be “accessible” and that there can be “no barrier to membership, such as a selection process or membership fee,”. Only performing groups and athletic teams can “select based on merit following tryouts.”

With their goals set on longer forms of comedy lasting up to an hour, improvisational comedy requires a close-knit team of people who can be vulnerable with one another. Both Executive Vice-President Bozy Lu ’18 and Executive Vice-President Kevin Low ’17 said they understood that the Student Government’s Principles of Recognition states that student groups should be open and barrier-free to the general Yale-NUS community. This was then practised by having a 5-week long open workshop.

Post-tryouts, The Improv Comedy Conglomerate has chosen 13 out of the 21 participants who attended all five of the workshops. They will go on to form their very own Improv Troupe. In justifying the call to conduct auditions, Lu  recalled her recess week last semester on an exchange trip to Yale University. Describing the various Yale improvisational comedy teams she met as “a family troupe that constantly bounces off ideas,” she said she hopes that the upcoming streamlined Yale-NUS community will be just as good.

The executive committee said they believe that the 5-week long process is a better way of measuring the potential and level of commitment of the participants. “There is no trapdoor on the floor,” Low said . The process is not designed to intimidate people and is just for the improvement of talent within The Improv Comedy Conglomerate, he said. Similar to Lu, Low also said that the streamlining of the team helps improve the sharing of knowledge.

Gem Tan ’19, who is now part of The Improv Comedy Conglomerate, said that workshops have “remained accessible” and have not actively deterred her from committing time to The Improv Comedy Conglomerate. While the workshops were intense, she maintained that they were actually a good mechanism for her to step out of her personal comfort zone of humor. She added that the workshops were “seriously-non-serious,” a paradoxical refrain aligned with Lu’s and Low’s original intentions as the organizers of the five week long workshop.

The Improv Comedy Conglomerate will have a showcase that concludes the end of the semester.

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