Rows upon rows of students held back tears of laughter as professional and student comedians practiced their craft of comedy Tuesday for a charitable cause.
The show, titled “A Night of Comedy for a Cause,” was organized by Trap Door Improv and After Hours Improv, provided an evening of laughter at Plachta Auditorium for Alzheimer’s research.
“It took a lot to pull this show together and we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Stevie Elizabeth Sahutske, president of After Hours Improv and Mount Pleasant senior. “We all had fun working together. Hopefully, we can do it again sometime.”
The show was done in association with Hilarity for Charity U, a national organization created by actor Seth Rogen to fund the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
The event opened with a video of Rogen addressing the audience and thanking them for contributing to the cause.
The first standup comedian was Patrick Fowler, who competed in the Funniest Person in Grand Rapids contest last year. Fowler’s act consisted of a rapid fire succession of one-liners, occasionally punctuated with comments like, “Little dark for a charity show.”
Grand Rapids comedian Stu MaCallister performed a stand-up routine of humorous, foul-mouthed anecdotes.
After Hours Improv member Nicholas Boulahanis said the event was a personal one for him because his grandmother has Alzheimer ’s disease.
“It’s an important issue and I don’t think people necessarily give it the attention it deserves,” the Allen Park senior said. “It’s a scary thing and it needs to be taken more seriously.”
After Hours Improv and Trap Door Improv collaborated for the first time to put on the show. The groups performed a number of original sketches as well as games influenced by the popular improv television show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
The groups acted out absurd scenarios based on suggestions from the audience with quick-witted improvisation and physical comedy.
The show is part of a fundraising competition with Hilarity for Charity where universities compete in raising money. The university that wins will host an advance screening of Rogen’s upcoming comedy movie, “Neighbors.”
Those at the event were able to purchase raffle tickets with all of the proceeds going toward The Alzheimer’s Association. Donations were also accepted through the event’s webpage on Crowdrise. At the time of publication, the final amount raised by the show had not been determined.
Forestt Strong Lafave has been doing improv since his freshman year, working with both campus troupes.
“The great thing about improv is that it’s all off the top of your head and you’ll never see anything like that again,” Lafave said. “I’m excited to see how much money we made because that’s really what this is about.”