The half of the UMC office that belongs to Left Right TIM
is messy, and the walls are covered in posters from past shows and festivals the group has participated in. It’s obvious that the team is serious about what they do – as serious as an improv comedy group can be. Without much prompting, Nick Collins, co-captain of Left Right TIM, shows off the plaque the group won at regionals.
Collins, a 22-year-old senior communications major, was one of seven from the group that went to Heartland Regionals two weeks ago. Left Right TIM took first place in the competition against 14 other collegiate teams, sending them to nationals in March.
Left Right TIM members from left, Rachel Van Gordon, Josh Scott, Nick Collins, Alison Banowsky, Derek Poppe, Corey Garretson and Blair Britt in front. Left Right TIM will be traveling to Chicago to compete against teams from around the nation. (Courtesy Left Right TIM)
Every year, the Chicago Improv Festival holds the College Improv Tournament, which attracts collegiate improv groups from all over the country. This year, 126 teams competed in 16 regional competitions across the country. Of the original 126 groups, 16 will go on to compete in the national competition in Chicago.
Left Right TIM has gone to regionals for the past three years. They got third place their first year, second place the next year, and first this year.
“We’re all super excited [to go to nationals], even the team members that couldn’t come to Kansas City,” Corey Garretson, 21-year-old Spanish and Portuguese major and one of the members that went to regionals, said.
“We’ve kind of set a new benchmark for Left Right TIM, winning regionals, where hopefully we can get to Chicago every year from here on out,” Collins said.
The group made it clear that going to nationals was a win-win situation, regardless of the outcome.
“[Even] if we don’t [win], we saw 15 more of the best groups in the nation bring their own style, and we can only learn from that, and make friendships,” Collins said. “Hopefully these are the people [out there] when we try to do it professionally, when we go to these different theaters in different parts of the United States. It’s these kids – these same people — that we’re going to be running into, that we’re maybe going to be in improv groups with down the line.”
For Left Right TIM, tournaments always mean meeting new people and seeing other improv groups. Although the group does compete, the members like to focus on the non-competitive parts of the festivals.
“I’ve never been to Chicago, really, so I’m just super excited to be there for the weekend and check it out with a bunch of other comedians,” Josh Scott, a 23-year-old english and geology major who also went to regionals, said. “Whether we win or not, I don’t really care. That’s not true, I would love it if we won, but only because that would make the trip that much more fun,”
The improv group has a lot of support in Boulder, which was clearly proven from the updates on their Facebook page to the response to their win at regionals.
“As the seven of us were celebrating by ourselves in the hotel, we kept getting text messages and Facebook updates and stuff,” Scott said. “People were really excited. I think maybe even more excited than we were.”
After nationals, Left Right TIM has two other trips planned for the rest of this semester. The group will head to the Fracas! Improv Festival in Los Angeles in April, and they will road trip through Minnesota, Chicago, and Indianapolis this summer. Collins said the trips let the group focus on networking and learning rather than competing. The festivals also allow each member to work on their individual style.
“We have our own unique spin on improv comedy. I think it’s a really progressive, cutting-edge form of entertainment that’s getting more and more popular, because there are no rules to what you do,” Collins said. “After our performance [at the Fracas! Improv Festival in Los Angeles], people were coming up to us and saying ‘I love this Boulder improv, it’s so cool.’”
The group, which celebrates its four year anniversary later this month, is always looking for new ways to push its potential and innovate its shows. Rather than focusing on competing, the members keep their minds on performing and entertaining their audience.
“Improv being competitive, I think, is completely against what improv comedy is all about. The pillars of improv are supporting and accepting and saying yes and working with others,” Collins said. “When we’re put in a competition, there’s that mindset where you kind of want to be above and better and have a certain type of swagger about you. But my understanding of improv comedy is not at all that.”
Left Right TIM will compete in Chicago on March 10 against 16 other teams from across the nation. Fans can view the live stream on College Improv Festival’s website.
Left Right TIM performs every Friday night in Hale 270 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $3.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ainslee Mac Naughton at Ainslee.email@example.com.