Improvability Provides Eccentric and Unique Comedy in Isla Vista

Photo courtesy of Improvability

Raymond Matthews

UCSB’s Improvability is a well-known performance group that has become a staple for entertainment in Isla Vista. Their most recent show on Friday night, Improvability: The Musical Show, incorporated both improv comedy and improvised music, challenging the performers to create a story, contrive jokes, and compose music all on the spot. This obstacle put performers into an awkward position, but instead of resisting this challenge, they leaned into it, making awkwardness the star of the show.

Improvability is a comedy troupe of UCSB students that performs every Friday at 8 p.m. in Embarcadero Hall. They have been performing in Isla Vista for over seven years. Their unconventional comedy style coupled with their unique ability to engage with their audience has made them a go-to for UCSB students in need of a laugh.

At the beginning of the show on Friday, Improvability’s emcee Milan Granillo grabbed the audience’s attention with rapid fire jokes that set the tone for the rest of the night. One of the most important parts of any comedy show, particularly improv, is to make sure that the audience is always engaged and eager to participate in the performance.

The audience was anxious to participate from the get-go, with nearly every audience member frantically shouting suggestions for the stories that the performers were about to create. The performers — Andrew Ramirez, Milan Granillo, Nathan Kruse, Paige Stoveland, Duncan Bardeau, Quique Hernandez, and Annie Keys each accepted the audience’s suggestions with admirable confidence and enthusiasm.

Each of Improvability’s performers integrated their unique sense of humor into the changing musical scores, storylines, and audience prompts, and did it all while playing off each other’s improvisations. At times, each story took new, creative twists, and while each of these plot twists were hilarious, they challenged performers to keep up and keep the storyline going.

This process was not always smooth, causing performers to pause in somewhat awkward silences, but it was their creativity that transformed the awkwardness into humor. Each pause was met with a new, even more random plot twist than the one before, putting the audience on a comedic thrill ride that none of us wanted to end.

Improvability’s performers understand that their strength lies in their off-the-cuff style, recognizing that not every segment will be perfectly smooth, and that it doesn’t need to be. This performance proved that, while many expect comedy to flow smoothly with a cohesive story, improv comedy shines through eclectic storylines that entertain audiences and performers alike.

If you’re in need of a laugh, you can catch an Improvability show every Friday night at 8 p.m. in Embarcadero Hall for an entry fee of $3.