Claudy With A Chance of Comedy


If you are looking for a laugh, a Charred Goosebeak performance is the right place to be. 

The Charred Goosebeak, Colgate’s improvisational comedy troupe, brings people from the greater student body and Hamilton community together in laughter. Members of this club are committed to being “witty and responsibly inappropriate.”

Standing up on stage in front of a crowd of people, telling an unscripted story, while also trying to be funny may be someone’s worst nightmare, but for Henry Claudy, this comes naturally. Claudy, a senior from Boston, has found his place at Colgate in the Charred Goosebeak club.

When Claudy was a first-year, his Link, an upperclassman responsible for helping incoming students navigate the first year of college, was the president of the club. 

“He did his best to not push any of his Linksters into it, but I kept hounding him, and he invited me to audition. It all clicked from there,” Claudy said. 

The audition consisted of some one-on-one work and some scene work up on stage with other people.

With some experience doing improv in high school, Claudy joined Goosebeak in the fall of 2017.

“I loved the group from the get-go and it was just such a blast,” Claudy said.

As a film & media studies and history double concentrator, Claudy has a true appreciation for the arts. However, Claudy’s love for the arts does not only include improv but also acting. As a member of the Experimental Theatre Company (ETC), Colgate’s sketch comedy group, Claudy has many different outlets to express his creativity. Although they may seem similar, improv and acting are actually quite different. Claudy describes the difference between the two as “night and day.”

Claudy said what he loves most about improv is its spontaneity.

“I love improv because I don’t have to memorize stuff. I am so bad at getting lines down. So, it is nice to be able to go on stage and just [wing it]. As long as it’s funny, it’s good,” Claudy said.

When it comes to thinking of where to go with a specific scene, Claudy reveals the secrets behind his creativity. He will usually pull ideas based on his day, or he will do what he describes as “A to C thinking.” In this process, Claudy will think of the first thing that pops into his head and then whatever pops into his head from there will help him get a scene going. 

The stage is an opportunity for Claudy to step outside of his normal day-to-day routine and become someone else. 

“I love doing voices or accents or doing different stuff. As someone from Boston, I use my Boston accent a lot [in shows,]” Claudy said.

Claudy believes that one of the most important aspects of improv is being able to laugh at yourself. However, putting yourself out on the line and making yourself the joke can be “One of the hardest things to get down, but one of the easiest things to lean on in a scene,” Claudy explained.

Another important skill to have while up on stage in dialogue with others is the ability to listen. While there are no real rules in improv, it is still important to listen to your partner in order to develop the storyline.

“The biggest laugh you are going to get isn’t [from being] outright hysterical, it’s [from] calling back to previous scenes,” Claudy advised. 

As a first-year or sophomore on campus it can be difficult to put yourself out there with enough confidence to get up on stage and perform a skit. Claudy recognizes this as a challenge he once had to overcome. 

Now, as a senior with many shows under his belt, Claudy’s nerves have washed away. Through his experiences, he has gained a greater understanding for his audience.

“No one wants to see you fail on stage; the audience doesn’t want you to fail, your scene partners don’t want you to fail. So, it’s one of those things where you can only really overcome it by getting up on stage and feeling how awful it is at first and then building off of that.”

Claudy is grateful that he was able to explore improv in high school and is happy to have found his passion here at Colgate in Charred Goosebeak.

If you are interested in learning more about improv, almost every year The Charred Goosebeak club does a show with Rob Belishi and Jon Barinholtz. Belishi and Barinholtz start out with a seminar for students who want to learn more about improv and afterward they transition into a show with the members of Goosebeak. Go check it out!