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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

‘Yes, and…’: How Charred Goosebeak Finds Success on the Stage

Printed with permission of Lizzie Nash

For many people, the thought of getting up on stage with no prepared material and trying to make an audience laugh sounds like a nightmare, but not for the members of Charred Goosebeak. As Colgate University’s only improv troupe, Charred Goosbeak loves the opportunity to impress crowds with their spontaneous moments of comedic gold. Improv comedy is unique because of its sole reliance on the comedians themselves and not any premade or practiced material.

“It’s not about who’s the smartest or who’s the most clever, necessarily. It’s about who’s willing to just take the dive and be kind of absurd and crazy,” junior Lauren Sterne said.

The willingness to “take the dive” is not the only thing that helps the group deliver. In order to successfully perform together, they rely on the bonds that they have created as a group during their two practices a week and additional time spent just hanging out.

“We all know each other really well, which is good because it contributes to positive chemistry, and I feel like that reflects well on stage,” senior and Co-President Sophie Neugarten said.

Neugarten highlighted the crucial role that trust plays in fostering the group’s success.

“You have to trust your partner,” Neugarten said. “You trust that when you say something, they’re going to reply with something that doesn’t leave you at a dead end. Even if you have a really funny idea, you have to go with what is going on in the scene, because it just looks awkward and selfish if you just go out with this massive idea and then people start going somewhere else and you just keep pulling it back.”

Establishing their close-knit nature came with some added challenges this year. After many members graduated last spring, the troupe had five members at the start of the school year. In the fall, they completed the process of auditions and added their new members, but there were some concerns before they began practicing.

“I think there was a little bit of nervousness because this was the largest group of new students we had taken at one time. So we were very interested to see how the group chemistry would go,” senior and Co-President Lizzie Nash said. “But at that first practice, I just remember we did amazing improv that day. There was instant chemistry with the whole group.”

Over Family Weekend, which took place Oct. 27 to 29 last semester, Charred Goosebeak invited some comedians and the founders of the troupe to perform with the new group on campus.

“It felt like all of our hard work had paid off,” Nash said. “It was very cool to see some people’s first time on stage and some people’s last time on stage. It was just so awesome.”

Stern explained that the joy of performing runs deep.

“When I step out there and I get a huge laugh — oh my gosh. That sort of dopamine doesn’t leave you. That feeling doesn’t leave you. It is pure validation,” Sterne said.

This semester, the troupe is looking to add a few new members before they set any upcoming performance dates. If you are interested in joining, reach out to Co-Presidents Lizzie Nash and Sophie Neugarten via email for more information. Check out their Instagram (@goosebeak), as well, to learn about opportunities to see the group perform this semester.

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