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Members of the Chicago City Limits, an improv comedy troupe from New York City perform on stage at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Improv troupe stops in Athens for weekend show

Although the sight of students and dads sliding across the icy bricks offered plenty of laughs this weekend, more than 700 people chose to head indoors Saturday evening to catch the Chicago City Limits improv show.

“I thought it was a great show,” said Carley Berman, a freshman studying advertising and public relations. “It was a great change of pace from other shows because it allowed the audience to become involved. I really liked that about the show.”

Though the show is mostly improvised, Sharon Fogarty, one of the troupe’s performers, explained that the company actually prepares much material ahead of time.

“(The group) demands a polished performance and that their actors be up on current events, knowledgeable of history, capable of portraying limitless characters, plus we have to move and sing well,” Fogarty said. “Chicago City Limits is the most rehearsed improv company that I know of.”

Saturday’s show featured sketches about things that have been prominent in American culture throughout the years, including Wikipedia, the Kardashians and Jeopardy!

Perhaps the most intense skit of the night, “Torture the Actor,” seemed to both delight and upset the crowd. Performer David Chernicoff was placed backstage while Fogarty helped the audience pick a popular phrase for Cherincoff to guess.

The phrase that was chosen was “How ’bout that one, Redleg fans?,” a reference to Cincinnati Reds fans. The phrase took more than 15 minutes for Cherincoff to guess and, by the end, he was still confused as to what the phrase meant because he is not from Ohio.

Despite his obvious frustration during the skit, Cherincoff said he loves touring and performing.

“I love pretty much everything about touring,” Cherincoff said. “Performing is a ton of fun and really fulfilling no matter what, but there’s something special about coming to a new city and experiencing a new audience for the first time.”

Despite the passion the comedians and cast members have for performance, Fogarty said she finds comedy important for the audience as well, especially during hard times.

“I believe all of us carry some pain,” Fogarty said. “Comedy has a way of tickling us where it hurts.  I believe it can be healing, even in the darkest of moments.”


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