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Members of the Fridays Live comedy group laugh as they read through a scene at rehearsal on October 12, 2016. (EMILY MATTHEWS | PHOTO EDITOR)

Clinton and Trump provide plenty of material for OU comedians

With the new election season comes fresh material for comedians to use while writing jokes and sketches.

Between the debates, commercials and tweets, comedians on campus have a lot of content to work with for sketches during the presidential election.

Fridays Live, a comedy group at Ohio University, features student-written sketches produced live every week in Studio C of the Radio-Television Center.

“Donald Trump is the focus of our satire. ... We kind of poke fun at his mannerisms and his bombastic way of speaking,” Alex Lumley, the head writer of Fridays Live, said.

Lumley said incorporating both candidates into sketches has proven to be difficult.

“As much as I would want (Fridays Live) to be able to satirize or mock the two candidates equally, I think it’s also fair to say that Donald Trump has given comedians more to work with,” Lumley said.

Trump’s way of conducting himself makes him a better choice to satirize, Lumley said, because the Republican nominee has "given us a lot."

Matt Lackritz, a member of Blue Pencil Comedy, another comedy group at OU, has a similar view concerning Trump.

“It’s easier to target Donald Trump, especially on a more liberal college campus,” Lackritz said.

As the head writer of Fridays Live, Lumley said he tries not filter his writers. He believes comedy is a way to “diffuse tensions” and make the content more “relatable” to people.

The writers of Fridays Live do have their own personal filters in their sketches, though. Lumley said in terms of controversial issues, such as police brutality, he and his writers tend to “shy away”.

“I sometimes worry that in trying to make a joke or trying to make light of issues like that, people might instead (misinterpret),” Lumley said.

Lackritz, a junior studying journalism, said when it comes to covering controversial issues, it depends on the comedian.

Blue Pencil Comedy holds weekly open mic nights on Saturdays in Baker Lounge.

Lumley and Lackritz both impersonate presidential candidates but in different ways.

Lackritz described how he performs an exaggerated version of Trump to “point out his flaws.”

Impersonating presidential candidates can be difficult. Acting too similar to the candidate’s character is boring, Lumley said, and not being close enough makes it hard for the audience to believe the portrayal.

“There’s kind of a sweet spot you have to hit when impersonating politicians, but fortunately, this election has provided us comedians with candidates who are quite easy to impersonate,” Lumley said.

Alec Kimball, a member of Black Sheep Improv, an improvisational comedy group on campus, believes there are certain steps comedians need to take while impersonating politicians.

“It’s best to not take either candidate seriously,” Kimball, a freshman studying computer science, said. “It’s fun as long as you are doing it in good taste.”

Lumley believes comedians should be using the current election as material for jokes.

“This is an opportunity,” Lumley said. "We would be mistaken not to cover this election.”


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