By Noah Tebben and Chester Kowalski
Those of you lucky enough to have attended one of Sheer Idiocy’s shows know that they are the finest, and the only, improv troupe on campus. Their shows encompass anything from Chicago Shakespeare renditions to living dead people to the exploits of a midnight plumber on his quest for Moe’s.
For those that haven’t been lucky enough, joke’s on you! Their shows are completely free, and as it happens, they’re hosting another show on Saturday (3/25) in Mother’s at 8PM. They’re even going to debut three of their new members as they battle to the death for fame and fortune (maybe). Some of you may be scared to witness their glory for the first time, but don’t worry! We’ll introduce you with some of their trade secrets from S&W’s undercover embeds.
One of the first hidden secrets of Sheer Idiocy is their warm-up game titled ‘Beep Circle’. Beep Circle does not warrant an explanation. You stand in a circle and you pass the BeepTM and if it explodes somehow or you pass it incorrectly, you are dead. Some kind soul may revive you, or some may engage in samurai spirit swaps, or others still may plant a bomb in a four-layer submarine and end the entire game. You will never see it in a show, and only a select few may ever understand it, but it is their binding ritual.
The next thing to understand about the Idiots is that for all of their silly antics, it takes some serious skill and practice to take broad prompts such as ‘The Last Surviving Blockbuster’ and turn them into grand epochs of fathers and sons trying to sell bugs from the backyard just to get the revenue up. Their practices act like mini-shows, complete with games and hosts and introductions just like you’ll find this coming Saturday. Everything takes practice, and everyone participates (eagerly, as the troupe fights for spots to practice in ‘Dead People’) and every game concludes with discussion of what jokes landed and why some members just couldn’t keep it together when the king dueled the jester and why the story went too far wide. There’s genuine strategic thought behind those moments and it shows that you have to take silliness rather seriously, and that’s something we here at S&W have fully come to understand.
Kienan Knight-Boehm, the troupe’s reigning Director, helped us come to understand that this is actually a lighter time for Sheer Idiocy, and that the troupe wasn’t always so eager to play ‘Dead People’. He explained, “We used to be more analytical, and we used to spend more time deconstructing the games than actually playing them.” He also included that they use a ‘holistic model’ in no specific way, so that sounds like some form of improvement.
We also got a chance to speak with some of the new recruits. Our first question to them: Why?
“It was pretty much an accident.”
“The Stockholm syndrome kinda sets in after awhile, ya know?”
“NRB was pretty fun. Then they wouldn’t let me leave.”
“They have this personality gel that makes you super charismatic but then you sign the contract and they have your soul.”
Kienan re-iterates that it’s very much a family atmosphere at Sheer Idiocy, and that during recruiting they emphasize quality over quantity. If the new crop of potential Idiots is particularly bright, they may take on six new members at once, or they may take none. The club has historically tried to keep membership small, as there’s only so many idiots that can fit on a stage, but they’re swelling as of late with increased tryout sizes and they couldn’t be happier.
So wow, you say, they actually take this kinda seriously and now all of the magic is dead. WELL PLOT TWIST here’s the actual truth about Sheer Idiocy that they didn’t want you to know:
- The games are only chosen 45 minutes before the show by way of the senior members getting drunk and hurling younger members at a dart board.
- The National Establishment of Sheer Idiocy asserts that pineapple has no place on pizza, with head idiot Kienan’s veto summarily overruled
- The troupe maintains that it had no involvement in any way during Abraham Lincoln’s assassination
- Sheer Idiocy recommends drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day primarily by letting it dribble out of your mouth and lapping up the remains
- As member Billy kindly pointed out, “Fuck Billy.”
- They do not understand what exactly a fjord is
- We don’t either
- The war of crayons against colored pencils was bloody but fair
- They have in fact cut scenes directly into crazy town
- The White House was too prominent in their scenes so they have in fact boycotted the White House
- There have been 723 days since a concussion
- Spiders who join the troupe have six legs
- Drink your milk unless you can’t
- Stay away from trains, they’re never funny
And again, a big friendly reminder that theirfamous Spring debut is happening THIS SATURDAY (March 25th) at 8:00PM in Mother’s for FREE. That means you can get your laughs in for less than your granpappy spent on a movie, a bucket of popcorn, a newsreel, and a box of Dr. Ned’s Miracle Caramels. We’ll see you there!