33rd & State, Marquette’s newest and only sketch comedy group, was started by members of Marquette’s improv comedy troupe, the Studio 013 Refugees.
The idea for the group came from writing promos for Fugees shows they’ve been doing on a consistent basis since about a year ago.
“A lot of the people in this group are actually Fugees,” said Charlie Mohl, a senior in the College of Communication and a member of both groups. “We all wanted a chance to operate in a different format.”
Mohl said even though sketch comedy and improv are different things, they keep the exciting seat-of-your-pants improv mindset when writing and producing sketches.
“With sketch comedy, you can be more attached to your own ideas,” Mohl said. “Because with improv, your job is to make the other person look good, so it’s nice.”
The group started in October but pushed the official launch date to this month in order to have more time to prepare sketches and videos. The troupe has been brainstorming, writing and producing ideas over the past three months so it can release videos on a weekly basis without having to stress about writing with limited time.
“We have writers meetings on Tuesdays, and it’s really cool to see,” Mohl said. “A lot of people have improv background, so it’s really cool basically watching people workshop scripts.”
Spencer Rose, a sophomore in the College of Communication, and a member of 33rd & State, agreed.
“A lot of stuff will be like someone comes in and says, ‘I have a funny idea, that’s this and this,’ and the people build up from there,” Rose said. “But it all basically starts with one sentence.”
With its YouTube videos and online presence, the group hopes to build enough viewers and popularity to put on a live production featuring new sketches not previously posted online.
“There’s a balance of Marquette-specific jokes because that’s our immediate audience,” Rose said. “Since we’re going to put them all over social media, though, our friends who don’t go here won’t be able to necessarily get it if it’s all Marquette stuff. So it’s a nice mix of the two.”
Although many of the group’s members are also part of the Fugees, the troupe features new faces. They post meeting times on Twitter, and anyone who has good ideas is welcome to join.
“There’s basically no audition process,” Rose said. “It’s just showing up at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. It’s been pretty successful for a group that has nothing.”
The name 33rd & State came after some brainstorming for a “sketchy” name. Rose said he was thinking of names such as “Wisconsin and 22nd” and a friend mentioned that he went to school near 33rd & State.
“I like it better than some groups that have one dumb pun they’re stuck with,” Mohl said. “But, I mean, we’re kinda dumb too.”
33rd & State plans to start releasing its weekly videos in the next couple of weeks. The group hopes to become a known name on campus, but its ultimate goal is bigger than that.
“We want to go to March Madness and win as a sketch comedy group,” Rose said.
“It’s like one of these wacky scenarios where like we’ll knock out the basketball team and steal their uniforms, like ‘Space Jam,’” Mohl added. “It’s all a ploy to reenact ‘Space Jam.’”