The audience yelled and clapped as the lights turned on, music blasted as the lights went out and the entire cast of The Crazy Monkeys jumped across the stage to kick off their Friday night show.

The Crazy Monkeys’ first show of 2023 filled Fowler Hall’s capacity of 388 people. About 30 people were turned away after not being able to get seats.

“We’ve been around the longest. We’ve been around since like the ‘80s,” said Liam Hostetler, the president of the club.

In their shows, the Monkeys play games with set rules, which one of the members explains to the audience. Within these games, the comedians have to make things up as they go and take suggestions from the crowd.

One game the Monkeys play every show is “Sex is like...” In this game, the group asks the audience to give suggestions for what sex is like. Each member then makes one-off jokes based on those suggestions.

“Sex is like Among Us, I’ve got imposter syndrome,” said Sathvik Manam, a first-year engineering student.

But other up-and-coming groups are now joining the long-standing legacy improv group in the campus comedy scene. One such group, Ad Liberation, recently hosted their own Friday night show in Matthews Hall, at the same time as the Monkeys.’

“I don’t really see it as competition (against other comedy clubs) because at the end of the day, we’re building a community of comedians,” said Bridget Schafer, a student in the Polytechnic Institute, head of The Crazy Monkeys’ social media and designs their posters. “When you have more than one group performing, you build a collective audience; it’s all about the audience.”

The Monkeys have a consistent fanbase full of people like Parker Schmitt, who has returned to watch each of their shows for the past three semesters.

“I feel like their humor is for a lot of different audiences, it’s become more mainstream comedy,” Schmitt said.

This humor makes the Monkeys’ shows accessible to anyone, even those new to their material.

“It was my first show, and honestly I wasn’t expecting much but I was really impressed,” said Rebecca Bedwell, a first-year engineering student and an audience member who participated on stage during the show. “I liked how each cast member had their own character or personality that they carried throughout the show, and they all worked really well together.”

In improv, the number one rule is that you can never say no — you have to keep the show going. The Crazy Monkeys worked together throughout the show to keep each of the games going, even when one of their members said something unexpected.

“Anybody can be funny, and anybody can do it,” Hostetler said, “but if you don’t have that sort of family bond (and) team chemistry, you’re not gonna be able to perform well.”

The Crazy Monkeys, who are conducting auditions for new members next week, will have a combined show with Purdue’s other comedy clubs on March 24, creating the largest comedy show at Purdue since the group started.

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