“Laughing matters because it sure beats the hell out of crying.”
Such is the motto of the sketch comedy club Laughing Matters. Started in August of 2010, the members of Laughing Matters put on two shows every semester that consist of sketches written and performed by the cast, much like the television show Saturday Night Live.
The club started out with just four members, Greg Larson, Kyle Oram, Eric Phillips and Robbie Pierce.
“We wanted to start a club after we saw the Divine Comedy Club at BYU,” said Larson.
Since then, Rusty Carnahan, Joshua Michael French, Cherie Julander and Meg Rush have been added to the cast, along with crew-members Kayla Benson, Kristy Benson, Michael Gray, Evan Mabry, Casey Price and Zoe Wilde.
The group meets twice a week for about two hours and bring in sketches that have been written on their own time. Having no director, the cast collaborates to see which sketches and jokes are good, need work or need to be thrown out.
“It’s hard to keep eight minds all on the same page,” said Larson.
Once the week of a show comes, the cast and crew are practicing nearly every day to perfect each sketch. “It’s hard to keep it fresh,” said Julander. “The first time we do a joke, it’s so funny. But after we do it a hundred times, it can get stale.”
Typical sketches parody a variety of not only pop culture on a national level, such as “Jersey Shore” or the 90’s television show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” but also satirize things within the valley. One such sketch makes fun of the fanatical devotion some men have to the Utah Jazz team. Another, titled “Provo Girls,” perfectly parodies the mentality and mannerism of girls living in Provo, with lines like, “Your dress is modest, but also sexylicious.”
There is a running joke within Laughing Matters that appears in nearly every show: how they are not an improv group. “When we tell people we’re a comedy group, they usually say, ‘Oh, I love improv’,” said Pierce. “The improv jokes are there to get people to understand we do sketch comedy.”
The goal of Laughing Matters is to fill seats and make people laugh. Their very name evokes the overall maxim of the group. Newcomer French explained how much being a part of the group has helped him throughout the semester.
“When all hell is breaking loose, you need to laugh,” said French.