I have this theory that no matter what the situation is, it can be solved with a laugh. It’s probably a bit of an immature problem solving technique, but you can’t fight the fact that erupting in laughter is one of the greatest feelings. Watching people laugh is quite enjoyable as well—belly shaking, mouth wide open, clapping, eyes closed, eyes watering, head thrown back. There’s something beautiful about real laughter.
Since there is nothing better than a good laugh, I thought I’d introduce you to Ryerson University’s official sketch comedy troupe: RiOT. The troupe has been around for 65 years, helping students laugh their way through the stressful moments in their university career.
But I don’t want to focus on the people that are on stage making you laugh—although they are key aspects in this laughing experience! But I want to instead introduce you to two of the people that you would not meet on stage. Two third year Radio & Television Arts: Media Production students who have dedicated a whole bunch of time to RiOT, behind the scenes.
Meet Jorge & Shreya:
Eve: So what is RIOT?
JORGE: RiOT is a sketch comedy group that dates back to the beginning of Ryerson University, when we used to be a polytechnic and polio was still a thing. Every year we put on a show featuring the best sketches we’ve worked on throughout the fall semester. Fun fact, its our 65th birthday!
SHREYA: We write, produce and perform original sketches for our annual show each year, and are a 65-year-old tradition on campus. We are older than Ryerson University itself!
Happy birthday! So, what is your role on RIOT!
J: Making sure nothing goes wrong, but I’m still learning. Producing means coming up with a budget for the year, pulling a cast together, producing video and online content, coming up with the theme for the show, and most importantly securing an awesome venue.
S: I’m the co-producer! I’ve been assistant producing & co-producing for the last three years.
Why aren’t you on stage?
S: Because I’m not funny…
J: You know that scene when the little mermaid sees Prince Eric for the first time and she wishes she had legs. Replace Prince Eric with the Second City and legs with being on stage! It’s been tough this year producing since I was on the cast the previous two years. It’s a hard change and the responsibilities shift, but I know there’s so much talent at Ryerson and I couldn’t be happier with the cast this year. In our writers room they always have me in stitches.
How do you manage producing RiOT and also being a student?
J: Balancing school and RiOT is tough, and I use the word “balancing” lightly. Theres a lot of hard work and late nights that go into the show and sometimes I’ve put school on the back burner. Some people think its silly but I just really care about the show. Im what you call a busy student, Shreya is the real super star: fulltime internship, full course load (evening and online classes), producing RiOT, and a part time job. I have so much respect for her…but her love life sucks.
S: Safe to say I have never been this busy IN MY LIFE. Interning full time, going to school and producing RiOT has taken over my life, but I think it’s all about managing your time, delegating work when you need to, and being organized! Day planners and to-do lists are my everything.
What’s the best thing about working together?
S: The fact that I’m working with one of my good friends!
J: I always know she has my back, and she brings a spirit of security and organization to the team. We’re like the left and right part of the brain, so we’re like one whole brain!
S: …Again…The fact that I’m working with one my good friends.
J: Sometimes we get on each others nerves, but the worst part was deciding what our riot email password was going to be. (sharkeisha1234^&@)
Why have you continued with RiOT, besides the obvious reason that you get a incredible yearly update to your profile picture?
J: The profile pictures are sweet. Honestly this is such a great opportunity for students to come together and make something awesome. It’s pretty easy to go through university and just coast and be fine. I didn’t want to do that. RiOT keeps me busy, stressed, on my toes, and hearing the laughter during our show makes everything worth it.
S: You are also promised at LEAST few amazing Instagrams so it’s more than what meets the eye! In all seriousness, it’s amazing being a part of a team that works all year to put together a sketch comedy show, and to see it come together at the end of the year on The Second City stage is so rewarding. You also get to work with some of the most talented people on campus, which is amazing in and of itself.
Can I join RIOT if I’m not funny, but want to be funny?
J: I think so. Just prove yourself in your audition. I think there’s this negative stigma that we think we’re the best and the funniest, and by no means is that true. You don’t have to be the funniest person to join RiOT. Sometimes scripts are read during the writer’s room and they fall flat! But that’s part of the process, RiOT is a great way to give your creative muscle a good workout. You want to join RiOT? Be organized, be dedicated, be hard working, and having a few jokes up your sleeve doesn’t hurt.
S: You can help write? Or produce like me! #TEAMNOTFUNNY
Tell me a joke!
J: How many people does it take to paint Gould street?
…..A lot, and about $175,000 of University money.
This is a serious problem. END THE MADNESS!
S: A jew, a dwarf and a blonde walk into the Second City….
…And come to “It Came From The Peanut Gallery”.
You should too.
(This is why I’m producer)
Jorge and Shreya have been busy working hard on not only their school work, but RiOT too. I’m so thankful that they were able to find time for our blog. If you’re looking for a good study break, or just feel like laughing, check out “It Came From The Peanut Gallery” this Sunday night @10:30PM at The Second City. And don’t worry, I made sure to ask if those with peanut allergies can attend too.
S: Yes, but bring your own epi pen…
Follow RiOT on Twitter @RiOT_2014
Check out their Facebook Page RiOT 2014
Follow Eve on Twitter @evesharabi