“There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who are normal and you.” The audience roars with laughter on this Friday night as a few members of the Quick Wits troupe “heckle” on member Jourdan Dixon. As the night progressed it became clear that there were two kinds of people in this world, normal and the actors “playing” at Quick Wits on Main Street in Midvale.
Quick Wits began in 1994 through founder Bob Bedore as an off-Broadway theater. It was the first of its kind to open in Utah. At the time, improv shows such as “Whose Line is it Anyway?” were uncommon and unheard of. The Quick Wits troupe began the blossom of improv shows in Utah.
“We wanted something different,” explained Bedore. “It was just a group of actors that were really willing to take a chance on something.”
This chance has certainly paid off. Quick Wits is a charm for smiles. The creativity and fast commentary light up the stage in such a way that it is impossible not to laugh.
Quick Wits consists of a number of “games,” too many to fit into a single night. Some of them include The Text Game, Oscar-winning Moment, History Buff and Bucket of Water.
The Text Game includes using audience members’ phones, reading off their text messages and announcing them on stage, then acting them out. The only rule for the players is that they can only say what is shown on a text for the scene. Laughs erupted as the players acted out a car dealership scene.
“I’m coming out,” announced Dixon, reading off a text message. The troupe simply stood in bewilderment.
“[You find] the worst ones possible,” explained Shawn Zumbrunnen, another member of the troupe. “That’s what makes it funny.”
Another laugh-out-loud act is shown through History Buff. The audience is once again involved as they choose a historical event as well as an invention. This particular night, the Salem Witch Trials and the Shake Weight were chosen. The players were asked to act out how the Salem Witch Trials brought about the Shake Weight.
It began with a man named Reverend Puckett whose wife was the “knife witch.” He was unaware of this, of course, which caused him to ask her many questions. The laughs continued as Zumbrunnen claimed, “Reverend Puckett was very ahead of his time, because he asked the opinion of a woman.”
As the years progressed the explanation became stranger, continuing with a mob leader, a six-eyed human and a death from reading a one hundred-year-old diary. The story concluded stating that stronger wrists would stop the “knife witch,” therefore, the Shake Weight was invented.
“We create the most ridiculous things on stage,” exclaimed Jason Wild, another member of the troupe. It became clear that, at this show, anything can happen.
Bucket of Water is a game where a single member of the troupe must keep his head under water until he is tagged out. The scene progresses as other members of the troupe keep the man’s head under water for as long as possible.
“I’m used to being out of breath,” said Sean Timothy, “so I was fine.”
“Some people look at it like art, we see it as entertainment,” explained Bedore. “It’s still so fresh every night. I keep doing it because good new people keep showing up.”
“Even in what we might consider later as an “off-show,” if we go through and count the number of good laughs that we had in a show and then you go and do like whatever the funniest movie is you can imagine and count the laughs in that, we usually come out (with) more laughs.”
The laughter does not stop with the end of one act. There are numerous games, comments and audience members to embarrass.
“We just have one goal,” explains Bedore. “To entertain, whatever it takes.”
“Even if we have to drown someone,” added Dixon.
The Quick Wits troupe plays every Friday and Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. The address is 7711 South Main Street (700 West) in Midvale. Tickets are $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for seniors and students. Mention this article and get a 2 for 1 deal on tickets.