Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival brings laughs one scene at a time


Garrett Heyd/ Iowa State Daily

Darrick Burrage cracks a joke during an improv sketch at Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival event Aug. 28 in the M-Shop.

Lydia Wede

Loving nothing more than providing audiences with laughter and entertainment, Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival, an improv comedy group made of Iowa State students, performs every other Wednesday at the Memorial Union’s M-Shop. Tickets are priced at $1.  

“It’s a great place to bring new friends, old friends or even a date,” said Catherine Daily, president of Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival. “Laughing together is a great way to relax and bond, and you’re very likely to have something to laugh about the rest of the night.”

Improv is a common comedic acting style that is featured on several TV shows, such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”and “Just Roll With It,” but there is no script, differentiating improv from stand-up and knock-knock jokes. Instead, the actors and actresses are given a prompt which they then act out on the fly, most of the time without preparation. These scenes require a team effort to be successful, with members doing their best to set others up for punch lines and plot twists. 

“The chemistry in an improv ensemble is unlike anything else,” Daily said. “It is such a fun feeling when you are on stage and make eye contact with a scene partner, and you understand exactly what they are thinking, and you are both on the same page. It’s so great to be inside another person’s head and be able to give them the setups that they need.”

In improv, it’s more important to help the other actors shine than to try vying for the spotlight yourself. To make up for this lack of planning, members of Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival have practices where they work on essential skills, such as character development, plot progression, physical humor and team chemistry.

These performances are enjoyable for actors and spectators alike. The laid-back atmosphere allows scenes to freely flow to the furthest corner of the actors’ imaginations.

Patrons in the seats also receive a role. During the show, the actors will play improv games with audience participation. Onlookers in the crowd have the opportunity to call out character ideas and climax proposals to create some truly unique storylines that seem impossible, but somehow work. 

“Everything that happens is happening for the first time ever, and will never be seen anywhere else ever again,” Daily said.

For improv aficionados, the one-of-a-kind experience is the art form’s draw. 

“If there is one thing I could tell someone about Grandma Mojo’s, it’s that every show is different, and every show is better than the last,” Daily said. 

While the majority of Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival’s performances are for Iowa State students, the elite ensemble has also competed amongst the best of the best at Improv of the Corn, a college improv festival hosted by Iowa State. With performances given by improv ensembles from the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa and Drake University, Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival came on top with a victory.