Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival hosts Iowa State’s first ever improv festival

Iowa State’s Improv group, Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival, performs at the M-Shop during their comedy festival on March 9.

Jeshua Glover

This past weekend Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival gathered improv groups from all over the state for Improv of the Corn, Iowa State’s very first improv festival.

A total of four teams competed in this festival: “D Plus” from Drake University, “Paperback Rhino” from the University of Iowa, “Some Assembly Required” from the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State’s own improv troupe, “Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival.” Hosted in the M-Shop, the four teams put together a wonderful show in front of a packed house though, uneventfully, Iowa State’s improv troupe won the competition.

Even though Iowa State may have enjoyed some home court advantage, the performances by all four of the groups were truly entertaining. Each group had their own original and spontaneous set of scenes and games to perform, which promptly produced enthusiasm from the audience.

The first group to perform was D Plus, out of Drake University, came out strong, introed by Drake’s “Nice for What,” while a little on the nose, but done well. Overall they provided a lot of energy and were surprisingly confident as they were the first group to perform. D Plus were funny, clever and they had the crowd laughing by the end of the their set.

The second group to perform, Paperback Rhino, out of the University of Iowa, had arguably the best performance of the night. The group came out to a classic jazz ensemble tune, met by an outstanding crowd reception, filling the room with life as they made their way onto the stage. They were absolutely hilarious with their sets and the crowd could not get enough, it was truly a spectacle to watch them perform. They had exceptional energy, practically jumping across the stage at times, with a creative set up to their scenes.

After this performance, the host had Paperback Rhino and D Plus perform a joint set together, which was enjoyable to watch and honestly pretty funny. The groups had outstanding chemistry with each other and had the crowd in a frenzy. The combination of the troupes produced some interesting moments and had the crowd manically laughing on the way to the ten-minute reception.

The third team to perform, Some Assembly Required, hailed from the University of Northern Iowa, left a bit to be desired. Even though they didn’t get the same crowd reception as the other three teams, they put on a confident set and performed well. Their scenes were a little corny but you could tell there was experience in their craft and the crowd had no issue in participating with their later sets.

The final team to perform was Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival from, you guessed it, Iowa State. The hometown improv troupe came out strong to an excellent reaction from the crowd. They all had matching sweatshirts, definitely a point in their favor, and their sets were highly creative and funny. The show ended with one member of each group competing on stage in a challenge, won by Grandma Mojo’s representative.

Christian Manahl, a senior in aerospace engineering, has been performing impov for four years and is currently a member of Grandma Mojo’s. Manahl is passionate about his craft and thinks improv is something you need to experience in person, like at their festival.

“There’s something really different about improv, that it’s right there in the moment and it can never exist again,” Manahl said.