May 30, 2024

‘You’re creating something together’

performers huddle at comedy show

NDSU’s To Be Determined Comedy club helps students build skills, make new friends and have a good time in a welcoming environment.

TBD is an improvisation-based comedy student organization open to undergraduate and graduate students from all academic disciplines. The club hosts improv shows every two to four weeks, which are free and open to the public. Members also meet twice a week to practice their improv skills and receive advice from other students. 

Haley Sigl, the president of TBD, said the club welcomes all students regardless of their improv comedy knowledge and skill level.  

“We have all sorts of people that have done different types of comedy, whether it's comedy writing or people who have never even told a joke,”said Sigl, a junior business administration major from Lakeville, Minnesota.

The inclusive environment is a big appeal to several of the club’s members. AJ Quanbeck, a senior double majoring in music and sociology, said they initially attended one of TBD’s shows before deciding to join. 

“Everyone was super encouraging. I had done a bunch of theater in high school, I hadn’t really done any since and this was a really great, low-pressure way to get back into performing,” said Quanbeck, who is from Fargo.

Improv, which requires quick-thinking, confidence and public speaking, has been beneficial to building skills students can take beyond college. TBD’s shows are designed to be interactive with audience members, who at times can throw out scenarios or words they want reflected in the jokes. 

“It’s more of an art than you would initially think,” said September Hamilton, a sophomore biological sciences major who has been in TBD for about a year. “There’s a lot of elements to it, and it does take a bit of time to learn the basics. Also, it’s learning how to run with ideas which can be applied to a lot of different things. Sometimes to make something work you need to take up someone else’s idea instead of running with your own, and that’s something I learned more from improv.” 

Quanbeck said receiving and giving constructive feedback, along with listening to others, has been a major skill they’ve amplified through TBD. 

Tyler Ferron, a graduate student in computer science from Westcliffe, Colorado, said he has been able to build on his interpersonal skills through his involvement in TBD. Being able to meet and collaborate with students from a variety of disciplines has also been a benefit for Ferron.

“I very much appreciate that aspect of it,” he said. “While we’re all different majors, different backgrounds, it’s still a lot of people who like to have fun, like to laugh and like to tell jokes.”

Students in TBD say being a part of the club has been a great way to find a friend group on campus that they can share a laugh with and enhance their college experience.

“It’s been wonderful. I have a really hard time getting out of my shell and kind of getting out of that rut of sticking to myself,” said Hamilton, who is from Fargo. “I’m really introverted and so I think it’s been a really nice experience for me being able to really get out there, have fun and be silly with other people.”

Quanbeck, who began performing on the violin at 3 years old, said TBD feels different. 

“This is the only time I wasn’t nervous before going on stage because you get out there and it’s just you and your friends having fun,” Quanbeck said. “They’ve got you. You’re creating something together. It’s not like we have prepared this thing and then we have to go and present it perfectly. We’re creating something in the moment, which is so cool.”

“I really like just being able to let the creativity fly and come up with fun stuff and watch other people come up with fun things,” Sigl said. “When we have a good day, it’s really good, everyone’s laughing until their sides hurt.”

TBD members’ advice for those thinking of joining is to go for it, even if they’re nervous about improv. 

“Don’t be afraid to jump right in, but don’t be afraid to improve either,” Ferron said. “No one is perfect. Being able to take advice from others, being able to run with it, you’ll be able to then build yourself up and become a great performer.”

Students can learn more about the TBD club on Instagram and MyNDSU. 

To hear more about the impact TBD has on its members, check out the official NDSU YouTube channel

Apply now to be a part of NDSU’s collaborative environment or schedule a visit to see what we have to offer. 

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