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Quick Wits captivates with comedy specials

Feb 02, 2018 09:42AM ● Published by Ileana Brown

Bob Bedore kicks off the show by taking audience suggestions. The crowd goes wild as they shout out random words and phrases from left to right. (Photo/Quick Wits)

Gallery: QW [4 Images] Click any image to expand.

In a world where access to virtually endless prerecorded entertainment is available, comedic actors are turning to improvisation to keep audiences engaged and attending live performances. 

Improv is never the same and creates a unique experience each night for both the audience and the actors. It’s exciting and entertaining to watch the show unfold before one’s eyes while also aware that you are experiencing it for the first time along with the actors themselves. Quick Wits Comedy is Utah’s outlet for improv comedy. 

Quick Wits Comedy (QWC) is Utah’s first professional improvisational troupe. They opened in 1994 at the Off Broadway Theater and have performed nearly every weekend since, performing about 5,000 shows throughout the Salt Lake Valley and in several western states. They perform at The Midvale Performing Arts Center on 695 W. Center St. (7720 South). 

All shows are unscripted and performed on the spot with the help of audience suggestions creating a unique show. The first rule of improvisation is “yes” —meaning anything goes. Any verbal contribution to a discussion is accepted without judgment. This gives flight to creativity and critical thinking, leaving lots of headroom for endless opportunities. QWC is similar to television shows like “Studio C” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Stand-up comedian and actor Bob Bedore and many of his fellow actors yearned for more creativity in the acting arena. They wanted to start an improv troupe, but were unsure how to. With Bedore’s passion and determination he caught an A&E special detailing the trade of improv. He showed the other actors and not long after that Quick Wits Comedy was founded. 

“Improv can be easy…at least the basic parts of it,” Bedore said. “You have to let yourself live in the scene and not worry about anything. It’s hard for people to just let go sometimes. They get caught up in trying to be funny or trying to force a scene in a direction they think it should go. But if you just let things happen around you and go with it, it’s always better. It’s like trying to swim against a riptide. Always better to let it take you.”

With Bedore’s years in the field of performance, QWC continues to thrive and change allowing him to grow and gain the necessary skills in becoming an improv instructor of various theatre techniques, especially his theatre combat training. 

Quick Wits is the official title for all of their shows, but around holidays and special occasions they like to spice things up with witty titles such as Classic Quick Wits, Turkey Bowl, Wheel of Fun-Derland, Schoolyard Brawl and Flinch Ball. 

Each show consists of two teams competing against one another in a battle of wits creating comedy sketches from audience shout outs. After, the audience may judge the winners. 

The holiday specials are a little different, meaning each show is based around their title’s theme. 

“The Thanksgiving Laughtovers show is something we’ve done for many years” Bedore said. “We do a fairly normal Quick Wits show, but we ask people to bring in food instead of money to pay for their admission. We usually end up with a few hundred pounds of food that we then donate to the Utah Food Bank.” Last year they took the proceeds from all of November’s shows and wrote a check for the Food Bank.

Every Quick Wits show is different and amazing, Bedore said.

“January rang in the new year with the start of the Wasatch Improv Festival held January 11, 12, and 13. The festival introduced a variety of troupes from out of state and within Utah. February will display a little more love, football, and fun. All the shows will have a great deal of laughs, that much is guaranteed.”

Quick Wit Comedy shows are held every Saturday night at 10 p.m. in The Midvale Performing Arts Center. The whole family is welcomed. Occasionally there is an innuendo that gets out of control, but most of the time the actors keep a low key on profanity. 

“Improv is different than most comedy because it all happened in the moment,” Bedore said. “It loses something out of that moment. That doesn’t mean it’s not funny, it just means that seeing it live is what made it more special. My favorite moments are the ones coming up because I have no idea what they’re going to be and that is what excites me.”

If you would like to see QWC at your work, they offer private parties and corporate trainings. Their techniques will surely break the ice between your coworkers and friends by opening up communication and building stronger bonds. 

Tickets for shows are available online at https://qwcomedy.com or at The Midvale Performing Arts Center. 

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