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Quick Wits brings the funny all summer long

Jun 27, 2018 09:34AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Memebers of Quick Wits (Lorin Bruns, Talitha Hanks and Blake Heywood) recreate a famous scene from “E.T.”. (Bob Bedore/City Journals)

By Bob Bedore |  bob@mycityjournals.com

Utah’s oldest name in improv comedy, Quick Wits, is set to give you plenty to laugh about this summer. Once again, it announced its “Summer of Fun” series with different comedy-filled themed shows every weekend. 

“Last year was a big hit for us,” said Jason Wild, a Quick Wits owner and Midvale resident. “The crowds loved to see what different types of shows we could pull off, and this year we are looking to make it even bigger.” 

Quick Wits has been performing nearly every weekend in the Salt Lake Valley since 1994 and have called the Midvale Performing Arts Center (7720 South 695 West) home for the past three years. The group performs a fast style of comedy where audience suggestions send them into comedic bits of genius. If you’re a fan of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” you’ll love Quick Wits. Their shows are appropriate for most audiences, with material rarely getting into the PG13 range.  

For those unfamiliar with improv, the actors create comedic scenes based off audience suggestions and stylized rules for each scene. As an example, the game “A to Z” will have the actors doing a scene based on a given suggestion, but the first actor must use the letter “a” as the first letter of the first word he or she speaks. The next actor will use the letter “b” as the first letter of the first word he or she speaks. This continues until they get to the letter “z,” and the scene must come to a conclusion. Quick Wits plays from a stash of over 400 games, though, admittedly, some favorites get played more than others.

Normally, the troupe likes to do a competitive style where two teams (Dim Wits vs. Half Wits) battle for points and laughs. But this summer you’ll see shows like “Freakshow” where they play their craziest games (like “Mousetraps” and “Helping Hands”). Other themed titles include “Musical Extravaganza,” “Wheel of Fun,” “Super(hero) Show,” “Hooray for Hollywood” and their own version of the TV show “Survivor” set with a comedic twist to see which comedian is left on stage.

The full rundown of all the different shows can be found on the troupe’s website, qwcomedy.com. There, you can also find out about booking them for corporate events, buying books, learn about the actors, download an improv app and even check out some of the card games the members created. 

Quick Wits also does a lot of outreach to the local schools in Midvale. For the past two years members have given free classes in the elementary schools. The main thing they teach, besides being funny very quickly, is that everyone contributes, and teamwork is essential not only on stage but throughout your whole life.

“We find that at an early age kids have so many things that are pushing them to all types of influences,” said Wild. “Some are good, but a lot, like bullying and racism, can be very harmful. We try to teach them about acceptance and trust in everyone. Plus, we have them laughing the whole time.”

Quick Wits recently hosted the Wasatch Improv Festival and played host to over two dozen troupes from around the country. The troupe plans to make this an annual event every January. 

Quick Wits performs Saturday nights at the Midvale Performing Arts Center with showtimes at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students, seniors and military. Tickets can be purchased on their website or at the door. There is a “very” light snack bar and no alcohol served at the theater. You can get more information by calling 801-824-0523.

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