In 1985, an Arizona State University student had a desire to begin a weekly sketch comedy group on campus. And so Comedy Corner was born. This crude and offensive group performed to passing students in a study lounge. The University of Arizona had started a similar group by the same name, so the name of ASU's comedy group was quickly changed to Comedy 101. Students began requesting the line number for the course, so once again the name was changed -- this time to the Farce Side Comedy Hour. The group was taken over by the Memorial Union Activities Board (MUAB) and, after a year, the Comedy Committee was budgeted money to begin.
By this time the group, now some ten members strong, moved to the Union Cinema where they performed for about 50 regular audience members. In 1991, the current home of the Farce Side Comedy Hour, Union Stage, was built and the group had a permanent performance space to call their own. And the audience grew...
In 1994, a wacky Canadian created an entirely improvisational comedy troupe under the name Barren Mind improv. Now the MUAB Comedy Committee have 2 weekly, entirely original, student-run comedy shows.
At one point, members were kicked out who consequently formed their own rival group called Naked. This group lasted for only a few weeks before dissolving.
The Farce Side and Barren Mind remained part of the Memorial Union Activities Board (MUAB) until the fall of 1999 when the MUAB became the Student Programming Board. At the end of the spring 2000 semester, the Student Programming Board was dropped entirely in hopes of creating a new student-intensive center on campus.
With all of the change, the existence and performing space of both comedy groups was threatened. Surveys from our audience members voiced their opinions about the groups and Barren Mind and Farce Side Comedy Hour remained alive and active on Union Stage.
Currently, Barren Mind and the Farce Side Comedy Hour are their own clubs (with a sponsor) through Student Organization Resource Center (SORC). This comedy program remains one of the few student-run university troupes that perform on a weekly basis in a permanent location. Barren Mind improv and the Farce Side Comedy Hour draw audiences of 200+ people on both Thursdays and Fridays respectively.
More information about the comedy troupes is available on the Barren Mind and Farce Side Comedy Hour web site.
Last updated: May 16, 2008