NouN Network provides outlet for campus comedians

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The Appalachian Online

Lovey Cooper

NouN, Appalachian State University’s improvisational comedy group, has branched out this year to embrace other related performers – including those who do stand up, sketch comedy, humorous writing and musical improv – with their newly formed NouN Network, in hopes of cultivating a supportive comedy scene in Boone.

“This was an idea that the NouN improv team had after being faced with the realization that there are no other outlets for performance comedy in Boone,” said Grayson Rieth, a junior technical theater education major and co-president of NouN. “Yeah, there are open mic nights, but without having the supportive community of a comedy club, it is a very terrifying feat.”

Rieth said the club hopes to attract anyone remotely interested in comedy and performance to help create a team of performers and learners who can host workshops and book gigs together, filling a gap in Boone’s otherwise “pretty terrible” comedy scene.

“Usually in larger cities there is a Listserv for open mics that comedians consistently check for venues and experience,” Rieth said. “Some of our goals would be to change that so that we as a club could provide that access that comedians strive for and create the set location that comedians could fall back to.”

He also hopes to gather students and community members to attend comedy festivals in or around North Carolina to further their overall knowledge of performance comedy but also to aid in a sense of community among those with shared interests.

Freshman Breanne Hollis hopes to be a theater major and recently auditioned for NouN’s improv group after signing up at Appalachian’s club expo. She first got involved with performance improv after joining acting clubs as a child, inspired by her parents’ love for the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

“I was like ‘That sounds fun, that sounds like something I want to do,’ so I started doing research on it and when I got to high school they told me what I could learn about it,” Hollis said.

The NouN network allows Hollis to pursue her other passion of writing comedic parodies of popular songs alongside her performance. Hollis, who once successfully challenged Wake County schools to issue a two-hour delay while she was in high school using a parody of the song “Wrecking Ball,” hopes that by participating in the group she can lay the groundwork for future performance opportunities.

“One of the first things I saw when I walked to class was an ad for the comedy night at Legends, and I was glad that they have that here at all,” Hollis said. “I feel like there’s a lot of possibility for little things to make the comedy scene better in Boone.”

The club’s initial slow start in the formation of connections in the professional realm has been due to the new and unprecedented nature of organizations like this in a place where the scene has been dormant for so long. That said, the people who have showed up to the first few meetings have already welcomed newcomers like Hollis and others.

“Everyone says I won’t be able to go anywhere with a theater degree, but I was the one that volunteered in high school to clean spit off of the stage just because I love the space so much,” Hollis said. “I don’t care if I have to be a waitress too, I just want to do what I love.”

The NouN Network meets Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m. in Chapel Wilson Hall room 105.

Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter