Divine Comedy (BYU)

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Divine Comedy is a scripted comedy troupe at Brigham Young University which performs skits that poke fun at Mormon culture, BYU clichés, and popular movies and TV shows.

History[edit]

The group began in 1994, but initially found it difficult to boost attendance during shows. Since then, attendance levels have grown and shrunk, enjoying differing amounts of popularity over different years and settling to the comfortable, sustainable level the group currently enjoys. As cast members graduate from the university, auditions are held to replace them. In 2010, Divine Comedy released a music video spoof, "Provo Utah Girls" (a spoof of Katy Perry's "California Gurls"), which received over 1,000,000 YouTube views, completely topping the normal 14,000 views each sketch generally received. Following that, "Firebolt" (based on another Katy Perry song, "Firework") received several positive comments from people of non-LDS backgrounds who appreciated the clean, fun, and witty humor presented by the BYU students.

In 2012, several members of the group moved to BYUtv to form the new comedy show Studio C. Under the direction of Theatre and Media Arts professor George Nelson, the group aims to bring smiles and laughs to everyone who watches them.

In 2012, Steven Rosenfield, director of the American Comedy Institute in New York City, visited BYU and presented workshops about the comedy business. He spoke about the challenge to write and present clean humor. He said of DC members, "They are fantastic ambassadors for Brigham Young University."

In May 2013, Divine Comedy troop members traveled to Chicago, Illinois and attended a workshop by comedic writer Derek Shipman. Also in the spring of 2013, Divine Comedy's offshoot TV show, Studio C, was featured as the cover story of BYU Magazine. Divine Comedy's parody music video "Fail" made it to the Top 13 BYU Videos of 2013.

It no longer has club status under the student union. BYU remains its sponsor "through the Theatre [and] Media Arts Department," that is, it has "the same organization status as Living Legends and other well-known BYU sponsored [sic] groups."[1]

Performances[edit]

The DC Cast performs three times a semester, with the first two being original parodies/musicals of popular culture, and the last being the Best-of-Show. These performances include many sketches written by the cast that have nothing to do with the main show. After each show, fans can vote online at byudivinecomedy.com for their favorite sketches to be reperformed at the Best-of-Show, along with both Main Stage shows. Cast members typically leave immediately after the "Best-of-Show" performance.

They also serve as extras on BYUtv's Studio C from time to time.

Current Cast[edit]

Divine Comedy started off the 2016-2017 year with 11 Cast members, but after the 1st Semester 3 Members left.[2] (Mostly due to time commitment)

Divine Comedian Years Active Began
Kwaku El 1st Year Joined 2016
Aaron Fielding 1st Year Joined 2016
Alena Helzer 2nd Year Joined 2015
Addison Jenkins 2nd Year Joined 2015
Dalton Johnson 2nd Year Joined 2015
Brad Witbeck 3rd Year Joined 2014
Kevin Baldwin 3rd Year Joined 2014
Sarah Thompson 3rd Year Joined 2014
Emily Hein 3rd Year After 1st Sem.
Matt Möen 3rd Year After 1st Sem.
Tori Pence 4th Year After 1st Sem.

Leaving Divine Comedy[edit]

As cast members leave DC throughout the year, those spots are then opened up for new members to audition for. Cast members may leave for different reasons, serving an LDS Mission,[3] Graduation from BYU, or the time commitment to the group.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.byudivinecomedy.wordpress.com/faq/, accessed Feb. 20, 2013.
  2. ^ http://www.byudivinecomedy.com/cast.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  3. ^ LDS Mission
  4. ^ Lefrandt, Diane (2011-08-01), "Making No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list", The Daily Universe 

[1]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary?lang=eng