Comedy in the city

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Comedy in the city

by: Lisa McBride

Yuk Yuks Comedy Club has an improv group that performs every Sunday called Insensitivity Training (I.T). The group has 7 talented comedic actors who each bring something clever and interesting on stage. Insensitivity Training truly has a great group dynamic while performing. The Insensitivity Training group have been performing since the year 2007. The comedic group’s long term goal would be to raise more awareness about Improv Comedy in the city of Ottawa.

Chelsea Sterling, one of the performers of the group stated: "Improv isn’t understood on the same level as stand up Comedy or acting, there’s only a few people who feel comfortable with improv because it’s the type of comedy that people are more nervous about, I find that spectators are more nervous about it because they don’t know what to expect."

Chelsea has been performing since the age of 14, and is now 21 years old. She started performing in Guelph, Ontario and is now the Associate Producer of The Ottawa Improv Festival. Chelsea said: " I want to get up on stage and make stuff up."

Her goal on stage is to make the audience feel welcomed. Chelsea Sterling compares her type of comedy to art in this statement: "Improv is like art, it’s a creation each time you go on stage, because it’s always something new, something you haven’t done before every single time. It’s making a storyline, and making an audience member care about a character."

"For the first 4 years, I used to be terrified before I went on stage, but slowly and surely you become less terrified performing on stage."

Jim Davies, another member of the group, has been performing Improv every week for twenty years. He states his experience on stage in this statement: "There’s no script with improv . You do what comes naturally. I’ve always been eager to perform on stage to make an audience laugh."

Jim Davies has performed with other Improv groups such as Dad’s Garage an award winning improv group from Atlanta, Georgia. He says: "Improv is a lot like writing a script then it is like acting. Actors don’t have to make stories, they interpret lines, they don’t have to think about the narrative structure. The other performers don’t tell you what their characters are on stage, so you have to figure out constantly as the scene changes. A lot of actors are terrified of improv because it’s impulsive.Jim Davies says that since the 20 years of performing on stage he has truly learnt how to articulate what it takes to make a good scene.


Improv will hopefully be something that will grow in Ottawa for years to come, because no one ever gets tired of a night filled with entertainment and good humor, and with great talent like the group Insensitivity Training, it will make you wonder why you don’t go see live Comedy more often.

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