Getting Down with DUI

DUI. Driving Under the Influence, right? Nope. A group of 10 guys with an oh-so-clever name that do improv at Duke University? Yes, sort of. This is how Duke University Improv has been known since its inception in 1997, but this year DUI is taking on new meaning as they tackle the school in what could be called a community outreach program for the comedically challenged.

Traditionally, DUI has been known for its performances around campus throughout the year, which culminate with The Big Show each April. But this year DUI wants to penetrate new areas and groups on campus. Senior DUI member Bobby Jones says, "The group wants to break into other media areas like Cable 13, newspaper soft rubbing as well as more live shows." Expect to see changes like open Improv Jams every month where students can improv with their friends or with the members of DUI. There will be a "Little Big Show" in early December to help students through the pre-exam period. Sophomore Greg Anderson adds, "We are currently looking for a prairie on which to have The Little Big Show so that it will be The Little Big Show on the Prairie."

Back on campus, the group would like to see itself on Cable 13 this year in front of a live audience or with top-secret pre-taped bits. Possibly the most anticipated is what DUI calls "Constructive Cat Calling" instead of "Construction Worker Cat Calling," which will occur randomly on the BC Walkway throughout the year.

After spending an evening with the group, it was quite apparent how dedicated they are to making people laugh and having fun while doing it. The boys love what they do and it shows when they talk about the group. Sophomore John Marnell said, "DUI has given me a family here at Duke and has introduced me to some of the hottest guys on cam... you aren't writing this down are you?" Seriously though--and they can be serious--Bobby Jones calls the group "a great artistic and comedic release and probably the most worthwhile and intellectually unique activity [he's] participated in while at Duke."

Sophomore Paul Downs believes DUI to be, "a virtual smorgasbord of joy, glee, bliss and quite frankly, gentle bon ami. Yet, our mission of spreading laughter is co-mingled with our dedication to fighting cancer." No, the men of DUI do not moonlight as cancer specialists or as faith healers. Instead, all proceeds from DUI events go to the Scott Carter Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Research, which was founded in memory of DUI founder Cason Carter's younger brother. Rob Painter, one of the group's two new freshman members came up with a new slogan in the spirit of comedy, "We fight tumors with humor."

But, Duke University Improv is not a group to be laughed at, but a group to laugh with. Senior Dana Vachon also points out that "DUI represents a brighter vision for the future of Duke's social scene since it is a non-alcoholic alternative for fun. Most of Duke's Ofun' activities can be somewhat destructive, however DUI is constructive. We help cure cancer."

Duke University Improv is a hilarious group with a great cause, and whether you ask for it or not, it seems Duke will be seeing a lot more of DUI this year be it by attending the shows, on Cable 13, or through "Constructive Cat Calling" as an innocent passerby.


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