Heidi Massey | Staff Writer
Cool Whip, a long-standing improvisational comedy group at Whitworth, is now an official university club. Formerly the group was classified as a branch of the theater department, but since being chartered at the end of last school year, Cool Whip is able to operate with more independence.
“Before this last year we were sort of a nebulous entity inside of the theater department, but it works better for us and for the department if we moved into a position with ASWU,” said Dillon King, a senior who has been a member of Cool Whip since his freshman year.
King has filled a variety of roles as a member of Cool Whip. He was the group’s coordinator last year, but now has taken on a new responsibility.
“Currently on the executive team my title is ‘Director of Foreign Affairs.’ Take that as you will,” he said.
Tucker Wilson, the club’s vice president, described how the name “Cool Whip” came about. To his knowledge, the group was originally known as Cool Whit.
“It sounds like cool whip, it’s Whitworth, we’re witty, it’s like it was a triple-decker pun, but people kept saying cool whip, and so according to legend it just [became] Cool Whip,” Wilson said.
Cool Whip holds auditions at the beginning of the fall semester in which returning members evaluate interested students’ ability to interact with people, be creative, and fit the team’s dynamic. The club’s performing members have rehearsals twice a week, and hold open-invitation practices on Saturday mornings, called Saturday morning live.
Bridget Fouquette, Cool Whip’s Secretary/Treasurer, spoke about open practices, saying that they are new this year.
“They’re open to anyone who wants to come and it’s kind of similar [to a rehearsal]. We play a lot of games and get down to more basics,” she said.
Cool Whip has several performances throughout the school year. Members of the club expressed a love for making people laugh through these performances. “We can entertain people,”King said, adding “it’s so amazing to see folks so excited when you come out.”
Wilson reiterated this. “I think my favorite part is being able to make other people and ourselves laugh all the time in many different ways,” he said.
Among the benefits members have cited from being a part of Cool Whip are stress relief, collaboration, teamwork.
Fouquette described participating in improv comedy as almost therapeutic.
“There’s almost a sense of catharsis with improv because I am just going unfiltered,” she said. “I always know that I leave our practices feeling very relaxed.”
Because of the random nature of improv, Wilson said that members are forced in a beneficial way to work collaboratively with their team.
“It’s that big improv rule of ‘yes, and,’ so anytime your team is doing something you roll with it and you have to work with it,” he said.
“Because we do spend a lot of time together as a team, we learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Fouquette said.
King also believes that participating in improv can also have relevant applications in real-world situations.
“It’s so much easier to just go up to people at work, to talk to people, strangers, make phone calls,” he said. “You kind of get that training of adapting to the situation and knowing how to talk to people in the right way.”
Separated from other performing arts groups by its spontaneity and lack of script, Cool Whip members think on the fly, work together, and entertain.