What do pandas and intercollegiate improv festivals have in common?

Answer: K.A.R.L. Improv!

The Royal KARL Family (our presidents this year were Will and Kate)

The KARL Family after our first show of the spring semester. (One of us is abroad and was  Photoshopped in. Can you tell who?)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on an improv comedy team called K.A.R.L. Improv. We do free shows on campus once a month, and we perform at other events on and off campus when people ask for us. We also travel to improv festivals such as CIT (College Improv Tournament) in Kansas City, Missouri and Gainesville Improv Festival in Gainesville, Florida. Sometimes, though, we like to bring the improv to us! In the spring KARL hosts Pandamonium, an improv festival that draws college (and even professional) improvisers from all over the country.  It’s incredibly fun, and the show we put on at the end is free!

Here’s what makes Pandamonium so great…

…for the improvisers:

1. Since KARL mixes up all the improv teams and assigns new ones, we get to improvise with people we’ve never improvised with before. This is exciting and often encourages a new style of creativity.

2. We’re doing improv all day. No time for homework, food (okay fine, KARL provides food), or anything else. That means we’re doing a lot of laughing, so it’s hard not to be in a good mood.

3. It’s another chance to see the friends we’ve made at past improv festivals again! Plus, by the end of the festival we’ve made more new friends.

4. We learn new techniques for our “improv toolbox” from the professional improvisers who lead workshops.

5. Some of the professional improvisers who attend even write really nice reviews about Pandamonium.

…for the audience members:

1. You get to see professional improvisers for free. Octavarius and Switch Committee traveled from Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively, to headline for us. They were fantastic.

2. You get to see members of WashU’s three improv teams (K.A.R.L., Suspicious of Whistlers, and Mama’s Pot Roast) perform together. Not something you see often!

3. You get to shout out weird suggestions, and the improvisers will actually take them and base scenes off of them.


I’m already looking forward to next year’s Pandamonium, and I’m glad KARL was able to start a tradition that so many people enjoy participating in.

Being a part of KARL is one of my favorite things about WashU. To anyone who ends up coming to WashU, I encourage you to try out for improv!