Top ten

Laugh lines

Improv comedy’s origins can be traced to the University of Chicago campus via Paul Sills, AB’51 (who first popularized improv games), and his Compass Players.

Benjamin Recchie, AB’03 | Illustration by Tom Tian, AB’10

The Compass Players dissolved decades ago, but improv lives on at UChicago via the Off-Off Campus comedy troupe, now in its 27th year. We asked Hilary Clifford, ’14, Off-Off’s production manager, to poll her fellow comedians about what lines earned the biggest laughs in the 2011–12 season. Here they are, presented (for maximum comedic effect) without context or explanation. We think Sills would be pleased.

1. “I came into a Papa John’s, not Judgment John’s.”

2. “Mission Accomplished 2: Mission Still Accomplished.”

3. “Chattanooga. The big apple.”

4. “It is so hard to find someone who appreciates literature in a beach town.”

5. “I have an underdeveloped story arc because I’m an African American character in an early ’90s movie!”

6. “What do you think happened to Chad? Or Other Dave?”

7. “I am relieved that you have declined the cotton candy. For me it only reminds me of a dream I once had of God.”

8. “Where do you sit at a Rosa Parks convention?”

9. “I'm sure ZZ Top would understand.”

10. “Trains are a metaphor for trains.”


Preposterous: See how Off-Off Campus comedians put the poster in preposterous.