DUCK! Improv at Mudd

Clubs are a big part of campus life here at Mudd. They’re a great opportunity to meet new people and explore your interests. One of the largest on campus is called DUCK!, and is an improv group. They perform many times over the course of the semester, including during family weekend and Wednesday Nighters (a blog post on that phenomenon).

A photo of an inflatable duck the size of the Shanahan building next to it. The picture is captioned "DUCK! was most recently seen waddling, napping, and obstructing longboard traffic outside Big Shan.

The flyer sent to the Class of 2023 Facebook page at the beginning of the year had this picture on it.

I’ve been to several of their performances and really enjoyed watching. To find out more, I tracked a few of them down to ask some questions.

Aech Loar, Class of 2022

Why do you like DUCK!?

“It’s a really good group of people that enjoy making fools of themselves together, what’s not to love?”

What’s your favorite DUCK! story?

“I wouldn’t call it my favorite Duck story, but I like to give Aely flack over the time he made us come up with ‘walk into a bar’ jokes related to armadillos.”

Aely Aronoff, Class of 2021

Why do you like DUCK!?

“I like having an opportunity to be creative for myself and others. The whole team is participating and laughing together and that’s just a really magical feeling.”

What’s your favorite DUCK! story?

“We have a show called Improv-A-Thon where the team performs improv for a full 24 hours – Friday at 8 PM through Saturday at 8 PM. The beginning of the night and the end of the second day are usually pretty well attended and it’s not hard to find performers to play during those times. However, the 2 AM to 8 AM part of the night is always really tough. Last year during Improv-A-Thon I had been performing for 5 hours straight by 4 AM. There was no one in the audience and just me and a first-year – Aech Loar – were still there performing. I told Aech I needed a quick rest, so I lay down on the couch in Platt and fell asleep by accident. For the next 2 hours Aech performed improv completely alone, with no audience and just me sleeping in front of him. I awoke at 7:30 AM to find a few performers making fun of me in a scene – still with no audience. It was the best day ever.”

Anya Porter, Class of 2023

Why do you like DUCK!?

“Because its real Quacky.”

What’s your favorite improv game?

“Good bad worse, probably”

Alexandra Loumidis, Class of 2022

Why do you like DUCK!?

“Mostly because they quack. But also because it provides a really comfortable environment for us to be completely ridiculous. I remember being really nervous about not being funny during the first ever meeting I went to. But I quickly realized that Duck isn’t necessarily about trying to be funnier. It’s more about learning how to interact with others in the group and feeling comfortable enough to have fun with it.”

What’s your favorite improv game?

“Hoedown! Part of why I like it is because it’s known for being really disliked. Essentially there are four group members on stage, and the tune is playing in the background. Then each member sings four lines, making up the story as they go, and (hopefully, when all goes well), building off what has been said by the performer before them.”

Julia Qian, Class of 2022

Why do you like DUCK!?

“It’s a fun way to relax and take a break from homework on the weekends.”

What’s your favorite DUCK! story?

“During Improvathon (a 24 hour long improv show) last year, we managed to get Prof. Dodds to show up for the ‘Prof Dodds Grutoring Hour’ from 3-4 am in the morning. He even brought CS-related improv games like ‘Python Keyword Charades’.”

Sidney Taylor, Class of 2023

Why do you like DUCK!?

“DUCK is a space where I can be myself. It’s an opportunity to practice living in the moment and thinking on my feet.”

What’s your favorite improv game?

“Try that on for size”