Bringing Comedy to Campus


Loyola sophomore Kyle Hand once asked a co-worker why he was taking sketch comedy classes. He received an answer he was not expecting. “He told me that the only reason he was doing it was because he loved comedy,” Hand said. Since that conversation a year ago, Hand has dedicated the majority of his free time to performing and learning about comedy. He has taken several sketch and improv comedy classes, performed stand-up at clubs around New York City and started his own comedy channel on YouTube. In the spring of 2017, he created the Loyola improv club and is a member of Loyola’s sketch comedy troupe, the Nevergreens. Through all of these time-consuming experiences, Hand says that his passion for comedy is his reason to keep going. “It’s that simple.”

When he arrived at Loyola last fall, Hand was eager to get involved with comedy on campus. He joined the Nevergreens and performed with them for the first time in November of 2016. That weekend, the Nevergreens performed as the opening act to an improv comedy show put on by Baltimore Improv Group (BIG). After the show, Hand met Terry Withers, the director of the troupe, who was curious about the lack of improv on Loyola’s campus. “He was wondering why we had a sketch group but no improv,” Hand recalled. Along with fellow freshman performer Megan Hill, Hand decided to create the Loyola Improv Club in January 2017. This was a major step for Hand, one that he was not completely sure about. He had just started taking improv classes for the first time and yet he was the co-president of the improv club. “I was learning improv and trying to teach it at the same time. It was crazy.” After only a semester of running the improv club, Hand was faced with an even greater challenge.

In May, Hill announced that she was transferring away from Loyola, leaving Hand as the sole president of the club. This was an unexpected setback, but Hand was determined to push forward. “Going into this semester I knew it would be different. I realized it was going to be just me trying to lead this whole club.” It was a tough transition for the young comedy enthusiast, but for improv club’s first full year, he still had a plan in mind. “Last semester we wanted to create a strong foundation for the club, but now the goal is to start this year strong and make a name for ourselves,” Hand said.

The Loyola Improv Club performed on campus for the first time in October and will have two more performances this semester on November 11th and December 2nd. Hand’s goal for improv club is to gain a student following on campus. “My dream is for somebody to come to our show, not know a single person who is performing, and still have a great time,” Hand explained. Hand has the support of other improv club members as well. “Kyle’s passion is contagious,” fellow improviser Jack Dorish said. “He has a great respect for community collaboration.” Performances at the Charm City Comedy Project and the Baltimore Improv Group marked the club’s first performances off campus this semester. In Hand’s mind, this is an important step for the club. “We want to be a group of young performers who dared to step off campus,” he said.

In a college environment where the stresses of school work are often overwhelming, Hand wants Improv Club shows to become a popular way for students to relax and have fun. He wants to add more shows on campus throughout the school year and for the club to gain a following. “I want people from all walks of life to come to our shows. I want to create a comedy culture,” Hand said. He wants the members of improv club to have a good time performing as well. To achieve that, Hand’s advice is straightforward. “Be bad,” he says. “You have my permission. People have a fear of being bad at performing, but everyone has to be bad at first because otherwise, you won’t get better.” In only a year, Kyle Hand has started a comedy trend in the Loyola community and as long as it keeps being fun, he is not stopping anytime soon.