On Friday, Dec 6, Subject to Change (STC), a student-run improv comedy group, performed their bi-yearly Pier Show in Tyler Haynes Commons. Typically, STC performs very informally in different areas around campus, often involving the crowd in their games, but as their final show of the semester, performing in the Pier was much more formal than their typical shows. Nearly 100 students showed up to see the performance, which included a video and audio system (which they usually don’t use). While STC prepares the types of games that they play beforehand, they get all of the themes and topics from the audience. Regardless of the choices that the audience makes, STC still tends to bring up very controversial topics in many of their skits. Climate change, racial issues, LGBTQ activism, and Jeffery Epstein all made their anticipated appearances in last night’s show.
Despite topics that would likely spark debate in any other circumstance, comedy seamlessly flows from ideas without interruption or dissent (usually). Because of its lighthearted atmosphere, shielding sensitive topics through humor effectively allows arguments to be made and ideas to be shared without anyone getting upset (again, usually). In an environment where most people are laughing anyway, it is hard to feel threatened. In an age where people are increasingly getting much of their information from comedic news sources, comedy has not become a tool to keep people up-to-date and spread ideas. Things can be said in the name of comedy that cannot be said otherwise without likely backlash. As a student-run organization, STC brings forth a wide array of sentiments that reflect student culture at the University of Richmond, showing both the funny and the ugly sides of many different topics. Although many students go for the laugh, STC can also be used as a tool for open conversation.