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Something Different: Blind Mirth

Tired of the 601? Been to every ball? Looking for something different? The Saint brings you the highlights from St Andrews' weirdest and most wonderful events.

While 8pm on a Monday night seems like the dreary beginning to yet another sequence of lecture-packed weekdays, if you happen to head to the dimly lit ambiance of Sandy’s Bar an experience awaits that proves it can be quite the opposite.

Blind Mirth, the University’s oldest (and only) improvisational comedy club, consists of a troupe of fresh-faced comedians, each equipped with their own distinct styles and senses of humour. In conversation with The Saint, they described themselves as “A bunch of people who are either an only or an eldest child, and consequently horribly obsessed with the sound of their own voices, but equally obsessed with making people laugh and making people smile.” Every Monday night, they host a free improvisational comedy show that is guaranteed to give attendees something to smile about.

Performers fight to keep straight faces as audience members take it in turns to bravely suggest situations and objects for them to integrate into their weekly shows (don’t suggest a dildo, they “get it every week”). This participation means that the experience of attending a show is certainly not a passive one, with the audience proving to be as much of a performer as those standing on stage, leaving you with the warm reassurance of being in on the group’s jokes.

“Sometimes we worry that the audience is funnier than we are,” said the group, “especially when they give us such incredible suggestions and questions — which they always do — to inspire our improv games and scenes!”

A particular highlight of their shows is when they use the Dutch Square performance technique, when four performers stand in a square that changes scenarios and acted characters when shifted to the right. A further highlight is the group’s original skits, such as ‘Sex with Me’, during which the audience suggests items that members must equate with their own sexual prowess. “Our weekly free improv comedy shows are actually not as chalkboard scrapingly cringey as some people might assume,” said the group.

Hilarity was further elevated this past week during the Blind Mirth Halloween Special. Hosted in the Buchanan theatre, performers donned the stage in a variety of costumes, complete with a nine-months pregnant Juno and a baby-baring Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover. The group’s obvious serendipity, chemistry, and natural comic timing was also evident in a number of this year’s earlier shows, including ‘The Return of the Mirth’, ‘Mirthsfields’, and ‘Snow White and the Seven Mirthers’.

Blind Mirth also makes the trek each summer to the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival, a celebration hailing a plethora of performing artists from around the world. This year, the group showcased its charming irreverence at the Fringe with ‘F*ck It, You Decide’, a showcase which took the format of more or less their notorious weekly performances with a new and even more unpredictable audience.

‘Mirthers’, as the group's members are ever-so affectionately called, must be prepared each week to face the unexpected territory of an eagerly entertained audience, making “a self-aware dose of self-loathing” an essential for aspiring comedians looking to join.

“A lot can go wrong, a lot can go right”, said the group, “you simply can’t be afraid of or phased by what might happen, just trust in the people on stage with you, the people in the audience supporting you, and in yourself: and you’ll have the best time ever.”

Photos: @blindmirth on Instagram

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