After Richie Rosales, member of the stand-up group BoyBand, performed a joke, a man in the audience stormed out.
He did so exclaiming, “That was too funny. I can’t be in there.” So he just left.
Rosales and fellow group member Edgar Momplaisir said this was one of their favorite moments in being a member of the free stand-up show BoyBand at The Improv Space, Westwood’s non-profit comedy theater. BoyBand is a group of seven young men from the Westwood area united by a love of performing stand-up comedy.
Wanting to get involved in comedy after arriving to UCLA, second-year English student Nathan Mosher did a Google search for comedy clubs in the area. What he found was The Improv Space. He started going to the theater’s Monday night open mics, where he was introduced to non-UCLA students, including Momplaisir, Rosales and the other four members of the group.
Mosher said members come from Miami to New York to California and from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. They converged in Westwood, and starting in November, they began performing in the theater’s first-ever weekly stand-up show.
“They’re a weekly show here, which is something we don’t have,” said Tim Limbrick, UCLA alumnus and manager at The Improv Space. “We do a lot of rentals, but none of them are weeklies. This is the first one that we’re (doing), and they’ve been feeling it out. And so long as they feel it out, then we’re cool with it.”
Mosher and Momplaisir found out the cost of renting the theater, which only amounted to about $10 per person, and after two test shows, decided they wanted to make it a weekly gig.
“We wanted to basically have a place where we could all have fun and be able to do shows consistently and kind of share that with a younger demographic at The Improv Space,” Rosales said.
While this group utilizes its vocal chords for jokes rather than songs, the troupe’s comedy comes together in a way that Limbrick said is a lot like a boy band.
“They’re really diverse,” Limbrick said. “They’re like *NSYNC. … They’ve got every conceivable combination of (person) – shy guy, angry guy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc.”
Limbrick said the group attracts a lot of people he’s never seen in The Improv Space before, with their comedy catering largely to college students.
“We’re not sitting there doing jokes about how hard it is to find a babysitter in Los Angeles,” Momplaisir said. “We’re talking about things that young people are experiencing. (Mosher) talks about how hard it is with an ex-girlfriend, or we’re talking about classes or something like that.”
While each member of the group has his own comedic style, Mosher said he gravitates toward one-liners about personal experiences in his comedy. Momplaisir said others, like Rosales, come from the other side of the spectrum and perform long stories and act outs.
“We’re all different skill levels, but we’re very close to each other,” Mosher said. “We can all learn from each other.”
During the show, each comic is guaranteed seven minutes of stand-up, while one or two members act as hosts, performing characters. No two characters have been the same so far, and have ranged from the made-up character, Leblonde James, to the “bro” version of Jacob Black from “Twilight.” In addition to BoyBand members, guest comics, some of whom are from UCLA, appear on the show.
“I think it’s cool for people to see an array of comedic approaches,” Rosales said. “We balance each other out.”
Momplaisir said he takes confidence in the other members of his group having his back, and he sees the show as an opportunity to challenge themselves, work off of each other and put out the best show possible.
“I definitely see a weekly comedy show in the UCLA area as a long-term thing, just because I want there to be a stand-up presence at UCLA,” Mosher said. “There’s (been) a lot of growth in comedy at UCLA in general, and … I think we’re going through a stand-up comedy boom right now, or at least we’re on the brink of one.”
Momplaisir said he also sees the show continuing in the future, one day hoping to turn on Comedy Central and see BoyBand on the screen.
The group is continuously working to find ways to improve its craft and give its audiences the best show. For a future show, they’ve discussed dancing to *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye.”
“The (most fun) part about it has to be working with your friends to put on a good show for your other friends, the kids that come in to The Improv Space,” Rosales said. “Because (they) are our friends as much as the people we’re performing with.”