Veteran improvisational comedy actor and instructor Bill McLaughlin watched with a proud grin as his improv students performed several sketches for dozens on Saturday night as part of the Arts at Bucks celebration.
The students -- about two dozen altogether -- performed short and long-form skits, some based on suggestions yelled out by members of the audience.
The comical improv sketches covered everything to a prom held a church to skydiving.
Judging by the amount of audience participation and laughter, the audience seemed to enjoy it just as much the actors of stage.
“Being on the stage, it’s a blast,” said student Rob Noll. “Whatever you do you can’t be embarrassed.”
The two classes that participated in the show were broken into teams and judged by former Bucks improv students like John McGarry, who is still involved with improv and also hosts “Real Fear: The Truth Behind the Movies” on Chiller TV.
McLaughlin said he enjoys watching his students perform the twice-yearly public improv shows the college holds.
“I know exactly what it’s like for the students. I’ve been there,” he said. “I’m just passing the energy on to them.”
The professor, who also attended the community college in his younger years, said he has been teaching the improv classes at the school since 2004.
In addition to being “exhilarating,” improv classes can help students improve their listening skills and teaches them to concentrate better, he claims.
“I hear all the time that my students seem smarter. But that’s because improv plays to the height of your intelligence.”
McLaughlin said he is drawn to improv because “it’s all about being human.”
“You have to be fearless; take risks. You have to use your thinking differently.”
Before moving to the Bucks County area he lived in Chicago and New York City.
He was one of the founders of Chicago City Limits, an improv comedy troupe which began performing in the late 1970s.
Aside from teaching, the 50-something-year-old McLaughlin owns McLaughlin Creative Services. The company provides team building activities for business and provides entertainment for events, according to his website.