One at Marquette: Andrew Pauly
Andrew Pauly looks to his right. “A giant piece of bread and a giant knife – welcome to the big, oversized food store!”
No, Pauly does not sell gigantic baked goods. Welcome to improv comedy.
Pauly is a senior and president of Marquette University’s improv troupe, The Studio 013 Refugees, also known as the Fugees. He became interested in comedy during grade school. The improv troupe from his future high school came to his grade school for an interest day. When Pauly saw the team perform, he was hooked.
“I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do,” Pauly said. “That’s awesome.”
When he entered high school, Pauly joined an improv team that competed with other local high schools. He also took classes at Comedy Sportz, which is an improv comedy company in downtown Milwaukee. After high school, he enrolled at Marquette. That is where he discovered the Studio 013 Refugees.
Pauly recalls his first memory of the Fugees with a smile. He was strolling through the university’s student organizations festival when he saw a flyer.
“It was poorly designed,” he said. “I had no idea what it was or what it meant.”
Despite his confusion, two words jumped out at him: improv and tryouts. Pauly auditioned and embarked on what he describes as one of his greatest experiences at Marquette.
When Pauly remembers back to his first show with the Fugees, he cannot recall what went through his head, but he distinctly remembers what went through his stomach – butterflies. He described the show as nerve-wracking, but he also remembers the rush of working with a new group in a new venue.
“Excitement, the thrill of live performance and the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen next is why I love improv,” Pauly said.
Pauly has stuck with the Fugees since that show. Over the years, he has borrowed from multiple sources to keep his comedy evolving. Pauly describes his style of comedy as a mixture of real characters, zany cartoon characters, physical and deadpan humor. He pulls inspiration from real-life people, like professional comedians or those he observes from people watching. He even grabs ideas from cartoons, such as “Spongebob Squarepants.”
With his experience from the last few years with the Fugees, Pauly has grown in his comedy. While he still gets a little nervous before each of the group’s shows, he says he is much more calm when performing.
Pauly said: “Once a month we put on free shows in Marquette Hall. That’s my home field. Any time that happens, I get in the zone. I’ve done it 100 times before and I know that the people who are coming love us as friends and as an improv troupe.”
As president of the group, Pauly’s duties go far beyond performing in the Fugees’ shows. Pauly describes his co-president, Sam Martinson, and himself as connections for the team to the his roles as organizing and planning games, running try outs, making sure everything is ready for the monthly shows at Marquette Hall and booking new shows.
However, all of these duties will soon be passed off to someone else. The Fugees’ tradition is to have a senior as president, which means that Pauly’s time with the group is coming to a close. He said that when he graduates, he will miss the family aspect of the group more than anything.
“It’s like a mini fraternity, I kind of say,” Pauly said. “We spend so much time together and it’s unlike any improv troupe you’ll ever have the opportunity to be in for the rest of your life.”
His days with the Fugees may be numbered, but his days in improv are far from over. Pauly will continue to work with Comedy Sportz after graduation and hopes to go to Chicago’s improv company, Second City, to take classes.
Pauly said: “You learn a lot about improv there. It’s a school, essentially, where people graduate and go on to show business. That’s what Danny Pudi did when he graduated from Marquette, before he went on to NBC’s ‘Community.’ Maybe I’ll be the next Danny Pudi.”