In the serious and stressful time we are in, we often find ourselves looking for an escape to be a little less serious and take a break from our busy lives. This may be by way of watching television, taking a walk, baking, or any other activity that allows one to just relax and take a break. Bellarmine provides many of these opportunities as well, and one way Bell does this is through the improv comedy club on campus: Sanguine Humors. Sanguine Humors has been around since 1991 and was cofounded by Mr. Marcel who now moderates the club. Recently, I had the chance to interview Mr. Marcel to learn about what makes this club so special.
The most obvious question was how COVID-19 has affected the club, and Mr. Marcel explained that “theater is meant to be performed live in front of an audience and one that is laughing and interacting, and it is much harder to replicate that through teams. Although, it is our reality right now, and I am very impressed with how well our sanguine members have been able to reproduce that live theater experience.” Just like everyone else, Sanguine has had to make the adjustment to the screens despite key elements of this form of comedy being hindered, and their efforts must be commended. He also mentioned the numbers being affected: “We have had years where 50 kids have tried out whereas this year, we only had 20,” Mr. Marcel mentioned. Seeing these numbers drop is disheartening but also expected, because “screen time fatigue probably also plays a large role.”
As mentioned earlier, Mr. Marcel was a founding member of the club back in 91,’ and he has been a part of it ever since. I asked him how his experience with the club has evolved over the years and if there were any changes in comedy or trends that he had seen. He mentioned that “it is always really entertaining every year, and each new guy brings his own flair. Obviously, humor has changed over time due to cultural references, but I think the main element of what we do has remained the same.” Also remaining the same has been the energy brought each year and the true fun the club offers each member and those that come to watch.
In order to see Sanguine humors from a different perspective, I sought Sanguine member Reece Pasquinelli, a senior who has been on the squad for 3 years, and had the chance to ask him a few questions to get a student’s perspective on what the club has to offer. Reece hit many of the same points that Mr. Marcel did, first mentioning the struggles with COVID-19 and how “Physical comedy is huge in improv. We always try and find people who not only are witty, but can embody a character or joke on a stage. Through COVID, we’ve struggled to find a manner in which physical comedy is still a part of our identity, and that has been a fun challenge.” He also brought up how the club has morphed during his time as a member over the past 3 years saying that “In a delightfully paradoxical way, the club has changed and stayed the exact same. What’s wonderful about Sanguine is that with each year, members come and go, meaning there’s new types of humor and fresh jokes to ensure Sanguine Improv never goes stale.” Reece, too, is very excited about this year’s group and their ability to grow closer together in spite of the screens that separate us.
Finally, when I asked Mr. Marcel about what the most special part of Sanguine humors is, he highlighted the idea of how “As the year goes on, people learn about each other and their tendencies, and they really grow as a group.” Reece built on this, mentioning the bond and friendships that grow as well. Mr. Marcel continued by saying, “As each person becomes more comfortable, they learn how to play off each other and set each other up for really good quality comedy because we know what each persons’ strengths are. When that starts to happen, it’s like magic. It gives me goosebumps. It’s the reason I love doing what I do.” As one can see, the members and moderators of sanguine pour their heart out for the club, and their dedication is truly admirable.
One other element of the Sanguine Humors club that is admired by all is their focus on the community and ways in which they can help out and raise awareness while also doing the things they love. They use their platform of shows and performances in order to raise money for various charities. As I asked what the most exciting part of Sanguine was for this year’s group, Mr. Marcel said that while he loves “getting to see the chemistry of the group build as they play off each other, it is also extremely important to remember why we do what we do and how we have to let our egos go and realize where we are in the world in relation to others. We have to remember our audience and that we have a responsibility to raise awareness and help people and, our way of doing that is in the form of comedy.” This core value of the club is one of the many reasons it has remined so strong and popular over the years since it was created.
Sanguine Humors had their first show of the year this past Friday with a focus on raising money for Sacred Heart and will continue to hold shows throughout the year. If you would like to join, tryouts are held at the beginning of each school year, and if you would like to join “Nonsensicals” where no tryout is necessary, they have meetings every Tuesday at lunch. I highly encourage everyone to go check Sanguine Humors out and to donate! They have done an amazing job, and their efforts of spreading awareness and raising money are great reasons to show them some love and support. Thanks again to Reece and Mr. Marcel for taking the time to share what makes Sanguine Humors so special!