Hotter, newer and jammier: Hot New Jam’s found families



President Marcus Wolfe takes part in a scene as a rest stop restaurant owner, arguing with a customer during Hot New Jam’s free play session on Nov 18

Andrew Ulstad, Staff Reporter

The sounds of laughter punctuated by one word suggestions rang through Hebeler Hall on Friday, Nov. 18 as improv troupe Hot New Jam hosted their weekly meeting and team play session. With seven new members in the troupe, these sessions serve as exercises for their creativity.

Improvisation can mean many things depending on who is asked. For senior President Marcus Wolf and the Hot New Jam troupe, it means creating a community.

“We all back each other up, no matter what,” Wolf said. “On their second week of being on the team, [the troupe] did a show in front of 100 people and there was such great trust and camaraderie … that’s the thing I’m going to miss the most about Hot New Jam is this team.”

His sentiment was echoed by senior treasurer Brad Alemao. 

“We have a lot of different personalities mixing in the most interesting ways,” Alemao said. “Improv is its own little family. We all just goof around, have a good time and then we get on stage and do the same thing.”

In addition to the sense of family being created among members, small communities have formed around the troupe.

“[Hot New Jam] allows for students on campus to be like, ‘you know what, this is something I’m going to do with my friends,’ it’s a way of helping others to build their own community,” Wolf said.

Still more students find belonging in the group’s free play nights, which allow anyone to partake in the improv games that end up building the monthly shows.

Secondary mathematics teaching student Austin Smith said he comes to free play night to scratch his performance itch. He has also found the group to be open and welcoming. 

“From the moment I walked in … I just felt immediately like, ‘you know what, this is a great place,’” Smith said. “I feel I can just be myself here, I don’t need to think of anything other than just how to have fun.”

Regardless of the reason for showing up, many members, free players and audience members have gained a sense of belonging from their time creating laughs with the troupe. 

Hot New Jam will host their final performance of the quarter on Friday, Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. in the SURC theater. This will be Alemao’s last performance before graduation.

In his final hours before his ‘stage death,’ as the troupe calls it, Alemao encourages students to: “find that sense of community in themselves and each other, because [while] Hot New Jam is a family, we’re not the only family that can be formed … it’s possible to just find a common interest with a group of people and really create a found family.”