When at the Activities Fair at the beginning of the semester, there are endless clubs and organizations to get involved with on campus. One of the most fun groups is one everyone on campus recognizes: The Dimple Divers. This improv comedy troupe is consistently entertaining, but there’s more to the group then just the surface laughs they provide; this group considers itself a family.
The Dimple Divers started in the 1990s, and is continuing to progress as the years go on. In February, the group went to Improv Boston’s College Comedy Festival, where they placed 9th out of 18. Dimple Diver Audrey Dubois ’17 commented on the experience, “It was definitely the next logical step for us.” Dimple Diver co-president Linnea Wilhjelm ’15 was in agreement, glad that the group is moving in new directions. Dubois wasn’t sure if any of the other groups would think they were funny, since they had never done a show outside Norton. Although both were nervous for the festival, the group was very well received, Wilhjelm noting, “We were able to make an impression just by being ourselves.”
A student-run group, The Dimple Divers had never had training with a coach, which they received at the Festival. Wilhjelm mentions that their coach has even offered to meet with them for free this semester. Dimple Diver Benjamin Sarat ’18 remarked on the festival and coaching, “We had a great coach. We learned a lot, and it was a really helpful and great experience for everyone.” Although they were being judged at this festival, Dubois commented, “It didn’t feel like a competition; it just felt like a truckload of friends who were making each other laugh.”
Sometimes making people laugh can be one of the hardest parts, however. Wilhjelm said, “Feeling funny is hard. It’s not as natural to some of us as it is to others. It’s difficult if you’ve had a bad day and you have a show or rehearsal. You just have to pull it together because the group depends on you. If one person isn’t in it all the way, you can tell.” The comedy seems to come so naturally to the group, but Wilhjelm admits that comedy is flustering, and a big part of performing is hiding that you’re flustered. Dubois mentioned a similar challenge, “The hardest part since day one has been opening up in general. I’ll have an idea and then think it’s not funny enough and there’s just this perpetual paranoia, but you’ll never know if it’s funny if you don’t try. It’s a matter of taking initiative.”
This ability to take initiative is one of the many benefits of being a part of the Dimple Divers. “It’s definitely affected the way I speak to people,” stated Wilhjelm, “You have to be able to adapt to change and not let it outwardly fluster you.” Dubois also commented on how it has helped her social interactions, mentioning, “I feel like it’s exactly what I needed for my college experience. I had no direction and I wasn’t part of any clubs. When I joined the Dimple Divers I gradually became a more social and active person who takes initiative in things. I’m so happy that I got that chance.” Sarat remarks, “It’s a good way to just blow off steam but also think about stuff in other ways than just sitting in a classroom.” He also mentioned, “It’s a good way to let other people on campus experience improv, see what it is, and let people laugh. That’s important.”
Wilhjelm enjoys “the community and the safe zone that it provides on campus. It’s a different sense of friendship and it’s very family-oriented. It’s like that quirky family you get at Thanksgiving. We all like and love each other, and those things aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s something the Dimple Divers have fostered and I haven’t found anywhere else on campus.” Dubois said, “It’s just such a great community of people who otherwise never would have met. We have people from all different majors, interests, and class years.” The group, which currently stands at eleven people, works well at this number. Dubois, Sarat, and Wilhjelm all agreed that it’s the perfect size, offering a great place to work and play. Wilhjelm, who is graduating this May, remarked, “You get attached to it, that’s for sure.”