Pop Scholars
improv team

[We’re friends who get to hop on a stage and make up jokes for a killer crowd. And that’s a blast.]

“We were enamored with improv and wanted to do comedy that we’d be proud of. We weren’t 100% sure what that looked like then, and it keeps evolving even today, but we were excited about the opportunity to explore it together. We have just really liked each other as people and comedians since the beginning. So we decided to create Pop Scholars and we’ve been trying to do improv we’re really proud of ever since.”

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Meet Pop Scholars

Pop Scholars is a 4-man, Grand Rapids based, fast-paced improv team. They’ve been doing improvisational comedy since 2009 and can usually be found performing at Wealthy Theatre. Come see a high energy improv show that Revue calls, “Relevant and Intelligent” and Grand Rapids Press deems, “Smart, risk-taking comedy that invites the audience in on the performance.” They’re real smart. And stupid funny. Pop Scholars’ members include Andy Allen, Dave Lyzenga, Mike Ryskamp, and Matt Sterenberg.

“Ready for some cheese? We’re honestly always pumped to do another show together.”

“Our audience is always incredible. They’re smart, they’re tuned in, and they’re always ready to laugh. It really spoils us to know that we’ll get to hang out with an audience that’s ready to have a really good time each and every show.

When we think about Pop Scholars from a more macro-level, the most fulfilling part is seeing all of the hard work we’ve put in – and continue to put in- pay off. Each choice we made, both on and off stage, are most often very intentionally made. We’ve received a lot of affirmation that what we believe to be good ideas or funny concepts resonate with a larger group of people.”

“Comedy is like anything else. People have their opinions of how to do it best.”

“And sometimes that conflicts. That’s true for Pop Scholars – more often in the beginning years. We used to argue why a certain joke was funnier than that joke. Or we’d call each other out for not being original. Or we’d debate about which choice to take is most appropriate. All of this and more can be yours if you start an improv team with your friends. The challenge then becomes “how do you separate the professional from the personal.” Because at the end of the day, we were/are trying to create comedy that we’re proud of- and if that didn’t line up with each other’s standards or point of view, there was discourse necessary to get us to a good place. And as you can imagine, arguing over “how funny a joke is” when it will bring your $0 can be taxing. We’re thankful to have gone through that. And we’re thankful that we’re past that.”

“Find collaborators who you really, truly dig and who bring out the best in you.”

“Challenge each other in healthy ways and keep pushing for the best possible product. Pop Scholars works because, whether we agree or disagree, we truly dig each other as comedians, teammates, and people. And at the end of the day, we’re friends who get to hop on a stage and make up jokes for a killer crowd. And that’s a blast.”

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