WSU improv actors plan benefit for fallen Ogden officer

Improvisational actors performed Friday night at Salt Rock Coffee in Ogden as a benefit to the families of the Ogden Police Department officers affected by the Jan. 4 shooting.

“This week, we are donating all of our proceeds from our show to the Ogden Police Department, in light of everything that’s happened this month,” said Josh Nufrio of Hilarity House Productions, which puts on the weekly improv show. Nufrio is also a cast member. The house was full for the performance, and Salt Rock Coffee put in proceeds from sales of the night.

Ogden was shaken as a community when police officers from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were fired upon while serving a search warrant at a house on 32nd St. and Jackson Avenue. Six officers were wounded in the shooting, and police officer Jared Francom died early the following morning from his wounds.

The actors said they hope the benefit will at least bring little help to the families while they deal with the tragic event.

“We like to do at least one charity show every quarter,” said Josh Goodman, a member of the troupe and a current WSU student. “The timing is never good for something like this, but when something tragic like this happens, it really works out for us to be able to help in any way that we can. We’re hoping we can give enough money to make a difference.”

Mission: Improvible leans toward the style of “short-form improvisation,” which is a series of quick improvised scenes and improv games, very similar to the style of the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Comcast’s Channel 17, a local channel, had been running promos for the event, and recently began airing Mission: Improvible’s performances on their channel on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“We’re not selling anything on TV,” Goodman said. “We’re not pitching. We’re just trying to use content to show other funny things that happen here in Ogden.”

Chelsea Maki, a troupe member and aspiring visual communications major at Weber State University, said improv has improved her social skills.

“I’ve found that my improv background has helped me be more social, more friendly and outgoing, and I love making people laugh,” she said. “I have a lot of that to owe to improv and performing.”

Maki said that even if she won’t go after improv professionally, she continues to participate in it because of the friendships she’s developed in her troupe.

“I know that it’s a real joy for me to be able to be on stage with the people I consider friends and to make them laugh and to make the audience laugh,” Maki said.

For those who want to be involved with improv, Mission: Improvible offers free workshops before their Friday shows at 8 p.m., and they are open to anyone.