UF student group Theatre Strike Force holds "12 Hours of Improv"
UF student group Theatre Strike Force holds "12 Hours of Improv"

For 12 hours comedians were kept on their toes, performing fresh jokes and skits at the Reitz Union to fundraise for cancer research on Friday.

About 200 comedians took shifts performing for "12 Hours of Improv" from noon to midnight. The UF student group Theatre Strike Force hosted the event to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

For UF freshman Jemima Douyon, the event was fun but held a certain significance.

Douyon, who participated in Relay for Life her last two years of high school, also lost a family friend to uterine cancer three months ago.

"It made me really value the present and live in the moment," she said. "You never know if you're going to live or going to die."

During the ongoing comedy, audience members shouted out suggestions for character identities and relationships that comedians took a swing at in 4-minute form sketches, playing games made popular by improv TV shows such as "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

Ricky Klopfenstein, a UF journalism senior, acted out the Doppler Effect by launching himself across the stage, drawing laughter from the crowd as a character in a game where a host guesses what each actor represents.

UF sophomore Rudy Mendoza and UF microbiology junior Shawn McWhinnie performed a skit about showing slides of a wild trip to Disney's Space Mountain, while a group of 15 performers acted out memorable moments described in the pantomimed slides. The actors even rotated their freeze-frame pose and hopped around the stage as Mendoza and McWhinnie flipped and rotated the invisible slides.

Theatre Strike Force first launched the event five years ago when they heard of a comedy troupe at Florida State University who had performed a 24-hour improv marathon. The troupe traditionally hosts this event and other tournaments in the spring to help fundraise for Relay for Life.

This year's performance raised $542.

"Laughing brings everyone together, and I think sitting there and laughing together while helping a greater cause, that's a priceless moment," Douyon said. "Entertainment is so crucial to our lifestyle."