PROVO — "Studio C" is going back to its roots as a live-audience show, and fans in Provo got to be a part of the experience Friday night, waiting in energetic, animated lines for the first of a series of live tapings for the 2018 "Studio C" season.
After focusing on filming pre-recorded, edited episodes, the clean sketch comedy group is splitting its upcoming episodes 50/50 between pre-recorded sketches and live tapings in the BYU Broadcasting Building.
"We started out doing live, so it kind of feels like going home," cast member Stacey Harkey told the Deseret News.
Fellow "Studio C" cast member Natalie Madsen said that stepping out on the stage was "like a time machine."
"The point of doing the live tapings is to mix things up and connect with fans on a deeper level," Madsen said.
"Studio C," named after the soundstage in the BYU Broadcasting Building where the show is filmed, is a widely popular sketch comedy group that has received national recognition, appearing on the cover of The Wall Street Journal and on Conan O’Brien’s show after his children recognized the cast in a restaurant.
One of the most popular shows on BYUtv, "Studio C" has garnered more than 1.8 million YouTube followers. Its most popular video, “Top Soccer Shootout Ever With Scott Sterling,” has close to 60 million views.
Earlier this year, the group did live readings of sketches to measure the audience’s responses and picked the best sketches for the upcoming ninth season.
The new season will feature the original 10 cast members: Matt Meese, Mallory Everton, Whitney Call, Stacey Harkey, Jeremy Warner, James Perry, Natalie Madsen, Adam Berg, Stephen Meek and Jason Gray, as well as recently added cast members Aaron Fielding, Tori Pence and Dalton Johnson.
The June 8 live taping saw the audience jumping, yelling and dancing, with one girl even getting on the stage and breakdancing between sketches. The crowd even yawned — but only after a sketch about contagious yawning.
"The yawning sketch was my favorite because everyone in the room was yawning, even me," said 14-year-old fan Trinity Smith from Eagle Mountain. "It was the funniest thing I've ever been to in my life."
According to cast members Harkey and Madsen, the upcoming season will include familiar characters including Ann the Librarian, the lobster bisque man and — as always — Batman.
“There will also be new characters that are really fun,” Harkey said. "We're excited to create new content for this community."
Some of that content includes collaboration and potentially expanding into different mediums such as film.
"We're trying to look above the 'Studio C' horizon, so keep an eye out for new material," Madsen said.
Season nine will air on BYUtv Oct. 8.
Live tapings for "Studio C" will take place Fridays through July 20. Although registration is closed for the Friday tapings, there will be a standby line. Guests can attend Thursday night rehearsals, but only through a standby line. For more information, visit www.byutv.org/studioclivetapings.