live improv comedy group that performs shows at The Guild

From left, Dylan Miller, Graham Putnam, Ben Hartley, Cameron MacDonald and Rob MacDonald celebrate the winner of the first Top Pop award, Cameron, after the Popalopalots show Jan. 16 at The Guild in Charlottetown. Sydney Clay photo.
From left, Dylan Miller, Graham Putnam, Ben Hartley, Cameron MacDonald and Rob MacDonald celebrate the winner of the first Top Pop award, Cameron, after the Popalopalots show Jan. 16 at The Guild in Charlottetown. Sydney Clay photo.
By Sydney Clay
Jan. 20, 2015

When the Island comedy show Sketch 22 ended after its second season, Rob MacDonald and Graham Putnam decided to create something new.
In June 2010, the Popalopalots were born.
It’s a live improv comedy group that performs shows at The Guild weeknights throughout the year.
MacDonald and Putman wanted an original name that made people stop and ask “What?” Popalopalots had no searches on Google.
The group now consists of six members, Rob and Cameron MacDonald, the father son duo, Graham Putman and Dylan Miller, who were part of the original group, Benton (Ben) Hartley and Jordan Cameron.
MacDonald got into improv in 1989 with a group of friends. He was in Sketch 22 an improv group in the early 2000s made up of five guys, it lasted seven seasons, and that’s when he met Putman.
“I like making the audience uncomfortable,” MacDonald said.
Putnam got into improv after doing a theatre sports course with MacDonald. He went to Alberta in the ‘90s. When he came back he got more and more into the field, then really dove in when they started Popalopalots.
“It’s a lot of fun to do and people generally enjoy it,” Putnam said.
Miller got into improv when one day Putnam said he was funny and thought he should try it out.
Cameron got into improv because he grew up in it. He joined the team in high school.
Jordan also got into improv in high school.
Hartley started while he was working at The Guild. He was watching one of the shows and thought it was interesting. He joined the UPEI improv group The Suspenders and was asked to join the group.
“I find it a very forgiving form of comedy because you can let go and people will forget five minutes later,” he said.
They have had many memorable moments over the five years the group has been together. One of their favourite was when Cameron had to play a duck being shot during the game Oscar Moments.
“I like watching people break down or break for an instant,” Cameron said.
Hartley has his favourite moments too.
“I like when we put Cameron into games that he will struggle with, like memory games.”
The group has also introduced a new portion to their shows, the Top Pop Award. This award is given to the member of the group or a worker at The Guild who brought the most enjoyment to the show. Cameron was the first to win this award.
The group has shows coming up almost every Friday from now until March.

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