Max Hughes: The Man, The Myth, The Legend from Hot New Jam

Written by Star Diavolikis

If you went to the recent Hot New Jam show and want to know more, look no further! Take a look at one of the improv team members, Max Hughes, as he discusses how he got into this adventure with this Q&A.

  1. When did you get interested in improv? What caused you to be interested in improv?

I started doing improv in high school after taking a theater class to fulfill an arts credit that my school required. I really enjoyed it and went to every meeting of that club for the entire year.

  1. When did you first join HNJ? What inspired you to join?

I auditioned for the Hot New Jam my Freshman year and have been a part of it ever since. I wanted to join the team because I really enjoyed performing at my high school and thought it would be fun to continue, and I was right.

  1. What has been your favorite moment so far with HNJ?

My favorite moments with the team thus far have been the time we spend offstage hanging out together. Mostly watching fungus documentaries weirdly…

  1. What are you looking forward to this year with HNJ?

This year I look forward to exploring new types of improv for future shows and building up the team’s ability to perform those ideas. And maybe even returning to some stuff the team hasn’t done for a while, but I’ll leave what that is a mystery.

  1. Why did you choose improv compared to traditional acting? Would you ever dive into traditional acting?

I still have done and do traditional acting on stage, but I enjoy Improv more because I get to do it with my friends and it’s a less time-consuming process making it a bit less stressful for me. I don’t have [to] memorize a script or exact movement or emotions. I just get to have fun and get to act in scenes that feel like games.

  1. Do you have any other experience regarding acting or being in the public eye?

When I started getting into theater in high school I got to act in a couple of plays before I graduated. I’ve also done some stage acting here at Central for different projects. I even got cast as a reenactment character in a TV show Expedition Unknown thanks to my involvement in the department. Theater is just my minor though, I am a journalism major and lately I have been making videos for Central News Watch, which has given me another experience in the public eye.

  1. What tips do you have for those with stage fright? Do you yourself still have stage fright?

I think I try to completely forget about the people in the audience and focus entirely on what I’m doing regardless of what stage I’m on. But also, people don’t generally attack you when you’re on stage so my biggest tip would be to just get some experience doing it and that will make it easier over time.

  1. Imagine somebody with no experience gets called as a volunteer to help HNJ with a scene. What could they do to navigate it, and how do team members of HNJ help?

Most of the games we play that involve volunteers give them a simple role, like saying a random word, so that it isn’t that difficult to hop in and get into the scene. And if we notice someone is confused about their role, we help them figure it out. 

  1. Do you have anything else you’d like to say?

If you want to try out Improv we have “Freeplay” or an open meeting for anyone to come try and/or watch improv every Friday in Black 150.

The next Hot New Jam show will be on Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. at the SURC Theatre! Join this group for some laughs and get ready to JAM!

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