An up-close interview with “Bluffoons” star, Tara Egan

By The Beacon | January 28, 2015 3:17pm

[SlideDeck2 id=23803] Photos by Hannah Baade

By Christine Menges |

On Jan. 23, The Bluffoons, University of Portland’s improv comedy club, performed their first on-campus show. Here is Tara Egan, club secretary and veteran Bluffoon, on what it takes to be a great improv actor...with some improvised answers thrown in.

Three words that best describe improv? “Yes, and…” (It’s the first rule of improv.) And “fun”

If you could be on any talk show, what would it be and why? Jimmy Fallon, because I love Jimmy Fallon.

How many Bluffoons does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Depends on how tall the ceiling is. Because we can lift each other, and we can all lift Nate if we work together, and it depends on how big the person is. But probably around 10.

Your opinion on bananas. I only eat them if they’re yellow. Like, no brown spots. I buy them when they’re green, because I can’t deal with brown spots. It’s nothing against the banana personally, it’s just the fresher the banana, the younger it is, the happier it is, the less exposed it is to man’s dark side.

If you could have any prop with you onstage, what would it be? A phone.

What three items would you take to a deserted island? A water filtration system. Cheetos, probably, just because most islands don’t have Cheetos on them. And then a satellite phone. I don’t know if that’s cheating, but I’d hang out on the island for a bit, and then pretend I can be a wilderness woman and call someone.

Favorite improv game? I really like “The Clover.” It’s not really a game, it’s more of a way to bounce ideas off of each other. It’s fun because you get to learn how each other think.

Type of character you like to play the best? For some reason, I always go to “enamored teenage girl.” Like, “Oh my God, you’re so cute, lol.” It’s an easy fallback.

Improv actor or comedian/comedienne you admire most? I really like Tina Fey. She’s very cool. She’s very quick with improv and she’s very clever.

During a show, would you rather be unable to speak or unable to hear? Unable to speak, because listening is the second rule of improv.

What do you do to keep a straight face onstage? I don’t. That’s my own personal problem. I just rip the lips physically off of my face and then I keep my face straight all the time.

What is something a Bluffoon should never do? We tend to say no “blue humor.” Try to keep it not completely uncomfortable for the audience. Uncomfortable to a degree, is required, I think, of all comedy. There’s a line, so don’t go over the line.

One audience suggestion you are sick of hearing? I just love audience suggestions so much, I don’t want to shut anyone down.

What do you fear most about improv? Sweating so much onstage. So sweaty. It’s good, because then we mix our sweat together, and our brains become one, so it’s part of necessary steps in improv.

What’s the best part of The Bluffoons? The people in it. It’s a big, goofy family. We all got the same cold all at the same time, ‘cause we love each other. It’s good. We’re all like the most beautiful people on campus, of course.

Christine Menges is a reporter for The Beacon. You can reach her at or on Twitter @ChristineyBird.