Humorology, or “Humo” for short, is a time-honored tradition throughout the Greek community here at the University of Wisconsin. Acapella, pirouettes and more glitter than you’ve ever seen are just a few of the trademarks of a truly fantastic Humo show.
If you have friends in Greek life, even if it’s literally just a single person, you’ve probably heard more than your fair share of the time and effort that goes into a single show. But for those of you who have no idea what I’m going on about, I’ll break it down for you.
Humorology is an annual musical and variety showcase that around 600 members of sororities and fraternities, as well as those not involved in Greek life, participate in to raise money for a specific charity and get to know other people in Greek life here at UW. This year, the proceeds of the fundraising went to Dane County’s Rainbow Project, which provides mental health services to young children who have experienced trauma.
Teams, or casts, are created each year by pairing a sorority with a fraternity. These teams are then given the overarching theme of the end-of-the-year showcase which they must create their show around. This year’s theme was “When Life Gives You Lemons.” The casts are able to include anyone outside of Greek life that wants to join in the fun and they are given the duration of the fall semester to write, compose, choreograph and direct a show they will then use to compete for the seven spots in the final showcase in April.
Most casts will practice a minimum of three times a week for a couple hours each meeting during the fall semester to perfect their routines, formations, lines and singing. But after months of hard work and “Humo Hell Week,” the affectionate term for the week of grueling practices at Kanopy dance studio that run into the wee hours of the morning, only seven of the teams make it to the second semester of practices and the final show.
Once the spring semester begins, the real fun commences. From reworking the original script and finishing the nearly 20-minute-long production, these casts have their hands full. The directors of each cast will push their members to their breaking points as they cheer them on.
From bigger, brighter “Humo faces,” i.e. the ridiculous and exaggerated expressions that are compulsory to any Humo production, to the near screaming of the overly cheerful songs, the directors will urge their cast for their all until it feels like they have nothing left to give. But once the final show comes in April, all of the screaming, laughing and crying pays off as the cast members don their overly-bedazzled costumes and their colorful makeup, boys included.
While the corny jokes and glitter are fun, the true reason behind the showcase is the philanthropy. Greek life, in general, holds this charity and goodwill in especially high esteem as almost all of the chapters are founded on some charitable cause.
The cast that wins the final showcase is the one that raises the most money, encouraging some friendly competition. In the end, however, all of the money raised between the casts, ticket sales and online donations goes to the charity of the year. This year alone, the final sum donated to the Rainbow Project was around $180,000.
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Although getting to know your cast mates and bonding throughout the year are memorable, and at times entertaining, Humorology at its core is an amazing program that Greek life puts on every year and that tremendously helps the community.
Even if you’re not involved in Greek life, you may want to consider joining a cast or simply donating to the cause and coming to see the final showcase, because I guarantee you won’t regret spending a couple hours supporting the community and laughing your tail off at, and with, the casts.
Jenna Webster ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science and journalism.