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The politics of comedy: How one senior found his passion through improv

Senior political science student Harrison Crone leads the Miami University improv group, Sketched Out.
Senior political science student Harrison Crone leads the Miami University improv group, Sketched Out.

Although Harrison Crone has attended Miami University for four years, he didn’t start calling himself a “Miami student” until he was in his second year.

Like most seniors graduating this year, Crone began his college career on a computer screen outside the Oxford city limits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He attended virtual classes and got involved in student organizations, but it wasn’t until he stepped foot on campus that his college journey began.

“It wasn’t even a transition for me,” Crone said. “I was online that first year; I was still at home. It didn’t even feel real.”

When Crone got to campus, he didn’t get lost amongst the same brick buildings like many first-year students do. He had previously stayed on Miami’s campus to participate in the American Legion Buckeye Boys State, an immersive experience that introduces high school boys to government.

“It was during that summer camp [that] I was like, ‘I’m really interested in politics, but I don’t know where I fit in, so I’ll do the law side of things,’” Crone said.

Crone came to Miami as a political science major, with his sights on becoming a lawyer. Since he was somewhat familiar with the campus, this fueled his excitement to get involved in many aspects of campus life. Getting caught up in academics and losing his aspirations to become a lawyer led Crone to lose interest in many of those organizations, but one that never lost his commitment was Miami’s improv group, Sketched Out.

“I’ve traveled abroad, I was a senator (for Associated Student Government), I’ve done lots of stuff,” Crone said. “But the most important thing has been Sketched Out Improv.”

Through Sketched Out, Crone said he’s learned how to talk to people, express himself and the importance of teamwork. It’s also where he met one of his best friends and future co-president, Annie Joseph. As juniors, Crone and Joseph had both been members of the organization for three years and built a close friendship.

“Because of how improv is, you build off of each other,” Crone said. “So you have to have that relationship within the presidency because that’s just what improv is, you’re building.”

For Joseph, she said there was no one else she’d rather lead the organization with.

“I think he’s a great leader,” the senior religion and psychology major said. “He’s driven and passionate.”

Throughout their reign, Joseph said Crone taught her how to stay professional while still having fun.

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“We’re leaders, and it can be easy in a college environment to be like, ‘Oh, these things will get done,’” Joseph said. “But Harrison’s really on top of everything always and takes it all seriously, [and] he also is always positive and leaves all his distraction and negativities at the door when we have practice.” 

As Crone prepares to walk across the graduation stage, the thoughts of him in law school and a courtroom are long behind him. Now, he is looking to continue performing improv, hoping to one day be a comedy writer.

Despite his delayed start on campus and an overeagerness to get involved in many student organizations, Crone said he was able to find his true passion in the mix.

“Don’t get caught up in it all,” he said. “At the end of the day, you choose your path, and no one else can tell you otherwise.”