Let’s hear it for Comedy!

It’s Sunday night, about 30 degrees, and it had just rained less than an hour before.  I walked up to Java Monkey fully expecting the patio to be empty, as it had for many Sundays before it.

To my surprise, there were more than five people in the crowd.  In fact, they almost had a full house.  Whether or not the crowd members were there because of the show or they were caught in the mix mid-sip and had no time to escape, I can’t say. But a crowd had gathered none the less.

D.U.C.K (Decatur Youth Comedy Krew), performs every third Sunday of the month at Java Monkey.  While the cast at one point held between 10 and 12 members, the average number of participants has dwindled to around three.

Lexi Ritter, senior cast member, recalls her first time participating in the club.

“I was actually kind of forced into it. Noemi Griffin and Jenna Hanes were members of D.U.C.K and one day when we were hanging out they had to leave to go to it, and they said to me, ‘Hey, you’re pretty funny sometimes. Why don’t you come?’ and I was like, ‘I’ll ask my mom.’ And then I just never stopped going.”

Ritter has been in the club for five years now and has yet to grow tired of performing with the crew.

“I would say, the reason I do it is because I get this spark in me everytime I perform. It doesn’t even have to be in front of an audience, it could be just me, Lew, Monica, Eric, maybe Claire, just D.U.C.K”.

Monica Lefton joined D.U.C.K in seventh grade and has been a member on and off for five years like Ritter.  She started because her father, Lew Lefton, ran the club, but has continued because of her genuine love for it.

“I do improv because I love to make people laugh. I also love to laugh. Saturday night live is my favorite show”, Lefton said.

Lefton has even started an improv comedy club for her senior project.  She plans to get the group together and eventually perform for senior citizens living in assisted living, but she says that “practice is the first step”.

Ritter has decided to branch out into the world of stand up comedy.  Sunday night was her first night practicing her routine.

Before her performance, Ritter was extremely nervous.  She shook her leg furiously as Lew introduced the two stand up acts for the night.

She stayed positive by remembering why she decided to write her routine.

“I like telling stories, anyone can tell you about my long narratives and anecdotal riffs, so I needed a medium to share my stories. I find that the best way to deal with life is to laugh about it, so I wanted to laugh about it

Much of improv is powering through the silent moments in the crowd and creating the energy for yourself when it’s not present with the spectators.  D.U.C.K. members have experienced their fair share of silent moments but continue to try and make people laugh.


Ritter gave some final advice to anyone who thinks that there are requirements that would bar them from performing.


“’Id just like to say, you don’t have to be “funny” to do improv. All comedy is, is being able to put yourself out there and laugh if you mess up. It’s really just that simple.” Ritter said.


Head on out to Java Monkey on January 19th to catch some of the D.U.C.K. members in action.