School of Arts and Humanities News

Alumna Follows Familiar Script to Comedy Fame by Joining Groundlings


Emily Joyce BA’15 with classmates Samat Turgunbaev and Robert Keller (right).

A UT Dallas alumna has taken her penchant for comedy and improvisation to Los Angeles, where she is honing her craft through classes at The Groundlings Theatre & School.

Emily Joyce BA’15 enjoys comedy and hopes to make it to a big stage where she can impact a lot more people.

“I am an entirely silly person; I just have a knack for making people laugh,” she said. “I like being able to do really silly characters and to do voices. I know it’s weird, but I like making other people feel good.”

Along with The Second City and a few others, The Groundlings is known for the development of some of the best comedy talent in the country. Alumni of the program include well-known comedians and actors such as Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Phil Hartman, Maya Rudolph and Lisa Kudrow.

Emily Joyce BA’15

“I’m the person that just soaks up comedy,” Joyce said. “A person who wants a career in comedy has to look at places such as The Groundlings, Second City or Upright Citizens Brigade. ‘Saturday Night Live’ pulls from these places, so if you want to be a writer or performer with ‘SNL’, then you have to look into these places.”

She said she would like to not only be an improv actor, but also a sketch writer for “Saturday Night Live.”

“It’s one of the top improv and comedy shows in the business, and working there can open a door to take you wherever you want to go,” she said.

While Joyce had learned a lot about theater before she attended UT Dallas, it was at UTD where she discovered her love for improv, said her mentor, Kathy Lingo.

“Emily told me after she had taken her first improv course that this is what she wanted to do for a living. And I knew she would do it,” said Lingo, clinical associate professor in the School of Arts and Humanities. “She’s got the smarts; she’s got the drive; she’ll make it.”

Read the full story on the UT Dallas News Center.