JK! Studios, formerly BYUtv’s original “Studio C” cast, competed against nine other acts during the first Open Mic round episode of the comedy competition in front of judges Jeff Foxworthy, Chrissy Teigen and Kenan Thompson.
The group performed a sketch written by cast member Stacey Harkey called “Happy Fun Friends,” depicting a children’s TV show gone wrong.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sketch group take on a kids’ show, which is awesome, man. It’s like somebody just going into territory because it’s right,” Foxworthy told the group. “Fabulous job, guys.”
Teigen, who was born in Utah, said she was “very proud.”
“This is my life. I watch BabyTV every day, and this is really the kind of stuff that is on that channel all the time,” Teigen said. “There’s just something about the awkwardness and the inappropriateness and the randomness that I really love and appreciate. I loved it.”
Thompson said he thought the group “did a great job.”
“Your stage presence is amazing. The way you work the room is amazing,” Thompson said. “I thought it was great.”
Jeremy Warner of JK! Studios told the Daily Herald in an interview after the episode it felt “pretty surreal” when the group heard its name announced as one of the groups advancing to the next round.
“I was in shock, but I was also very relieved because I had actually thrown up a bunch right before we went on, and my leg also hurt really bad,” Warner said.
“Jeremy killed it because that sketch kind of all rode on his performance,” fellow cast member Jason Gray added in the interview. “We had never performed that in front of an audience before, and especially with music cues, if you get behind or if you messed up, the whole sketch could’ve fallen apart pretty fast.”
The judges “gave a lot of great feedback” and seemed very receptive, positive and kind, according to Warner.
“It was crazy just to hear Jeff Foxworthy say that we made him laugh,” Warner said. “He didn’t tell us we might be rednecks though, which, I was a little sad.”
The group “made a lot of good friends” with the other acts on the show, according to Gray.
“The cool thing is that it’s kind of like a summer camp where we really were all rooting for each other,” Gray said.
Warner said it is fun to be part of the series’ first season, “let alone the first episode.”
“I feel like we’re Neil Armstrong going to the moon,” Warner said.
“It’s fun to kind of pioneer something and to help make it what it is,” Gray added. “Especially because most comedy competitions are usually just stand-up, so it was cool to be part of one that allowed sketch.”
JK! Studios’ involvement with “Bring the Funny” helped the group partner with Purple for its “Summer of Purple” sketch series, according to Warner.
“I think it did a good job of showcasing what JK! Studios is,” Warner said. “It’s safe-for-work comedy that we make together, and there’s something for everyone.”
Gray said he thinks JK! Studios’ appearance on the NBC comedy competition showed the group “can appeal to a broad demographic.”
“Everyone in that audience was from L.A. They aren’t our typical crowd,” Gray said. “I think it just showed that we have a broader range and appeal hopefully than local.”
“Matt and I walked out on the stage right before we started the sketch, and we just heard this guy scream, ‘Scott Sterling,’ and I was like, ‘That guy knows,’” Warner added. “That was nice to hear that right off the bat.”
The JK! Studios team hopes as people watch the group’s act, they will “check out the other series that we’ve done, like ‘Freelancers,’ ” according to Gray.
“While only six of us were there performing on ‘Bring the Funny,’ there are 10 of us, and everybody is great in our group, and I’m not just saying that,” Warner said. “I hope that everyone that finds us can get to know all 10 of us.”
There are still 30 acts yet to compete in first round of “Bring the Funny,” according to Warner.
“There are a lot of funny people that are part of the competition,” Warner said. “It makes me excited, but also nervous because I know how good everybody is.”
JK! Studios will appear next on the series in the second round of the competition. The show airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
“It goes from 40 down to 24 people,” Gray said. “It was by invitation only, so every act was strong and stuff, and we just feel super fortunate that we were lucky enough and worked hard enough to make it through to the second round.”
Warner said the next round will include “an added element to bring about more drama.”
“There’s definitely a new kind of twist or whatever that people I think will think is fun in the second round,” Gray said. “We hope that avalanches and that more and more people watch the show and that we can get new followers.”