Student groups open comedy festival

Posted by Michelle Minick

On Friday Feb. 11 at the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater, the college hosted the 22nd annual National College Comedy Festival.

The college's comedy groups, Ad-Libs, Sketchies and Skidomedy hosted and presented 20 college comedy groups and three professional comedic groups from all over the East Coast.

These groups gathered together to hone their craft, test their best material and perform a variety of uproarious comedic sketches and scenes.

The festival is an annual tradition at the college since its founding in 1990 by alumnus David Miner '91. Miner, a theater major, also started the college's first comedy troupe, the Ad-Liberal Artists.

Miner is now a talent manager and a Golden Globe-winning producer of television comedy shows, including NBC's Emmy Award-winning "30 Rock" and "Parks and Recreation."

Performing improvisational and sketch comedy live is not an easy feat, but the 10 comedic groups that performed thoroughly demonstrated a plethora of spontaneous, witty, humorous and even capricious assortments of comedic performances.

The line-up of college comedy groups for the first night included: Vassar's The Limit and Happily Ever After, Bates's Strange Bedfellows, Tufts' Major: Undecided and The Institute, Cornell's Whistling Shrimp and Skitz-O-Phrenics, Yale's Purple Crayon and the college's own Skidomedy and Sketchies.

Each comedy group took the audience on a journey; albeit, a journey filled with vivacious and eclectic characters, plots and original content.

The highlights from the first night included the following:

Vassar's The Limit showed a video sketch displaying physical comedy and real-life Barbie dolls attempting everyday activities.

Tufts' Major: Undecided showcased a young boy band, Boystown, which consisted of a mayor and distinctive personalities. Then they incorporated a sketch about the implications on impersonating Steve Martin and two clever elevator sketches about fathering a chair and racist bankers.

Skidomedy's Adam and Eve sketch featured Adam and Eve trying to sneak in some alone time despite Adam's cousin, Norman, interrupting multiple times. Their next sketch was about a test that allowed the audience to hear the inner thoughts and musings of each student. Through unique voice-overs, quirky personalities and vocal nuances, Skidomedy tickled the audience's funny bones.

Lastly, there was a hardcore remedy to the sketch, "Genital Harpalies," which included some graphic side effects of birthing eagle babies with lion claws.

Cornell's Whistling Shrimp featured an improvisational long-form scene about young men who were aspiring tambourine players by day and waiters at Denny's by night and their encounter with their tambourine idol.

Cornell's other group, Skitz-O- Phrenics, introduced a sketch that reversed the "theater dork" and "jock" politics, setting up a serious setback in the hierarchy of power.

The Sketchies had two sketches. The first was about an ex-couple, both early childhood educators who re-discover their love for each one another. The other sketch showcased a pair of friendly thieves who tried to befriend the man whose wallet they stole.

There are many key components and rules to follow in order for comedy to occur because comedy cannot make itself happen.

However, the audience could, at times, easily tell when groups were not pertaining to the rules of improvisational comedy. This led to a deficiency in constantly eliciting a response from the audience and ultimately ended in a few downfalls.

Some of the groups mistakenly broke commitment to their character, exhibited poor character development, conveyed parsimonious puns, inexperience with handling the audience, messing up games and bad scene partner chemistry.

Still, every comedic group succeeded in feeding the audience laugh after laugh and left everyone happily satisfied with a great evening of entertainment.

Michelle is a sophomore Theater major and a Management & Business minor who loves to act, dance and play the bass guitar and the piano.

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