Posted by Tara Lerman and Sara Gagnon
On Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9, Skidmore hosted the 24th Annual National College Comedy Festival ("Comfest") in the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater. Created by the producer of "30 Rock" and Skidmore alumni David Meiner, the sold-out event included hilarious performances by both collegiate and professional groups.
Friday's show opened with Emerson College's sketch-comedy group "Jimmy's Traveling All Stars," who garnered laughs by poking fun at the upper class with a country club skit and acting out a modern-day God-Jesus father-son relationship. Up next from Emerson was "Stroopwafel," a short-form improvisational group , created while its members were studying abroad in the Netherlands. They formulated their skit's comical story and ridiculous characters from the word "mail," which was provided by the audience..
Skidmore's own Sketchies followed with hypersexual skits involving both abstinence clubs and kissing cameras, ending with a humorous self-deprecating song about sexual repression. It was a crowd-pleaser, hitting home with the the audience, the vast majority of whom were college students. The Sketchies were followed by Brown's sketch-comedy group "Out of Bounds," who transformed into pretentious college question-askers, unintelligent One Direction band members and Bible Belt dwellers mystified by a Hebrew-speaking Jesus.
Cornell University's "Whistling Shrimp" improvised an unusual sequence of events at a shooting range that featured talking animal mounts and uncomfortable newlyweds. Skidomedy concluded Friday's college performance with skits featuring a Jewish Dora the Explorer and a climactic Lion King performance, that earned roars from the crowd.
Stand-up comedian James Adomian and sketch-comedy duo "The Templeton Philharmonic" performed the night's professional comedy portion. Knowing his audience, Adomian played on the attributes of theater professors and included a bit on stereotypical gay villains. The Templeton Philharmonic performed a handful of sketches, including an incident of grandmothers getting high after accidentally ingesting marijuana. Their innovative sketches, including high-powered dances in between acts, ended Friday's performances on a spirited note.
The festival's energy certainly did not die down on Saturday. The second night opened with Emerson's improvisational group "This is Pathetic." After receiving the word "Disneyland" from the audience, the group energetically crafted a funny and twisted story with hilarious and exaggerated characters. Next to take the stage was Brown's improvisational group "Starla & Sons," who performed with only two out of their six members. They concocted out of a humorous dentist's office visit gone wrong. Based on the significant amount of laughs from the audience, the group was definitely a fan favorite..
All of the college improvisational groups came together before intermission to play a game of "freeze," combining their different talents onstage. Yale University's Sketch group, "Red Hot Poker," followed with a skit mocking Disney' s adaptations of the tales of the Brothers Grimm. The group's skits offered a darker element to the night of comedy, winning laughs across the auditorium. The last college group to perform at the festival was Skidmore's improvisational group, The Ad-liberal Artists, who impressed many with their fast-paced comedy and concluded the show with a comedic routine set to music.
Later that night, the Improvised Shakespeare Company, a four man professional group from Chicago, performed a one-act play for the audience. The play was based entirely off of "Sex and Candy," a title given to the actors by an audience member. The group performed only in theShakespearean style, and received a standing ovation for their exceptional performance. Their wit, timing and hilarious bridging of Shakespearean language with modern-day one-liners were a great way to end the festival.
Though not all comedy groups invited to the festival were able to make it due to the weather, Skidmore's Comfest was a great success. Duncan Gregory of the "Ad-Libs" was pleased with the weekend's outcome, saying, "Comfest is not only a place for audience members to see some of the best comedy in the collegiate network, but it also a chance for those comedians to make long-lasting relationships that enhance our overall experience."
The event showcased a range of comedic talent, both improvisational and sketch-based. Each group brought different personalities and senses of humor to the show, making Skidmore's last Comfest one to remember.