No rim shots, no sympathetic drum roll–but student comedy put its stamp on Sarah Lawrence this year. Two groups made campus debuts this year, leaving audience members giggling and clamoring for more.
The Lampoon Sketch Comedy Show, guided by theatre faculty member Christine Farrell (whose comedy workshop is part of the theatre curriculum), alternated seamlessly between absurdist Monty Python-style fare and more traditional mockery, slapstick and impersonations. The show opened with something that can only be described as communal seizures (set to lush music), with a dozen cast members vibrating and contorting on the stage floor. The actors then went on to explore such topics as the tribulations of hit men locked in a showdown (“guns are heavy”), the truth about the suspiciously chipper Hardy Boys, and the unspeakable social taboo of dating a girl who’s never seen Jurassic Park.
“In an environment as creatively insane as Sarah Lawrence, comedy is inevitable,” says Michael Levine ’07, who performs with the Lampoon group. “Some of us just like to put it on stage.”
He wrote his sketches while taking classes with the hip New York City comedy troupe The Upright Citizen’s brigade, bringing some of that group’s bizarre sensibility and comedic professionalism to the SLC efforts.
The material for Moneybagel, a two-man sketch comedy team featuring first-years Jeff Eckman and Sam Koppert, is rooted in a more classic, Abbott-and-Costello “Who’s on first” approach. Highlights included the fruitless police interrogation of a maliciously adorable infant (“you think you’re so cute, sitting there with your diaper and your pacifier.”), sure signs that your friends want you to kill yourself, and what to do when you find out your girlfriend is a Nazi. The duo even treated the audience to a rigorous modern dance interpretation of a classic rock number from the 70s.
All these comic performers take their craft seriously, creating distinctive work that places them shoulder to shoulder with more established acts.
“SLC attracts a lot of students with the impulse not only to act or create comedy material, but also to be seen, or heard, or recognized,” says Aaron Matteson ’08, who appeared in both performances. “This spans from poets’ readings to the drama department’s shows to art showcases. Sketch comedy is a great stress reliever and a great way to get up in front of people and hopefully make them laugh.”