The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Laughter highlights Homecoming weekend

On Saturday night Guilford students, alumni, and community members gathered in Dana Auditorium for the same reason: to laugh.

The laughter’s source was the famous Chicago-based Second City comedy troupe. The troupe has a notable list of alumni, including Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Steve Carrell and presidential hopeful (in South Carolina, anyway) Stephen Colbert.

Present troupe members include Tim Baltz, Rebecca Hanson, Brendan Jennings, Dana Quercioli, Mary Sohn and Mark Raterman. The six comedians, dressed in black suits, skirts and dress pants broke out on stage and began performing immediately, seamlessly moving into wry 60 second skits that ended with strong, witty and slightly twisted one-liners.

“I’m worried ’cause you’re a paranoid schizophrenic,” said one comedian to the other woman on stage, who expressed concern that everyone was after her in the opening skit. After the “schizophrenic” and the woman left the stage, the “concerned friend” talked into a microphone attached to her shirt. “OK, she’s left the building,” they said.

Sophomore Kate Harrington found the troupe’s brand of comedy to her taste. “It was absurdist humor,” Harrington said. “That made the acts awkward, but very funny.”

One of the more awkward and absurd routines was a wordless skit about a couple dancing together while taking a shower and going through their normal bathing routine. The bathing, hair washing, and loofah-ing was disrupted when the significant others attempted to make otherwise mundane tasks, such as shaving the armpit, into something sexy only to fail when they found these actions disconcerting rather than seductive. The actors’ body language and the actions had the audience in stitches.

The troupe’s improve was also met with audience enthusiasm. Ellen Koehler, a triad resident, liked the improvisational skits best. “I’m always really impressed when people can do improve well, it just seems like such a difficult skill,” she said.

The troupe’s skills really shone during their improv. They fluidly moved through scenes without stumbling lines, going blank or laughing at their own jokes, and even acted through small technical difficulties.

One of the more impressive aspects of their improvisation was how well they could weave together a crazy, yet somehow coherent plot line as they went along. One of improvised skits started with a ventriloquist’s dummy, went to a couple breaking up in the middle, and then brought it back to the dummy at the very end.

What was the central theme tying all this together? An oak tree that created the dummy was the same tree that the dendrophiliac boyfriend preferred over the girlfriend he broke up with.

The improvisation opened up the show beyond the boundaries of a normal skit by bringing audience members into it. Audience members gave the troupe suggestions about the scene’s setting or action. Audience suggestions even added to the show. How many people think to base a skit around the idea contributed by one audience member: a potato gun?

Like all good comedians, the troupe did have something to say through their comedy. Some of the sketches were politically charged, either satirizing politics or directly dismissing aspects of the present political sphere.

The group sang against anti-gay marriage laws. The song dismantled arguments against gay marriage, arguing that it’s ridiculous that in Kentucky it’s legal for a heterosexual to marry their 16 year old, mentally handicapped third cousin, but same-sex partners can not.

Sophomore Ashley Mailliard felt that the troupe’s comedy was a good medium for getting across a serious point, saying, “comedy makes it easier to understand a message; it allows you to let your political frustrations out.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *