Comedy collectives unite for multi-troupe performance

by Beacon Staff • October 6, 2011

strongSteve Miller, Beacon Staff/strong

In a totally hilarious display of funny-people fellowship, Chocolate Cake City (CCC) hosted a multi-troupe comedy show last Thursday in the Cabaret.

CCC President Lee Benzaquin a junior writing, literature, and publishing major, said performances like this demonstrate a growing unity within Emerson’s comedy community.

“A couple years ago, the Emerson comedy scene wasn’t as close as it is now,” he said. “We all go and hang out together after shows.”

The evening featured performances by Swolen Monkey Showcase (SwoMo), Emerson Comedy Workshop (ECW), This Is Pathetic, and Jimmy’s Traveling All-Stars, with CCC delivering sketches between each troupe.

SwoMo played the “One Word Story” improv game, basing their performance on a sequentially crafted narrative built by calling on audience members for one word contributions. Each word added to the last, eventually yielding an anecdote about a hyperbolically pretty cat and a postman who can’t just see her beauty.

ECW delivered the standout performance of the night — their sketch ending in a blue-paint spattered battle royale. A trio of ECW members strode onstage in full Blue Man Group regalia. Five-gallon bucket drums were donned and the trio began banging in rhythm with a Fatboy Slim/Daft Punk remix.

“The Blue Men are full of garbage. They’re a bunch of hacks,” ECW’s Andrew Coalson, a junior visual and media arts major, said after the show. “They just happen to be really good drummers.”

These mock blue dudes, however, weren’t the best of beat-keepers. When one couldn’t hold rhythm for the life of him, the scene quickly devolved in to a all-out, blue-fisted brawl.

[caption id=attachment_3813624 align=aligncenter width=268 caption=SwoMo brought their brand of short form improv comedy to the evening with a game of quot;One Word Story.quot; Kristen Parker portrays a cat in that story. Allyson Chapman/Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DSC_0043.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813624 title=DSC_0043 src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DSC_0043.jpg alt= width=268 height=400 //a[/caption]

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[caption id=attachment_3813625 align=aligncenter width=268 caption=Emerson Comedy Workshop members Andrew Coalson, Daniel Perea, John Freeman parody the Blue Man Group who Coalson finds to be quot;full of garbage.quot; Allyson Chapman/Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DSC_0070.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813625 title=DSC_0070 src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DSC_0070.jpg alt= width=268 height=400 //a[/caption]

Three of the five-member, long-form improv troupe This is Pathetic took the stage and riffed as a crew of high school freshmen fighting for the affection of one girl. How to best woo this woman, the validity of a long held “Bro Pact,” and the ingredients of hummus were debated with hilariously exaggerated conviction, all ending in a brobust group hug.

Jimmy’s Traveling All-Stars squeezed two sketches into their time slot. One took aim at the ridiculous self-importance of street magicians like David Blaine.

The other saw a pair of overbearing parents struggling in quiet desperation to get their home-from-college son to do the dishes — “If you don’t get in there and do the dishes, we will hug you until you can’t breath.”

CCC bridged the gap between troupes with sketches about a love-circle between three women, their husbands, and a humanoid cow; a rubber bandit doting bank robber; a café that engages in the questionable business practice of not selling anything; the consequences of farting wives; and a cop’s birthday surprise.

When the house lights had come up, and the chairs were cleared from the floor, members from the troupes could still be found hanging around the Cabaret, getting in some of that comedic commingling. A unified scene might be good for Emerson comedians, but, if troupes keep collaborating for nights like this, it’s looking even better for audiences.

emMiller can be reached at steven_miller@emerson.edu. Follow him on twitter @steve_r_miller./em