First Annual Comedy Night Fills Tang Theater

Members of Under The Bed (UTB), Andover’s first and only improvisational group, emerged in front of the audience from below the stage in Tang Theater. “We present to you ‘Under the Bed’ from under the stage,” announced Rob Irvin ’15. Once on stage, UTB began their comedy routine during the West Quad North (WQN) sponsored Comedy Night.

WQN hosted their first annual Comedy Night last Friday night in Tang. The sold-out event included performances from UTB and Sketchy, Andover’s sketch comedy group, as well as from Ken Reid, a Boston-based stand-up comedian. All proceeds went to Hilarity for Charity, a charity founded by Seth Rogen in 2011 that benefits Alzheimer’s research.

Billy Casagrande ’15, WQN President and one of two masters of ceremonies (MCs) for the event, said, “It was definitely difficult to plan [Comedy Night]. First off, we had to plan it from scratch because our Cluster voted on a new marquee event… Second, we were originally planning on showing student- submitted videos, but we didn’t get enough submissions, so we decided to book a comedian and have some comedy groups from around campus perform.”

Visiting comedian Reid headlined the night. He mentioned to the audience that while growing up, whenever waitresses would say they had twin lobsters at a restaurant, his father would always ask, “Are the lobsters identical or fraternal?” Reid joked that while nine out of ten times the waitress would laugh, one out of ten times the waitress would go back to the chef and ask him. Further, he joked that while the chef would laugh half of the time, the other half of the time the waitress would come back saying that the lobsters were fraternal.

Reid wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “My background is the biggest influence on my material. I mostly tell stories from my life and the majority of my material is recounting things that actually happened to me or interactions with my family or friends. I actually started doing stand-up when I lived in the UK, and although popular culture, TV and music are a huge part of my brain, I realized that [while] doing comedy in another country, I didn’t have the luxury of being able to comment on American popular culture. In my development I drew from some more personal, universal stuff.”

Sketchy preceded Reid’s performance. In a skit entitled “McDonald’s,” Jenn Kim ’16 and Jack Lawlor ’17 played a couple that walked into McDonald’s for a bite to eat. Kim’s character had trouble finding something to eat on the menu because she only ate “soy free [foods], gluten free [foods], farm to table [foods], chia seeds or kale chips.” In the end, the impatient and blunt cashier, played by Niko Skrivanos ’17, served her a double, quarter pounder burger with American cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and mustard and a juice to drink.

Skrivanos said, “It was so exciting for me to perform ‘McDonald’s’ because it was the first script I wrote for Sketchy. Being on stage with the other actors and feeling the energy from the audience was really memorable for me. My character had such a high voice, so it was hard to hold that for the whole show. After rehearsing the part so many times, I think I got strep throat by the time show night came but luckily, I was able to get through it.”

The night ended with UTB organizing three improv games: “bell curve,” “stream of consciousness” and “vacation.” In “vacation,” members of UTB asked the audience for a destination. After Jamaica was chosen, Paige Morss ’17, a member of UTB, pretended to click through an imaginary photo album of her trip to Jamaica, while other members of UTB posed to act out these “photos.” Vincent Mocco ’15, Co-Head of UTB, interrupted the last “photo” by unexpectedly jumping in and striking a pose.

Mocco said, “We really don’t play [vacation] often in front of an audience, so that was a good opportunity for us to try something new. The game itself went really well… I jumped in at the very end just because I had the urge to and because I felt like it would get a big laugh.”