Nick Demetroulakos ’19, Co-Head of comedy group Under the Bed (UTB), wore a white loincloth as he scampered through the Cochran Bird Sanctuary, performing various acts in nature, such as eating a raw fish. Finally, he stumbled upon a man in a long flowing robe, who revealed himself as Sam Bird ’18, former Co-Head of UTB, receiving loud cheers from the audience.
In an email to The Phillipian, UTB member Harry Kahane ’20 wrote, “The final video, ‘Fall of the King,’ was my favorite moment of the show. At thirty minutes long, it shouldn’t have worked, but it did. The club didn’t actually watch the full video until hours before the show, and we were really blown away…It was long, undoubtedly, but it was really a triumph and a beautiful testament to the spirit of UTB.”
“Fall of the King” was part of a group of videos and skits for “Andover Night Live” (ANL), UTB’s annual finale, held in two shows at Kemper Auditorium last Saturday night. The performances incorporated comedic elements related to Andover’s culture, from an imitation of an All-School Meeting to a fake documentary about Phillips Academy Public Safety.
Demetroulakos said, “We plan out everything. All the videos, obviously, are made beforehand. All the sketches are written. There’s a little [improvisation] that goes into those. Ian [Hurley ’19] does a little extra improvisation with his characters, but for the most part, it’s pretty written out. It’s sort of a departure from our normal improv routes.”
Since much of the comedy relies on a shared knowledge of references to situations at Andover, the show can also act as a way of speaking out against the school, according to Kahane. Both shows filled all the seats in Kemper, with the line for entry stretching from the auditorium’s entrance to the hallway outside the Polk Lillard Center.
“We like to think of ANL [as] a voice box for the student body. We highlight our grievances as students. It’s one of the only platforms students have to unabashedly diss the administration. I’m grateful that the administration, Mr. Palfrey in particular, allows for this kind of freedom of speech,” said Kahane.
The shorter videos are typically around four minutes, and the longer videos are around six minutes, but this year’s acts were longer, according to Demetroulakos. “Fall of the King” had a runtime of thirty minutes. He attributed this length to a common belief among UTB members that cutting any material would sacrifice its quality.
“The ideas were a little more fleshed out [than last year]…People had ideas that they were really excited about. I think a part of it was that they were hesitant to cut the bits that they thought were funny. Cutting a video is really, really hard because you basically have to make decisions about what’s going to get the most laughs and how to have a high concentration of jokes,” said Demetroulakos.
According to Demetroulakos, the ANL skits were planned after finishing the videos so the group could include newer references, such as when Kahane imitated Head of School John Palfrey by ripping his suit to reveal a Thanos t-shirt. This was a reference to the All-School Meeting a week age when Palfrey did the same thing during the Faculty Band performance.
“We’re just inspired by the world around us. It’s really just spur of the moment. People have been planning since the beginning of the year. We all keep a running list as soon as get an idea. We’re inspired by TV, by things that go on around us,” said UTB member Violet Enes ’21.