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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Boris’ Kitchen Amazes at “The Old Sh*t Show”

Published: October 5, 2012
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

On Thursday night, Boris’ Kitchen put on “The Old Sh*t Show” in the Merrick Theater in Spingold. From the way people packed tightly into the dance studio-esque room, it was apparent that the sketch group has a solid group of fans. The audience consisted mainly of current Brandeis students, although parents and former members of the group also attended.

The show was composed of material pulled from Boris’ Kitchen’s archive, or “old sh*t,” which stretches all the way back to the group’s first performances in 1987. If the group’s reputation for hilarity is any indication, the archive has doubtlessly accumulated a wide variety of entertaining sketches to exhibit.

“The Old Sh*t Show” was performed in what seemed to be a minimalist style, relying mostly on the comedians’ performance to engage the audience rather than on technical aspects. The only tech involved were lights that blacked out and came back on to signify a new sketch, and music tracks that were played in between each sketch. There was also minimal costuming, but for the most part the group members wore their iconic black Boris’ Kitchen t-shirts and jeans.

The show opened with a sketch about pizza bagels, and the question of whether they could be enjoyed in any situation. From trauma surgery to the funeral of a beloved grandfather, the performers showed—with great humor—that such an ordinary object truly could be eaten no matter a person’s location.

Another great sketch in the beginning of the show dealt with sexual education. Emily Duggan ’15 played a pill-popping, whiskey-drinking teacher who was forced to instruct her class in the ways of sex, using what seemed to be a soft-core pornographic novel. When it was revealed that her class was comprised of second graders, the sketch became yet more hilarious, as the students (Michelle Wexler ’15, Yoni Bronstein ’13, Jason Kasman ’16 and Karen Lengler ’15) were forced to find out what lovers were really doing when they ‘wrestle.’ Within 30 seconds, raucous laughter rang throughout the theater, as an overwhelming majority of the audience found the sketch utterly hilarious.

Many of the sketches in the show were on the shorter side, lasting around one to two minutes, including, brief public safety announcements from the Committee to Lock Your Kids in a Basement, which advocated this course of action as a way to not only save money on groceries, but to keep your child from turning to drugs. While these didn’t provide as many laughs as some of the lengthier sketches, they did allow different members of the group time to catch their breath or change into a needed costume piece. This is not to say that they weren’t amusing: These smaller sketches provided many different scenarios for the audience to enjoy, and served to keep the roughly hour-long show lively and fast-paced.

The show’s longer sketches provided a more extensive opportunity to examine a topic from different comedic angles, and went over very well. The five-to-six-minute sketch about “Bobo’s Playhouse,” a children’s show hosted by an emotionless, downtrodden clown, provided a dark take on a typical educational program. Rather than the typical values that such shows generally try to instill, “Bobo’s Playhouse” focused on how the government and “merchant class” were oppressing the average citizen. Additionally, the children on the show had to read poems they had prepared, and when Michael Frederikse’s ’15 did not please Bobo, he was forced to don the hat of shame, and be mocked and ridiculed by the other children.

It was in a sketch where Mario (of the famous videogames) gets arrested, however, that the long hours of practice and care that the members put into the show truly shines through. Tricia Miller ’12 and Michael Frederikse ’15 acted as two police officers interrogating Mario, portrayed by Yoni Bronstein ’13, as they tried to discern the location of a kidnapped Princess Peach. To the delight of Super Mario fans in the audience, the sketch was full of references to the gaming franchise, including accusing Mario of using various forms of illicit drugs including magic mushrooms and the “leaf,” or marijuana (mushrooms change Mario’s size in-game and obtaining a magic leaf gives him the ability to fly).

Audience members had great things to say about the show. One audience member, Erica Hass ’14, said that it was “one of the better sketch shows I’ve seen,” and Daniel Lanier ’15 said that the show “was hilarious, and the sketches were each very funny.” Lauren Phillips ’15 also praised the show, saying that it contained “a great assortment of humors.” She elaborated that “some scenes were dry and sardonic” and others were “slapstick, leaving me in tears.”

Overall, “The Old Sh*t Show” was a hilarious change of pace in a busy week of classes here. The new members of the group worked seamlessly with the veterans, and every sketch was entertaining and brought laughter to the audience. If this show was any indication, Boris’ Kitchen is going to be outstanding this year, and any fan of comedy should make it a point to attend their shows.