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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Boris’ Kitchen elicits hilarity in sketch comedy festival

Published: December 7, 2012
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

Boris’ Kitchen brought unparalleled sketch comedy to the SCC Theater last weekend with their 13th Annual Sketch Comedy Festival. The event spanned two days, with different guest performers at each. Friday’s troupe, EVIL, featured Boris’ Kitchen alumni Sam Roos and Amy Thompson, while Saturday brought a double-header of Yale’s The 5th Humour and Tufts’ Major: Undecided. Although I was unable to attend EVIL, if their caliber was anything resembling the other guests’, either night of the festival would have been well worth attending, doubly so considering that all the proceeds of the event went straight to the American Cancer Society.

Both teams were exemplary. Yale’s The 5th Humour opened the event with a short sketch involving the mispronunciation of a student’s name (it seems Sarah is actually pronounced “suh-RAH”). The bit would make reappearances throughout the show, both in ending the same sketch different ways and as references in different sketches to the character’s name.

Other standout skits included a reimagining of “Oedipus Rex” where one family proved unable to recognize true emotional suffering when facing the pain of an ice cream headache. Similar to Boris’ Kitchen, The 5th Humour played relevant songs for the audience while the team set up the props for new sketches. The crown jewel of The 5th Humour’s routine was a marriage proposal conducted while the wife was in the bathroom. The 5th Humour’s wit was consistently spot-on and often rather dry.

While The 5th Humour provided sketches that took an ordinary concept to various degrees of “too far,” Major: Undecided chose to completely disregard conventional limits of ridiculousness. Their segment opened with a couple shaking hands, then vigorously making out for what felt like an eternity. Another member of the troupe then called time and others appeared holding scorecards. Another skit was simply “Tufts’ Major: Undecided Presents: A Fish Out Of Water,” in which a member of the troupe flopped around on stage and passed through the seven stages of grief in roughly 20 seconds.

Most of Major: Undecided’s sketches were on the shorter side, likely to capitalize on each sketch’s ludicrousness. Those of a longer length were typically more subdued, such as during the equestrian competition that rapidly degenerated into a series of remarks on the horse’s penis. Absent from Major: Undecided’s between-sketch transitions were the audio clips that Boris’ Kitchen and The 5th Humour used to prevent audience fatigue. However, given that the sketches were both short and absurd, this was likely done so that the audience would not have time to properly process each skit, adding to the oddness of each. Major: Undecided clearly went the absurdist route with their comedy, making for a riotous if occasionally incomprehensible set.

Following Tufts’ troupe was a brief intermission, leading up to Boris’ performance. The show opened with a sketch about an average instance of sexual tension that culminated with a high five, instead of making out.

Boris’ Kitchen continued their established style of swinging between subtle twists on everyday life and completely ludicrous situations. A sketch about Facebook “likes” devolved into Jason Kasman’s ’16 agonizing decision about whether a photo of a sickly child was a scam, and Yoni Bronstein’s ’13 surprisingly tearful breakup with a crab. A recurring sketch featured Bronstein with a Nietzsche mustache performing various tasks as a nihilist would. Boris’ Kitchen combined the best aspects of both guest troupes, with pointed humor and completely absurd sketches.

Boris’ Kitchen was also the only group during the evening that required technical direction: several sketches were combined into videos reminiscent of TV programs. Featuring an erectile dysfunction ad and a mock History Channel production of “F*ck History” (both by Ben Setel ’13), the video portion culminated with Michael Frederikse ’15 as “Captain DUI” in a very drunken attempt at being a superhero. These sketches felt more scripted than those performed on stage, but allowed for more directorial freedom from Setel and Bronstein, and of course more strangeness.

The 13th Annual Sketch Comedy Festival was worth attending to see three wonderfully strange groups and to support both Boris’ Kitchen and the American Cancer Society. Boris’ Kitchen outdid themselves with the quality of their own sketches and their choice of guests, making for a lovely and fun-filled evening.