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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Boris’ Kitchen showcases strong talent in first show of the year

Published: October 16, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc., Featured

Last weekend, Boris’ Kitchen hosted its “Old Sh*t Show” in the SCC Multipurpose Room. As everyone crammed into the room, attempting to find space anywhere on the floor, the actors stumbled through the crowd to the stage. People were already giving huge rounds of applause to each member participating in the comedy sketch group.

The first sketch began unexpectedly, with the lights still on in the room. Director Ayelet Schrek ’17 kept trying to introduce the show, but other members of the group continuously found fault with the name, creating ridiculously overanalyzed views mocking Brandeis’ constant “social justice” mantra. The first comment that came up asserted that the name contained a slant of sexism, since “Boris,” the name of a man, is patriarchal and therefore not representative of the woman population.

They came up with names from Barbara’s Laboratory to Daycare, but the troupe finally agreed on Boris’ Kitchen and the show began. The “Old Sh*t Show” is meant to highlight the new members of the comedy troupe, as it is their first show of the year. This year, Boris’ Kitchen had its work cut out for them, as the troupe accepted seven new faces.

In one sketch, new member Sarah Duffet ’17 acted out a different version of the role of Southern TV advice spokesperson, “Walter Reeves,” answering questions and sexually expressing the correct ways in which to deal with problems like gardening and other ridiculous stereotypical Southern “issues.” But when she got a call about a “motherf*cking narc,” Duffet answered adequately without changing her tone at all: “Bust a cap in their ass and run!” Duffet’s southern drawl was hilarious and had the entire room laughing.

While the focus of the show was on the new members, many of the veterans still managed to shine with their performances. In another sketch, the whole group sat together in what at first seems like a fancy, posh wine-tasting event. As a waiter passed around drinks, each upper-class, “fancy” person in the room sampled their taste of music coupled with the wine. The most surprising and hilarious turn was when the members started to become completely engrossed in the rap music that was played.

In their British accents, they began to describe the music using rap slang, explaining the wine tastes and music as “classy as dang weed.” The most ironic part was toward the end of the scene, when one of the members of the group started playing opera music. The group began to freak out, repulsed by the terrible sounds, screaming out in disgust and getting the waiter, Dennis Hermida ’16, to drag the opera aficionado out of the club. Andrew Agress ’17 drew cheers as he howled over the disgrace of the opera music, while Hermida kept a straight face as his servant, as if these sort of episodes happened all of the time.

Perhaps the funniest sketch that contained the most ridiculous humor made fun of the extreme dramatics of Spanish telenovelas. In the beginning of the show, Yaznil Baez ’16 began talking to her mother, yelling every word out in slow syllables and exaggerated gestures: “Hola … Mama!” Baez screeched and threw her hair around before unleashing the ultimate cliche: “Estoy … Embarazada! … Y no se quien es el padre!” Baez managed to take it even a step further, yelling into the audience and staring into people’s eyes.

It’s the unexpected, surreal nature of the skits that really brings out the comedic effect. The disorganized placement of everyone in each scene exaggerates the displaced spontaneity of the scenes. Or maybe it’s the chaotic nature of the show that drives the humor and vice versa. Either way, Boris’ Kitchen successfully created a comedic range of wordplay, irony and spoofs.

This aspect, usually overlooked, is what also sets up the scene to develop farce, sarcasm, parody and punchlines. With the characters’ hesitation, obvious misunderstandings (whether it be of words or situations or both) and expressive, dramatic gestures and motions, we get a sense of each character’s personalities, their clever, quick wits and the fun, crazy sides of them.

Overall, Boris’ Kitchen’s first show of the semester was hilariously random. The fact that there were so many people supporting the show really made for a warm and energetic atmosphere that livened up the mood, a great transition to begin the weekend on a good note.

With such a huge audience at this show, there will surely be a crowd as large or even larger at Boris’ Kitchen’s next show, which will take place in early December.