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The Beautiful Chaos of The National College Comedy Festival

posted on February 15th, 2017 by Rachel Karp

By Rachel Karp

Every year, since 1990, comedians have flocked to Skidmore from all over the country for the National College Comedy Festival, or “ComFest” for short. Despite icy roads and far too much snow, the college comedians arrived last Friday afternoon for what was sure to be a memorable weekend. Sleeping bags and an eclectic variety of props in hand, they were ready to camp out on living room floors and make the trek across Skidmore’s snow-covered campus to the JKB—all in the name of comedy.

Cornell University's "The Whistling Shrimp" perform

Cornell University’s “The Whistling Shrimp” Photo: Dante Haughton

Friday night, at 7 pm, the festivities began with Cornell University’s improv troupe, The Whistling Shrimp. Performances by Emerson College’s Chocolate Cake City, Skidmore’s very own The Sketchies, Wesleyan University’s Lunchbox, Sarah Lawrence’s Feral Christine, and Skidmore’s Awkward Kids Talking followed. Saturday night’s college groups included Loyola’s 45 Kings, NYU’s Hammerkatz, Yale’s The Purple Crayon, Skidmore’s Skidomedy, Cornell’s The Skits, NYU’s Dangerbox, Tufts’ The Institute, and Skidmore’s The Ad-Libs. In addition to the mix of improv and sketch comedy, each group’s set displayed their own, distinct style. NYU’s Hammerkatz performed a sketch set in a recording studio, in which two performers sang a song that consisted of a monotone chorus of “dance, dance, party, party,” in vaguely Scandinavian-sounding accents, and a smattering of dark allusions to an odd man lurking in the shadows. In Wesleyan’s set, performers ran onstage clad in adult-diapers and t-shirts and threw Sargento cheese into the crowd at the end of every sketch. Audience members scrambled to catch a package of cheese, laughing in confusion and excitement. Coincidentally, Sargento cheese was recalled by the manufacturer the next day, so if you caught a bag, you might not want to eat it.

Sarah Lawrence College's "Feral Christine" Perform

Sarah Lawrence College’s “Feral Christine” Photo: Dante Haughton

Following the student shows were the much-anticipated professional shows. Denver-based comedian Troy Walker (Comedy Works, The Late Late Show) opened Friday’s show with a sharp and entertaining stand-up routine. Aparna Nancherla (Inside Amy Schumer, Late Night With Seth Myeres), as her bio states, “is a comedian of the stand-up variety, but can often be seen sitting.” Her quiet, honest disposition, paired with her perfect comedic timing had the crowd laughing hysterically. Saturday night’s professional show opened with comedy duo Nick and Gabe and their show titled “Nick and Gabe: American Champions!” Their fast-paced set was brimming with aptly timed political humor, brightly projected music-videos, and audience participation. Saturday’s headliner, Improvised Shakespeare Co., then, as their name suggests, improvised an entire, Elizabethan-style Shakespeare play. The production was based completely on an audience-generated title, “The Merchant of Adderall.” Their brilliant performance was the ideal way to close out the weekend.


To get a taste of the beautiful chaos that was ComFest weekend, check out this video montage by our very own JKB media team:




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