As Valentine’s Day approaches, Columbia celebrates Love in all its shapes and forms. Today, Bwog’s bawdy buffoonery expert Hannah Goldstein reports on Chowdah’s tribute to the all-too-familiar awkward sexual side of Cupid’s holiday in the comedy club’s latest show, Sextravaganza.
At least among college students, sex humor never really gets old. (If you don’t agree, try turning to the numerous snow penises on campus after yesterday’s storm.) As far as comedy goes, sex just happens to make for a pretty dependable source of laughs. It should come as no surprise, then, that the most successful sketches at Chowdah’s Valentine’s Day Sextravaganza all revolved around hypersexual setups and easy one-liners: there were strangers at a bar exchanging embarrassingly bad pickup lines, dogs mating in bizarre tantric positions, and couples engaging in a very literal sort of role play. “There’s a lot of sex,” said Lily Feinn, BC ’10, who happened to play some of the funnier parts in these sketches. “[In the show,] I have sex with a lot of people.”
Chowdah was, to be sure, very excited to be playing on sex rather than something more tame. “We started toning down the sex and vulgarity of [our shows],” said Rami Levi, CC ’12, in regard to the show’s theme, “but because it’s Valentine’s Day, we toned it up again.” The sex was both shown (er, pantomimed) between cast members or just discussed in a semi-profane way. Either way, the jokes were so easy that they read more cheesy than raunchy. Yet it was at their cheesiest that they were the most entertaining. Some of the funnier bits were the requisite Columbia inside jokes: in one sketch, the cast members played on the mono epidemic (with a clubcest twist) while in another, aptly entitled “50 First Dates,” the character of “Girl” quipped, “I can show you why they call my love muffin Pinnacle [. . .] because it’s been closed by the Department of Public Health.” If there was any comic failure, it was usually because a cast member was, to mix metaphors, over-milking the cheese. This might translate to the funny “sexy teaching assistant” voguing excessively in the background or the unfortunate recurring character of Gary the Good Times Ghoul speaking in a voice that was too ridiculous to be funny.
For the most part, the show was nothing more than a fun romp in the world of easy sex jokes. The sketches were well-written and executed with enthusiasm, but rarely with much credibility. The exception was the evening’s highlight, a sketch called “Bar Mitzvah Luv.” Three boys, including bar mitzvah boy himself, stood in a corner and wallowed in sexual frustration as their female classmates, including the pitiful character of Headgear Hannah, strolled around the dance floor. The sketch evoked a sweet prepubscent awkwardness, and, save for any of the former middle-school queen bees in the audience, it was easiest at this moment to connect with what was going on onstage. Though most of the evening’s jokes may have been beyond the scope of a middle schooler, this quintessentially middle-school sexual tension – cringe-inducing yet somehow endearing at the same time – pervaded all the sketches. And even though the audience was filled with college students, last night’s show was all about bringing out the awkward, immature, sex-obsessed middle-schooler in all of us.