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Orgo Night: Our Roundup

The band and the crowd.

Orgo Night began as a usual night in Butler: as a mass of people intently studying in 209. Nearly all desks were full as the stress of exams bubbled in everyone’s heads. As the crowds started to walk in, three different looks popped on people’s faces. Some looked up from their books, faces lit with the knowledge and anticipation of the exciting school tradition that was to come. Others looked up confused at the crowd, unaware of what was about to happen. An older-looking man asked, “How long does Orgo Night usually last? Can I study in here?” The reply was, “you’re in the wrong place.” And the third look was a look of confusion and fascination about the large number of people who were gathering around holding signs.

Bwog was getting tips about an upcoming protest against the flyer that had sparked so much controversy earlier in the day. When Bwog asked one of protestors their opinion, they replied that they were unhappy with the advertising for this event and would silently protest with posters during the band’s event.

As the crowd began to gather, another student joked, “This is a microcosm of the Columbia community. 5% of the people are here protesting, 5% are just laughing at them, and the other 90% are super stressed out and studying.” Soon, all the people studying left and the tabletops were occupied by the audience and protesters.

The band was undeterred by the controversy. They boomed into the room wearing Columbia blue and wielding their instruments, playing “Roar, Lion, Roar” as most of the room sang along. “Ladies and gentlemen and organic chemistry students,” they opened, “back despite the thing that happened, it’s the most apologetic band in the world, the Columbia University Marching Campus Controversies!” The room roared with laughter; it was clear that the band wasn’t going to back down despite everything.

Indeed they didn’t. Joke topics included controversial subjects such as Hurricane Sandy, the Gaza Strip, and the Aurora shooting. The crowd’s reaction to these ranged from hysterical laughter to hysterical I’m-really-not-sure-if-that-was-appropriate-so-I’ll-react-by-going-OOOOOOOOH’s. The band also ragged on campus issues like the package center, Columbia Compliments, and Bwog’s redesign.

Between these jokes, the band graced us with their music, which included classics like “Fuck You,” “Dynamite,” “I’ll Make a Man out of You,” and the National Anthem of Somalia, which was mashed with the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean. At one point, they threw a mass of expired condoms at the audience, to “relieve stress.” The condoms returned multiple times in inflated form.

The protesters stood back throughout the protest with tape over their mouths. They raised their signs whenever they took offense at a joke was made. The first time this happened, the crowd responded with loud booing. A protester also popped a condom balloon, which prompted some quiet booing from the audience. Otherwise, the protest hardly interfered with the show. It was even the target of a few of the band’s jokes.

The infamous joke goes, “How many Columbia students does it take to change a lightbulb? 76: one to change the lightbulb, 25 to protest the lightbulb’s right not to change, and 50 to hold a counter-protest.” It could, though, go just as well as “How many Columbia does it take to hold Orgo Night? 270: 20 to play music and tell potentially offensive jokes, 50 to protest the offensiveness of the jokes, and 200 to watch everything.”

In short, Orgo Night was more “Columbia” than ever: aside from the music and snarky jokes and crowds, there was also the spirit of protest that has become so connected to our university.

Some of the photos that didn’t make it to last night’s coverage below:

Spec made a good highlight reel:

And you can find the full script on the band’s blog.

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  • rawr says:

    @rawr they hardly talked about the Barnard plimpton conversion scandal and instead made the EC lounge the crux of their housing jokes…#no-one-cares-about-barnard-politics. #if-this-happened-at-columbia-people-would-have-a-fit.
    please consider the columbia sphere at large and the failure of not only Columbia but Barnard’s administration as well.
    (and their fallacious advertising/refusal to adhere to their own policies.)

    1. swirlgirl says:

      @swirlgirl this is just one of many failures to consider the Columbia community at large.

      the Pinkberry flavor conversion scandal (that gingerbread flavor is simply disgusting!) was completely disregarded as well.


    2. anon says:

      @anon Um…The Barnard housing thing happened over the summer…The EC thing is still happening now…It’s funnier? Also, jokes are funnier when they’re about something that most people know about? Not a whole lot of jokes about my Stats professor being boring…

    3. But... says:

      @But... They don’t even go here!

  • Notable that says:

    @Notable that They also raised their posters at completely inoffensive jokes….

    1. the best part says:

      @the best part was when they held the posters up whenever the band was talking about Palestine, then took them down whenever they were making fun of Israel. classic. Either that or the kid who took off his tape halfway through and started laughing despite himself.

  • lmao at that guy says:

    @lmao at that guy who licks his lips in the spec video after the eating club joke

  • First-Year says:

    @First-Year This is what they protested?

    …Are you fucking kidding me?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Now you know what it means to go to Columbia

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I’m offended.

  • Sherry J. Wolf says:

    @Sherry J. Wolf I will never stop being offended, anti-queer heteronormative sexist misogynists! I demand academic punishment. Like now.

  • bah! says:

    @bah! “Enzymes catalyze reactions in the human body. Our fliers catalyze overreactions in the administrative body.”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous cumb is the moral epicenter of columbia. orgo was

    1. hilarious
    2. not offensive (enough): they distributed the diss pretty equitably to everyone, and even gave the q-house a brotherly shout out.

  • I second Anonymous says:

    @I second Anonymous I am also offended.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I just don’t understand why, of all the manifest injustices in this world, some people’s first priority was to protest a satirical poster.

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