Looking for comedy that has nothing to do with making fun of Trump/Paul Ryan/politics? Look no further than Latenite’s Spring Anthology 2018. Senior Staffer Abby Rubel gives her thoughts on the production.
Latenite’s Spring Anthology is a night of sketch comedy. The shortest sketch is probably under a minute; none are longer than about 20 minutes. All are humorous (even the weaker plays have their moments), and all are written by students.
Like most student productions, it started late; but in all fairness, they warn you in the title. According to the “About Latenite” section of the program, this is because the debauchery that takes place has to wait “until after the watchful eyes of Prudence and Sensibility [have] taken their nightly repose.” (I suspect it’s so people have time to get sufficiently tipsy before the performance, but tomay-to, tomah-to.)
The production began with “Blow,” written by Henrietta Steventon (CC ’18) and directed by Hannah Kaplan (CC ’18). “Blow” set the tone for the night well: it was short, to the point, and funny. Hope Johnson, BC ’21, was particularly good as a young boy who wouldn’t look up from his gaming device. My one quibble with this play is that it was possible to see the punchline coming, a common issue throughout the night.
“Dial G For Goose” was next in the lineup, written and directed by Annie Surman (CC ’18) with an assist from Dylan Dameron, CC ’20. When a girl loses her Canada Goose jacket at a frat party, who is to blame? The detective (played by a delightful Avery Park, CC ’20) aims to find out by interrogating suspects like “The Vegan,” “The Girl Who Is Literally Always Cold,” and “The Trust Fund Kid.” “Dial G” played off Columbia stereotypes without being obvious or obnoxious about it, but the play was clearly inspired by this incident. It was also probably the most quotable sketch in the lineup, containing gems like “I’m more of an armchair vegan,” and “Why bring a Goose to a fraternity soiree?” Plus, the shitty dancing is not to be missed, especially given how accurately it parodies any EC party ever.
“Escaped Monkey” (written by Allie Stearns, CC ’18 and directed by Catherina Gioino, CC ’19) was one of the night’s shortest sketches, but no less funny for that. It had the most surprising ending of the night, as well as the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) costumes: sticky notes used to identify two of the characters, and ridiculously short shorts—the kind you see in 60s cop dramas and wonder how people ever thought it was sexy.
“The Son” closes out the first half of the show. This sketch was my favorite of the night. Although it was one of the longer ones, it. Kept. Being. Funny. Written and directed by Noah Stein, CC ’19, the sketch follows a son (Sam Henick, CC ’18) and his parents (AJ Mcdougall, CC ’21, and Hugo Wehe, CC ’19) as the doctor gives them worse and worse news. The son starts off as a “fucking nerd” and only degenerates from there. All the actors were phenomenally funny, and except one moment when Wehe lost it and covered up by crying, totally straightfaced.
After a 15 minute intermission, the production picked back up with “Lady Macbeth,” which would have been shriekingly hilarious had the staging not somewhat ruined the punchline. But Devin Hammond (BC ’20) saved the sketch with her total commitment to the role of Lady Macbeth.
“Daddy,” written and directed by Steventon, was by far the most uncomfortable play of the night, although the audience reactions were mixed. It started with a fairly intense, if exaggerated makeout scene and only got more sexual. And while some of the show’s trigger warnings were clearly overcautious (the gun noises in “Escaped Monkey” are made by the actors and sound more like bad techno music than anything else), this sketch’s warnings about incestuous overtones are not to be taken lightly. There were certainly funny moments, provided mostly by “Daddy” himself, played by Nathaniel Jameson, CC ’18. The way he bulges his eyes is not to be missed. But overall, I found the sketch cringey rather than hilarious, especially since “The Son” was fresh in my mind.
“Hey, Siri?” the night’s penultimate sketch, was, frankly, unremarkable. Written by Stearns and directed by Britt Berke, BC ’18, it wonders what would happen if Siri were actually all-knowing and seeking revenge for all the dumb questions she’s asked. I found the premise amusing, but it didn’t quite live up to its potential.
“Mandie, The Town Apothecary With a Secret” (written and directed by Matt Malone, CC ’18) was the night’s final sketch. Like many of the second-half sketches, it was good, but not great. Chloe Worthington, BC ’18, was a standout as the town harlot—she’s got some great butter churn/stripper moves. She and some particularly amusing puns provided the funniest moments of the sketch. But it wasn’t a strong end to what had been, overall, a fantastic night.
Luckily, the Latenite cast and crew had an ending of their own. After the actors had taken their bows, “Mamma Mia” came blasting from the sound system and an impromptu dance party commenced. Although I didn’t participate (my dance moves are about as bad as the ones caricatured by “Dial G For Goose”), it was uplifting. Columbia is a stressful place to be, but a dance party after a night of comedy was a reprieve.
Latenite Spring Anthology 2018 will be performed tonight at 11:00 pm and tomorrow at 8:00 and 11:00 pm, but tickets are going fast! Tonight’s showing and the 8:00 pm showing tomorrow are already sold out. But tickets are free (and thus more easily expendable), so try getting on the waitlist if you’re interested in either of those two times.