Sketchfest NYC – which wrapped up its sixth annual festival last night, after three straight days of sketch comedy at the UCB Theatre – continues to showcase the wide variety of comedy and performance styles that makes sketch comedy such a vibrant and vital art. We were there for every single blackout, costume change, and musical cue at Sketchfest NYC 2010. Read about the entire weekend, below (and read more about the first night of the festival here):
Two of the annual highlights of the festival, Elephant Larry and Pangea 3000, each combine childlike wonder — or, more accurately, the awkward feelings of 13-year-old kids — with visions of an alternate reality in their sharply-written and energetically performed sketches. The boys of Pangea 3000 remind you of somebody’s goofy younger brothers as they played baseball in the future, shouted about whispering, conjugated verbs, won a fart noise spelling bee, and didn’t forget to thank anyone (especially Jessica Hess). Elephant Larry, meanwhile, would be our troublemaking yet deceptively wise older cousins, pointing out the ridiculousness in things we take for granted such as how to wear clothes, why “that’s not what your mom said last night,” if someone could be attracted to a circle, and how relish is really made.
From left: Murderfist's Henry Zebrowski and John Moreno help Rue Brutalia (Jason Kalter and Jon Pack) chase pedophiles.
In other Sketchfest NYC shows, Team Submarine was frustrated by affirmative action for Klingons, but found art in a student’s insulting drawings. Last Call Cleveland brilliantly deconstructed cliche stand-up routines at the “Giggle Boner” comedy club, took a seizure break, then serenaded us with “The One-Semester-of-Spanish Spanish Love Song.” Rue Brutalia tried and failed to advertise orange juice from Betsy Ross Farms, taught valuable self-defense lessons, and confronted a child molester. Free Love Forum introduced us to the Bilk brothers and regretted ever saying “See you, wouldn’t want to be you.” Long Pork got cartoonishly violent, performed magic, and shocked a gentleman repeatedly with a dog collar in the name of improv. Read the rest of this entry »
The ECNY Awards
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Jon Friedman began when he took the stage in front of a standing room-only crowd at Comix comedy club to host the sixth annual ECNY Awards last night. “The way to get a sold-out show is to nominate everyone you know for an award.”
The ECNY Awards (which used to stand for “Emerging Comics of New York,” but now means nothing — or, as Friedman suggested: “Elephants Can Not Yawn. But I googled it, and they totally can.”) were celebrated March 8 at Comix, honoring the best, funniest, and most creative performers, shows, and producers working in comedy in New York City. Nominees and winners were determined by a combination of public online voting and votes from a small group of industry professionals.
“What I enjoy most about hosting the ECNY Awards,” Friedman told me before the show, “is the energy and enthusiasm from the audience. The biggest challenge and drawback that I find is that there actually has to be winners and losers. It’s weird to chose a winner in comedy. It’s fun, and we work on it for three quarters of the year, and it all culminates in one night. That’s exciting. It’s a higher-stakes night than a lot of our usual backroom performances. It feels special.” Friedman hosted for the third year in a row, and past ECNY Award winners presented this year’s awards.
Kumail Nanjiani, last year’s winner for “Best Male Stand-up Comedian” and “Best One-Person Show,” put the awards in perspective: “Last year, I couldn’t be here because I was in L.A. to audition for a part I didn’t get,” Nanjiani explained. “This year, I’m here, but I was in L.A. two weeks ago, to audition for a part I didn’t get. So things have just been happening much faster in my career ever since I won an ECNY Award.” Read the rest of this entry »
Just hours before the fifth annual Sketchfest NYC opens tonight at the UCB Theatre in NYC, Blog Stage spoke with some of the members of Murderfist, an 11-person sketch comedy group performing tonight as part of the festival. The group describes itself as “a journey to the extreme horizon of your mind-ocean. Winston-Salems, a couple of old chubbies, a horse with a banana in it’s mouth, a man dressed up like a doctor, some Peppercorn schnapps and Monster Mash playing on repeat, Murderfist is going to get loud and get weird and this show may just help the pain of being alive.”
Like The Money Kids (read yesterday’s Blog Stage Q&A with the comedy duo here), Murderfist was accepted into the three-day sketch comedy festival after wowing producers at a live audition in February. (Back Stage posted the casting notice for auditions. Did any Back Stage readers try out?)
We were too afraid to talk to all 11 of the funny people of Murderfist at once, but Henry Zabrowski, Holden McNeely, Ed Larson, and Tim Dean took the time to talk about their audition, creating sketch comedy, and getting “Late and Dirty.” Dean says that everyone in the group can call themselves a writer-director-performer, but McNeely also calls himself the town drunk.
Read the full Q&A: Read the rest of this entry »