Skidmore's national laugh fest
This weekend, Feb. 8-9, come see (and laugh at) the best in college comedy, plus a few hilarious, on-the-rise professional comics. It’s Skidmore’s 24th annual National College Comedy Festival. Right here in Saratoga Springs.
If you want to talk about the best in college football, you’ve got to start with the national champion University of Alabama. But if you want to talk college comedy, Skidmore College just might be the king, especially this coming weekend.
Laugh all you want, but the student-produced National College Comedy Festival, featured last year in The New York Times, was started at Skidmore in 1990 by David Miner ’91, Emmy Award-winning producer of the acclaimed "30 Rock." On Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater (JKB), the tradition continues as the College hosts its 24th annual National College Comedy Festival.
This year’s lineup includes newcomers Jimmy’s Traveling All Stars and Stroopwafel (both from Emerson College), 8th Floor Improv (Ohio State), and Fruit Paunch (Columbia University); groups from Yale, Brown, Cornell, Vassar, and NYU; and, of course, Skidmore’s very own Sketchies, Skidomedy, and Ad-Liberal Artists. The professional comics include James Adomian, a top-10 finalist on the most recent season of “Last Comic Standing”; The Templeton Philharmonic, a female Canadian sketch duo; and The Improvised Shakespeare Company. For the festival’s full lineup, schedule, and ticket information, see below.
The producers of ComFest 2013, seniors Kelsey Lawler,
Olivia Nielsen, and Grace Troxell.
Produced by Kelsey Lawler ’13, Olivia Nielsen ’13, and Grace Troxell ’13, the festival is a platform for Skidmore students looking to get hands-on event- and production-management experience as well as an incredible opportunity to perform comedy. If you add up the event organizers, Skidmore comedy group members, and the stage crew, at least 50 students are involved. And the shows always sell out.
“As for Skidomedy, you can expect a variety of material that allows our unique, odd, hilarious, and idiosyncratic traits to shine through,” says Jonny Duennebier ’13, Skidomedy president and a double major in English and music. “But the magic of the weekend is its sheer energy and camaraderie. It’s not competitive or tense; it’s more of a celebratory exuberance. Hands down, it’s the most fun weekend of the semester.”
Co-president of the Sketchies, Alex Kallner ’13, an English major, says audience members can “anticipate a few envelopes tastefully pushed, nudged, and roundhouse kicked from the Sketchies.” But mostly, he’s excited about the entire weekend. “ComFest is special because every new sketch that goes up is a wild card. None of these groups are pulling any punches; they're taking some of the biggest risks of their careers to date. Each year always raises the bar. Expect to be surprised, shocked, stupefied, and any other alliterated groupings of hyperbole you can think of.”
Festival and Ad Liberal Artists founder, Minor, still savors his humble Skidmore roots. Being on campus when the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater opened, for instance, “made me feel part of a new generation—like there were no boundaries,” he recalls. And pulling together the first-ever National College Comedy Festival was “truly remarkable,” he adds. “I realized then that producing, for me, was more satisfying than performing.”
Nielsen, president of the Ad Liberal Artists, may well follow in Minor’s footsteps. After graduation this spring, the theater and psychology double major plans to move to Chicago to pursue theater and comedy opportunities. For now, though, she totally focused on this weekend. Says Nielsen, “At ComFest, you can expect to experience a variety of comedic styles with an audience full of people who are ready to laugh. Overall, two very high-energy evenings!”
Friday, Feb. 8, 7 to 10 p.m., JKB Theater
- Emerson College — Jimmy’s Traveling All Stars
- Vassar College — Happily Ever Laughter
- Emerson College — Stroopwafel
- Skidmore College — Sketchies
- Yale University — The Purple Crayon
- Brown University — Out of Bounds
- Cornell University — Whistling Shrimp
- Skidmore College — Skidomedy
10 to 11:15 p.m.
- James Adomian
- The Templeton Philharmonic
Saturday, Feb. 9, 7 to 10 p.m., JKB Theater
- New York University — Hammerkatz
- Ohio State University — 8th Floor Improv
- Columbia University — Fruit Paunch
- Emerson College — This is Pathetic
- Tufts University — Major: Undecided
- Brown University — Starla and Sons
- Yale University —Red Hot Poker
- New York University — Danger Box
- Skidmore College — The Ad-Liberal Artists
10 to 11:15 p.m.
- The Improvised Shakespeare Company
ComFest tickets are available at the Case Center Information Desk (and at the *door):
- Students: $15 for weekend pass, $3 per night for college shows, $5 per night for professional shows.
- General public: $20 for weekend pass, $5 per night for college shows, $7 per night for professional shows.
*Shows may be sold out.