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Simmering Rivalry

Sketchprov competitors bring more compelling performances in festival's second night.

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

Sketchprov 2010 brought at least two hours of good comedy on its second round Monday, Sept. 20, with the sketch groups “Inside Joke Films” and “Tiniest Kids in Europe” and the improv groups “Swords” and “Bad Luck Rising.” These four groups were a breath of fresh air for Sketchprov, a challenging night for comedic performers, and a huge problem for voting judges and audience members. What is one to do when confronted with such talent? Answer: just bear down and fill out that ballot. There is no wrong way to vote when the pickings are as ripe as these. 

Jonathan Braylock and Ramy Youssef composed “Inside Joke Films.” Braylock and Youssef, two very young-looking guys with brilliant physical comedic skills, were perfectly in sync throughout the entire show. In one of their first skits, they played two brothers getting ready for school. With background music keeping them on time, Braylock and Youssef groomed themselves and each other. They take too long and end up in detention for being late to school.  Braylock and Youssef took a huge risk in this detention skit and put their physical comedic skills to the test by staying almost completely silent while pretending to do drugs.

“Inside Joke Films” was followed by “Tiniest Kids in Europe,” a gem of a sketch group.  Member Margo Brooke Pellmar brought much-needed estrogen to the evening, and was tragically hilarious as a doctor who unconsciously killed a patient because she was too busy exchanging imaginary flirtations with the patient’s son. She casually waves off the son’s shock and points out her own attributes. “I am single,” she tells him. “I’m a doctor.  And I have great stories.” Unimpressed, he only wants the answer to one question: “Did you kill my mom?”  Member Tim Eberle had his own doctor bit, and diagnosed a fellow team member with “love.”  “All we can do is wait six months until your balls fall off,” he tells his patient, then warning him that love would cause him to bore “the shit out of everyone around you.” Such a witty performance made comparing the two groups difficult, as each displayed proficiency in different areas of comedy. “Inside Joke Films” was more about physical comedy while “Tiniest Kids in Europe” brought on the funny dialogue. Still, the audience and judges made their decision, and the majority of the vote went to “Inside Joke Films.”

The improv groups “Swords” and “Bad Luck Rising” would follow. “Swords” performed shorter pieces, while “Bad Luck Rising” gravitated more towards long-form improv. “Bad Luck Rising” would not generate as much laughter, as their skits tended to drag, although they did have their moments. “Bad Luck Rising” asked the audience to prompt them with an unusual fear, which turned out to be a fear of dolls. Performers would waver between dolls and cavemen, the latter of which seemed to fare better. Still, they were no match for the high energy of “Swords” members Bradford Jordan and Lucas Kavner. Jordan and Kavner were prompted by the location of Mexico. They launched into a series of skits that mostly featured two gay football players from the University of Miami who hooked up while on spring break in Mexico and are now in different stages of coming out. At one point, they run into each other at a nail salon. “My face is on all your nails,” Jordan says to Kavner. “That’s wild.” They finished to enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Audiences were faced with great voting challenges on Monday night and for good reason: they had a full plate of talent to choose from. “Inside Joke Films” and “Swords” would emerge the victors, but “Tiniest Kids in Europe” and “Bad Luck Rising,” respectively, made them really work for it.

SketchProv continues Sept. 23 through 25 at The People’s Improv Theatre. Reviews of more nights to appear soon.




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