Of three groups seen during
this year’s Sketchfest NYC, the strongest show came from The Animal Club on June
9, with the highlight of a truly classic video sketch about a champion bunter in
an alternate history of baseball in the 1920s.
The Animal Club had the
most consistently inventive and unique material, all played to a tee, and they
balanced the mix of live sketches with video material, without relying too
heavily on the video pieces. The group used the video bits only where it was
necessary to get the idea across, as in the baseball sketch.
Another highlight of The
Animal Club’s show did involve photos, but just sparingly, as a characterization
of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin laments that people are more familiar with
Star Trek captains than him.
Free Love Forum, a group
with talent likely equal to that of The Animal Club, undermined themselves a
little with overuse of video in their Sketchfest show on June 8. A recurring
video of people being forced to dance and look happy doing so wore thin pretty
fast, as did a recurring video bit on wordplay.
The overuse of video became
particularly evident in the group’s take on the Birthright Israel program that
funds young adults’ first visits to the country -- a spoof called the Gay
Birthright Cruise about giving gay people the opportunity to have their first
“fabulous” cruise experience. The sketch relied too much on video and photos,
with just one group member narrating and speaking. This could have gotten across
with a lot more energy had the other group members performed in lieu of the
Lastly, the all-female
sketch group Meat, which performed in Sketchfest on June 10, had a couple
sketches that worked, but far too much material that was unintelligible, except
if it were perhaps inside jokes within the group or its most devoted fans.
Meat’s most inspired bit was its opener, in which a woman dies in a car crash,
arrives at the pearly gates and finds that St. Peter is just as much of a
chauvinist pig as anyone on earth.