How do you make an auditorium full of Indiana Wesleyan University students laugh? Affectionately bash our most beloved neighbor, Taylor University. Seriously, do it a lot. They will laugh every time; it never gets old.
Friday Night Live, the student-run comedy show on campus, has this golden rule of IWU humor down to a science. True to what is quickly becoming an FNL tradition, Taylor was made fun of repeatedly, and it was really funny.
As a sophomore with only two other FNLs under my belt, I can say this comedy show has never failed to provide me a delightful night of entertainment. As a matter of fact, I find myself desperately gasping for breath quite often. This semester was no exception.
This semester’s FNL was a switch from the past ones I have experienced. This year, the videos were generally not as funny as in the past, and the skits were considerably better.
I used to space out through a lot of the skits, just waiting for that moment when the videos were played. Instant classics like “I Got Points” and “Things Not to Say at an Interview” (another example of effective Taylor bashing) are the ones that really stand out in my mind from past shows. The only one that really met the standards of videos in the past was “The Purity of the Rings,” which had this “Lord of the Rings” fan practically rolling on the ground with laughter.
The skits really raised the bar this year. In contrast to past shows where the skits were either to die for or incredibly awkward for everyone involved, the skits this semester were consistently amusing. This means fewer amazing ones, but fewer really bad ones.
The change in FNL cast may account for less ridiculously hilarious moments. The classic Facebook and Twitter segments were lost along with their protagonist, Kyle Davidson (alumnus ‘14), this semester.
In past years, Davidson would read what were already hilarious Facebook posts in ridiculous voices. The Twitter segment was similar to this, except Davidson would sing the posts to the audience while playing a quirky tune on the piano. I spoke to more than one veteran FNL attendee who seemed to be mourning the loss of what was once the highlight of the night.
The beauty of being in college is, however, that as old talent graduates, new talent comes in. Stephanie Charles (fr) particularly stood out.
As a freshman, Charles was not center stage very often, but I can’t think of a single time when she was up there that I and those around me were not laughing. Of all of these, the one that stands out the most is her being dragged off the stage kicking and screaming as Miss New Jersey in the Miss America skit.
Paul Hooker (sr) and Josh Davis (sr) were excellent hosts to the show. Hooker especially stood out in his role as a man giving birth to a football, in a painfully awkward yet somehow amusing skit “Chi Bear Prep.”
The first skit of the night, “Faculty Jeopardy,” was definitely one of my favorites, taking advantage of the comedic opportunities LearningStudio has offered. Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo, Dr. Wilbur Williams and Dr. Chris Bounds were played to perfection by Derek Anthes (so), Nic Kursions (fr) and Hooker, setting the mood for the entire night.
The traditional FNL news segment fell a little flat this year compared to past years. Though there were a few good moments, like a reference to the fountain’s grave and Yik Yak, much of the “news” was met with awkward grumbling from the crowd.
There were several weaker moments throughout the night (though a lot less then I had ever seen before). The only skit that really fell under par was Pi day. By the end, there was a collective “awwww” of pity from the audience, instead of the desired roars of laughter. It almost felt mean to laugh at the ending “punch line,” which made me feel sorry for the person at whose expense I was supposed to laugh.
A definite improvement from past years was the opening dance of the FNL crew. What was once a clumsy yet somewhat amusing dance number is now a hilarious yet well-thought-out and masterfully delivered choreography.
The house band, which is always one of my favorite parts of the FNL experience, was stellar. I especially enjoyed the vocals this year. It is rare to come across a show that can make the time in between skits almost as enjoyable as the main attraction of the night, but FNL managed to do just that.
As usual, FNL was worth every penny of the three dollars out of my broke college student pockets and continues to be one of the things I look forward to the most every semester.