Posted on 23 February 2014.
For years comedy show Friday Night Live has captured the little black hearts of the Indiana Wesleyan University student body. While this fact is not to be taken literally, a night outfitted with puns cultivated a unique evening filled with comedic bliss.
A rush of guilt swept through my body as I sat amidst the artificial fog and smooth crooning of House Band vocalist Nick Anderson. It’s not very often students get to enjoy comedic performances and sexy jazz in the Chapel Auditorium, so to battle my conscience, I reverted to the ol’ Wesleyan motto, “What Would John Wesley Do,” (WWJWD).
If my Wesleyan knowledge serves me correct, Mr. Wesley probably would have stayed to giggle with his friends below the moonlit stained glass crucifix, just like me!
As the auditorium grew dark, eager whispers carried throughout the aisles as guests attempted to predict what was to come. It was in this time that the FNL crew performed a dazzling choreographed light show, intriguing the audience with humor, talent and the unexpected.
Speaking of unexpected, the FNL crew was gracious enough to address the elephant in the room by inviting the Taylor student (Paul Hooker (jr)) who tackled Wesley the Wildcat onto the stage. As a special treat Wesley blindsided the student by tackling him to the ground. The audience really enjoyed this, cheering and clapping as Wesley raised his hands in victory.
It’s safe to say I was a little disappointed this semester. Not that each skit didn’t earn a few giggles or two, but I was expecting more standout roles from Rich Costello (sr) and Kyle Davidson (sr). Davidson was masterful while performing his infamous Facebook poetry and Twitter song segments, yet smaller roles throughout the program restricted his comedic charisma.
While Costello made the most of his brief appearances in the “Full House” spoof and video shorts, a lead role in an act would have added to the special charm of the semesterly event.
However, Jon-Marc Ream’s (sr) return of Sassy Sam was wonderfully intriguing. This time around, Sam recruited a flamboyantly sassy crew to perform some overly charismatic moves in competition with bold basketball actress Ashley Gallaway (sr) and her squad. I couldn’t help but think of the prison yard cheerleaders in Adam Sandler’s “The Longest Yard” as each member of the Sassy Crew twitched and announced themselves proudly in colorfully lewd apparel.
I do applaud the writers this semester for their creativity and originality throughout each act. Perhaps one of the most memorable moments of the night came during “the proposal” skit.
Josh Larson (sr), Natalie Theriot (so) and Davidson acted as judges for an FNL proposal
tryout, poking fun at the IWU alum who proposed to his girlfriend during a show in 2013. The contestants in the act tried to prove to the judges that they were sound candidates to propose to their girlfriends.
One by one each of the three contestants performed their best interpretation of how they would propose. When the skit was concluding, non-cast member Daniel Martin (sr) rushed the stage from behind the curtain and asked if he could perform one last tryout. Gasps and anxious banter from the audience filled the auditorium as Theriot agreed to let him go. Martin proceeded to call his girlfriend (Jeanette Logan (sr)) from the seats to join him on stage and she quickly found her way to the front. Lights dimmed, camera phones flashed and Martin dropped down to one knee, seemingly professing his love.
No one was expecting what Martin did next; instead of proposing, Martin simply asked the girl to go on a date with him to Kokomo. She agreed and the couple quickly bolted off stage.
The entire audience was left in awe and disbelief. The FNL crew knew they had one chance to pull this off, and they succeeded.
The fake proposal certainly wasn’t the only highlight of the night. One of the most well-rounded skits performed was the FNL News segment. Brothers Grant (sr) and Graham McClanahan (so) continued their play on words from previous segments by poking fun at Canada and the Sochi Olympics. The breakthrough moment of their routine came when the brothers announced that a third candidate was involved in the SGA election. Grant proceeded to introduce two short videos, playfully mocking the current presidential candidates Tim Scurlock (jr) and Caleb Bowers (jr).
One clip portrayed Scurlock as a communist, plastering photos of Hitler and questioning
Scurlock’s use of #onebody #onevoice in his campaign. Bowers’ clip portrayed the presidential candidate as incompetent, twisting posts from his campaign page asking “What is SGA?” I loved this, and I think it puts a realistic perspective on how the student body actually feels about the upcoming election.
The Sojourn even made a cameo early on in the evening through the “Jackass” parody video Physical Pain Vol. 2. Throughout the video, the FNL cast attempts to do cheesy things to inflict physical pain, one attempt included physically reading The Sojourn. The audience, including myself, roared with laughter.
To further help FNL screenwriters for next semester, I thought it would be fun and creative to suggest recommendations for Physical Pain Vol. 3 from their recent archives.
“History of Women”: The predictably loud and obnoxious IWU classroom skit utilizing loudness and short shorts.
“Full House” Spoof: Tickle me Elmo emerges through actor McClanahan, utilizing loudness, cross dressing and broccoli.
“The HUB Exchange”: This skit was clever, utilizing the well-known IWU Biz establishment as the grounds of trading husbands and locking them in cages like pets.
Not every team has a perfect game, and the skits listed above would fit perfect in next year’s segment of Physical Pain.
A solid positive from the night included music video “I Got Points” which simply exuded the creativity of the writers and provided a solid reflection of the talent involved in the cast. Each semester the videos really aid in providing a great spin to the program, and this year was no exception.
Overall, this FNL was bittersweet. Perhaps producing a walk of fame to the Phillippe Performing Arts Center would do some justice in remembering the many seniors who have given their blood, sweat and tears to such an honored tradition at IWU. Grant Yoder (sr), Grant McClanahan (sr), Kari Jenkins (sr), Gallaway, Costello, Ream, Larson, and Davidson will sadly not return next fall.
This cast has provided so many smiles and memories, with each member bringing their unique individual styles to the stage. It’s depressing to see them go, but looking back at the legacy and the talented underclassman they’re leaving behind, I think there’s only room to improve.