Arts & Culture

The Rib hosts comedy event at Underground

Campus humor publication extends its expression of comedy beyond writing

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Comedians, both seasoned and novice, addressed an array of topics in their sets. The event was hosted by co-editors of The Rib, a humor publication written by women and people of other marginalized genders.

The Underground swelled with the laughter of a large crowd of students as comedians took to the stage Saturday evening.

The Rib, an on-campus humor publication that is exclusively run by women and people of marginalized genders, gathered comedy enthusiasts together on Feb. 23, packing the Underground with students eagerly anticipating the original sketches and stand-up sets that were to be performed by 11 student comedians. The event was MC’ed by Allie Arnold ’20 and Sarah Clapp ’19, co-editors of The Rib.

Nico Oré-Girón ’20, Zara Norman ’22 and Mira Ortegon ’20 shared vignettes regarding Valentine’s Day  and relationship mishaps. Elisheva Goldberg ’22 and Roxanne Barnes ’21 respectively confessed their love for the Bluno Bear and the film saga “Twilight.” Tessa Palisoc ’20, Dana Schneider ’20 and Eleanor Meshnick ’20 recounted stories about their family members, while Eliza MacNeal ’20 performed impersonations that elicited frequent chuckles from the crowd.

The performers hailed from a wide range of comedic backgrounds and experience levels. While some performers, like Alyssa McGillvery ’19, were seasoned veterans of the on-campus sketch comedy group Skorts, others like  Rib staff writer Gabby Bianco ’21 performed live for the first time. McGillverly performed a satirical set reflecting on her racial identity, and Bianco read a piece titled “My Life is a Mess Because my Lucky Bamboo Plant Died.”

“Since we’re a publication only, we wanted to emphasize that you can read an article you’ve already written, or do something that isn’t stand-up or sketch or those things. It could be very fluid in how you approach a performance, so definitely putting an emphasis on the many things you can come up and do here,” Clapp said.

The Rib’s decision to organize a comedy show was inspired by the success of last year’s event, “An Evening with Women in Comedy,” which was held in collaboration with Skorts. “Some professional comedy writers and professional comedy stand-up people came in and gave some pointers, gave some tips on how to write satire and they offered to workshop with us, and we performed what we’ve done,” Arnold said. While last year’s event was almost exclusively reserved for people who were part of The Rib or Skorts, this year’s show was intended to be more inclusive — “I was like, we should just open this up to everyone,” Arnold added.

The performers were cast through an open call hosted by The Rib. A week prior to the event,  Arnold hosted a workshop that taught performers some of the basics of stand-up. “Anyone who wants to be part of this can, and we’re going to prioritize people who have no experience at all,” Arnold said.

“It’s my first time coming to anything like this. It was a fun experience. People seemed very comfortable performing, and it was very interesting that for a lot of them it was their first time, but they seemed to have it down pat. A lot of the routines seemed well rehearsed,” said Rémy Poisson ’22, a Herald illustrator.

Established in the spring of 2011, The Rib aims to create “a space for women, people of other marginalized genders (and) people who are usually not heard in comedy to sort of get their start,” Arnold said. In addition to Arnold and Clapp, the publication is headed by a third Editor-in-Chief, Suzanne Antoniou ’20, and manned by a team of staff writers and contributing writers.

“Performance isn’t typically what we do, but since in comedy there (are) diverse avenues to explore, we wanted to incorporate that,” Clapp said. She further explained that The Rib wanted to have an event where people with little performance experience can feel comfortable on stage. “I think it’s really special that there’s a designated place for women and people of other marginalized genders to explore comedy and other creative things. I know I’ve gained a lot of confidence as a writer from it, and it’s been really cool to see it grow and do a lot of things as I’ve been on it,” she said.

This year, The Rib has moved away from a competitive application process and toward a more open, inclusive model. Arnold explained that now anyone who wants to write for The Rib can do so. “I’m very much (of) the attitude that’s like, you can write about whatever you want. I don’t care if it’s a personal essay or if it’s satire, or if it’s something very absurd like a ClickHole article, (or) a funny listicle (or something) parodying a BuzzFeed article. Anything that you think is funny I think you should just write it here, because where else are you going to do it?” Arnold said.

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