Over 175 students flocked to MacMillan Hall Friday for the “Big Comedy Feast” — a show hosted by comedy groups and publications across campus. Starla and Sons, Out of Bounds Sketch Comedy, IMPROVidence, Brown/RISD Stand Up Comics, The Rib and The Brown Noser performed with satirical flair to introduce the greater community to Brown’s comedy scene.
A night of comedy
The night began with a sketch about the royal families of The Brown Noser and The Rib fighting over the forbidden love of two of their members, followed by a quick poem from Lucy Lebowitz ’24, one of The Rib’s members.
“What do I need? A DM from Adam Levine? A meet-cute on the Main Green?” Lebowitz said, referencing recent alleged affairs of Maroon 5's lead singer.
Longform improv group Starla then came onstage to perform a scene from a made-up 1986 film called “Cheer Up Charlie.” The scene began with an unhappy young boy named Charlie taking a pottery class for the first time and quickly turned into a comedic segment featuring sexual innuendos from a talking mound of clay.
Shortly thereafter, members of The Brown Noser briefly introduced their publication, jokingly adding that they run “15 hospitals across the Northeast” and own a “small nuclear reactor.”
IMPROVidence performed next. After taking a word from the audience, the group burst into improv scenes ranging from a woman swimming in a sewer to a longform scene involving two Etsy shop owners fighting the fiancee of their shared romantic interest in outer space. Next, a member of Brown/RISD Stand Up rattled off anecdotes about sea shanties, car ads and his first-year year roommate who was on the football team.
Out of Bounds Sketch Comedy closed with a skit about a grief therapy session where stories of just-passed loved ones sounded suspiciously like childhood cartoons. The group then poked fun at the children’s show “Blue's Clues” and 2013-era Jennifer Lawrence.
Preparing for the show
Owen Ryan ’23, a member of Starla, said this year’s “Big Comedy Feast” is not the first time comedy groups on campus have come together to host, produce and perform a joint showcase.
“Last year, Henry Block ’22.5 (a member of IMPROVidence) and I wanted to do a joint show between IMPROVidence and Starla,” Ryan said. This idea led to the creation and execution of the first large joint showcase: “The Big Comedy Blowout Sale.”
This year, Una Lomax-Emrick ’23, a member of IMPROVidence, was “the driving force,” Ryan said. “They wanted to do it again, so they texted me about it.” The name, the “Big Comedy Feast,” was the result of creative brainstorming.
“Una and I were just kind of throwing names around via Facetime and … we just kinda rolled with the things that came into our brains. There was really not a lot of inspo behind it,” said Dana Herrnstadt ’24, a member of IMPROVidence. “It was kinda weird, so we liked it, and then everyone else liked it too.”
“We all liked it immediately,” said Out of Bounds member Maddie Groff ’23. “I had friends who graduated last year who were in the comedy groups who were like, … ‘Who made this up? It's so funny.’"
After the show
For many organizers and audience members, the show was a success.
“We don’t often get a chance to work all together,” said Annie Cimack ’23, co-editor-in-chief of The Brown Noser. “We have a good time and we like supporting other groups. It’s just good for the overall comedy scene at Brown.”
“This is my first year actually being in a comedy festival. I thought it went really well,” said Ari Cleveland ’25 of IMPROVidence. “I laughed my little heart out. It was just beautiful.”
“It was a really responsive audience,” Groff added. That is “always a good indicator that they’re having a good time, which means we’re having a good time, which means it’s a great environment” overall.
“I thought it was great. I love watching the audience's reactions,” said attendee Caroline Sassan ’24. “I would love to catch as many shows as I can.”
“I never went to the comedy events throughout last year, so I really wanted to go to this one,” said Juliana Morgado Brito ’24. “I’m not much of a comedy person, but there were some really funny moments there.”
Morgado said she enjoyed the improv groups in particular. “As a theater person, I’m really terrified of improvisation. It was really nice to see people doing improv, and doing improv well,” she said.
Morgado said she would “totally” go to future comedy events, especially if they are at the end of the semester. “Having a chill moment to laugh and be with the community (during finals) would be really nice,” she said.