Arts, On Campus

Asinine Presents Seamless Improv Comedy in “Parentz Bop!”

Upbeat, feel-good music blasts through the speakers of Fulton 511. Rowdy groups of students, smaller groups of parents, and even a few professors fill the seats. Written in funky letters on the chalkboard at the front of the room is: “Asinine Presents: Parentz Bop!”

The improv comedy group started off its show with a video skit that got everybody in the laughing mood. It followed several, hilarious pairs of people that all sent in their audition tapes for The Amazing Race. From a pair of passionate dancers with some interesting moves, to a girl slowly becoming a sheep, and many more, there couldn’t have been a more creative, ridiculous group of characters. It ended with the racers running through different parts of campus, finally ending up right outside. As the video ended, the Asininers ran into the room, dressed in the costumes of the video.

The first skit of the night followed a passionate sports commentator, who was hired to follow a man’s personal life. The commentator soon proves a little too good at his job. It is shortly revealed that the man’s wife is cheating on him when some of the commentator’s assistants observe his wife at her co-worker’s house. He’s miserable and the commentator enthusiastically continues on with his work and says, “Well folks, you really hate to see that happen!”

The group then presented the second skit, featuring two philosophical potheads and two equally philosophical birds. With overexaggerated stoner voices, the two people discuss what the birds could possibly be saying. Though they imagined the birds to be discussing such things as the “bird to seed ratio” in the world, the birds were involved in an intense conversation about outer space and life’s big questions like “Why can’t plastic be microwaved?”

Next, the Asininers wore their team shirts to signify that it was time for the first improv game of the night, called “Pan left, pan right.” In the game, there were four group members standing in a square formation. Each person would come up with their own scene, and the two people at the front of the square would enter into whatever scene the person had just introduced. The only rule for the scenes was that they must be inspired by the word “parasite”, which came from the audience after being asked: “What is something you wouldn’t want to get for your birthday?”A fifth group member would randomly say “pan left” or “pan right” to rotate the square, so the audience could see four unique scenes.

With the presence of parents in the audience, the show did not include anything too vulgar or inappropriate, yet it did not shy away from swears or crude material. The jokes appealed to both students and parents, cracking up everybody in the audience. While there may have been some references only students would understand, the parents all clearly enjoyed the show with smiles on their faces.

The show was well structured, as it alternated between skits and improv games so the audience was always getting something different. There was never a stale moment in the show and even when the transitions took a bit longer, the music played in between segments kept the energy up. The playlist, which was one of the best elements of the show, aside from the creativity and comedy, had audience members dancing and singing along. From High School Musical sing alongs, to the Drake and Josh theme, to classic guilty pleasure tunes, the music fit perfectly with the mood of the show.

Some other highlights of the show include a skit about three nerdy boy scouts that are assigned a new scout leader, Axel, who is determined to make boy scouts “cool”. He hands out badges for “cool” things like smoking too close to a school, swearing, and hanging up on your mother. In another skit, “Cat Café,” the definition of a crazy cat lady owns a café with cats roaming around, some of them feral. When two customers get attacked by two rabid cats, the owner of the café is too blinded by her love of the cats to care or offer them desperately needed medical attention. Other improv games, like “Death Game” had the audience roaring. In “Death Game”, group members were given the difficult task of creating a scene located in a Walmart, where the group must incorporate four deaths caused by drowning in spaghetti, being impaled by a tiki torch, climbing a tree, and shame (all audience suggestions). Somehow, the group connected everything into a hilarious and convincing scene.

The skits had clearly been a product of time and thoughtfulness, and the improv games flowed so naturally that they could have been mistaken as rehearsed scenes rather than improv. The tightness of the group, the quick-thinking, and the creativity were all apparent in Asinine’s impressive and hilarious fall show.

November 12, 2017