Arts, On Campus

Hello…Shovelhead! Digs into Stereotypes to Strike Comedic Gold at Fall Show

Students, parents, and friends packed Fulton 511 for “Surprise! We’re Moving.,” Hello…Shovelhead!’s fall show on Saturday night. The Boston College student comedy troupe pulled out all the stops, passing out fliers with a disclaimer that read, “By entering the show you have temporarily suspended your right to be offended” to start off the night of lighthearted laughter.

The troupe opened with a 10-minute movie filmed by Aba Samaan, MCAS ’19, about “the most exciting events in suburbia.” Focused on the Newton Junior Talent Show, the video followed around the talent show directors, portrayed by Claire Saporito, one of Hello…Shovelhead!’s directors and MCAS ’18, and Kieran Harrington, MCAS ’20, as well as overdramatic parents and unassuming children played by other members of the comedy troupe.

Stereotypes ran rampant in the short film, including one set of overconcerned millennial parents who are worried about their child’s dairy allergy affecting his popularity at school and a hilariously hyperbolic wine mom, played by  Caroline Merritt, another Hello…Shovelhead! director and MCAS ’18, who creates drama around the show. Perhaps the funniest moment of the video came when, in a perfect Office-like delivery, the camera panned to a parent, played by Lawson Kelly, MCAS ’18, lip-syncing to the rebellious tween’s (Krista Roze, MCAS ’20) deadpan rendition of an unrecognizable song in a foreign language.

Following the miniature movie was an opening skit about news reporters at a press briefing, with a stately character named Ms. Richards, played by Roze, taking questions. Laura Huepenbecker, MCAS ’19, portrayed a Buzzfeed correspondent who stole the show and began asking odd questions like, “Which fish from the original Finding Nemo would you be, low key?” in an obvious ode to Buzzfeed’s often trivial articles and quizzes.

Jack Tunguz, MCAS ’21, and Matt Wilson, MCAS ’21, played excitable detectives with an odd obsession with sleeping with their perpetrator awaiting interrogation, played by Robert McCrory, MCAS ’19. At one point during the skit, the two police detectives decided to take the “good cop, bad cop” approach to the interrogation, which did not pan out for the two, as they ultimately ended up fighting with each other about who got to sleep with the perp. Finally, Wilson’s character had an emotional breakdown that caused Tunguz to dismiss the perpetrator, despite his open admission of guilt.

The crowd favorite skit of the night came in the form of a rendition of Hamlet that an unwilling student, played by Zachary Erickson, MCAS ’20, is dragged to, only to see the characters of Sean McShane, MCAS ’19, and Matt Wilson, butcher the timeless Shakespearean play. The two alternated unannounced between some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, such as Romeo, Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and, of course, Hamlet. One moment, the two transformed into Juliet and her nurse and argued about who has the more terrible menstrual cycle—ultimately deciding that their cycles were equally bad as a result of their syncing up from “sharing a toothbrush.” Hello…Shovelhead! also managed to work in references from Jaws and The Bible. The caped actors perfectly satirized the theatre kid stereotype with their garish warm-up rituals and overall dramatic dispositions.

Other skits of the night played on scenarios all too familiar to the student-filled audience. One dealt with the inevitable annoyance for outsiders surrounding tight-knit friend groups’ “had to be there” inside jokes, with four friends reciting the same uninteresting story in complete unison—even timing their robotic, forced “ha-ha-ha”s perfectly. And another about a group presentation on dictators throughout history ended with one of the presenters yelling, “By the way, Greg did the least amount of work.”

A skit about European foreign exchange students, however, seemed to miss the mark, as the audience reacted less to the troupe’s egregious portrayal of “European” students with inexplicable Southern accents dressed in eccentric outfits. While the frustrated teacher attempted to lead a discussion about Oscar-winner Manchester By the Sea, the girls in the class fawned over exotic European men.

Another skit that did not quite strike a chord with the audience was one about two hipsters performing at an open mic. Kelly and McShane took the stage after a long monologue from Jack Twomey, CSOM ’21, which relied on confusing and meaningless language to introduce two folk-singing guitar players. Rather than singing, however, they talked about their obnoxiously hipster lives, during which they had moved from Brooklyn to Harlem because the former has become too “gentrified” and were enraged at corporate America’s technological invasion of the formerly “pure” Andes Mountain range. While the troupe certainly succeed in creating two off-putting characters, they were removed from the realm of reality and thus lacked laughable qualities.

Despite a few brief moments of unresponsiveness, the crowd was generally energetic throughout the night. A group of boys in the back of the room yelled “Monologue Bob,” in reference to McCrory, in between skits throughout the night. At one point, the entire crowd sang along to the upbeat chorus of “Semi-Charmed Life,” one of the DJ’s many light-hearted song choices of the night. Hello…Shovelhead!’s effortless comedy and energy was reciprocated by the crowd, and made for an excellent fall show for the student comedians.

Correction, Dec. 4, 10:20 a.m.: A previous version of this article stated that Sean McShane was playing a police officer in a skit about an interrogation. In fact, it was Matt Wilson.

Featured Image by Jake Catania / Heights Staff

December 3, 2017

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