Arts, On Campus

Asinine Entertains Audiences with Improvised Comedy at Spring Cafe

This article has been updated. 

Audience members packed into Gasson 305 on Thursday for a night of outrageous comedy at Asinine’s spring café. Asinine is BC’s sketch-improv comedy group. Asinine opened with a video about the team’s reactions to Matt Sottile’s habit of getting high before the improv group’s rehearsals. Much of the video included shots of Sottile, MCAS ’20, adopting stereotypical stonerisms, laughing at unfunny jokes and slipping into a deep slumber mid-practice. Cole Hammers, CSOM ’21, detailed how he began drinking to deal with the stress of Sottile’s marijuana use. Due to some technical difficulties, the short video ended with a black screen and voices arguing in the background, causing apparent confusion among audience members.

The group’s first improv game was titled “Bing” and required the Asininers to change the direction of the game when another member said “bing.” The resultant improv game found Mark Pump, CSOM ’18, working through a number of sports before telling his mother, Jessica Moukios, MCAS ’18, about his love of synchronized swimming.

The height of the group’s comedy came with an improv game that started with a Jesuit stats teacher, Luke Smith, MCAS ’19, and Pump as his student. The point of this improv game is that any Asininer can enter and change the narrative at any time.  Sottile walked in and began talking about pasta, in an odd turn of events. Elizabeth Burke, MCAS ’20 walked in and addressed the three as her husbands, earning a shocked laugh from the crowd. In the usual way of this specific improv game, Asinine managed to wrap together the disparate threads of the improv game right at the end, to the laughs and enjoyment of the crowd.

The improv group sought inspiration for the game by asking the audience odd questions such as, “Name something you wouldn’t want to fall from the sky,” or “Name something you wouldn’t want the TSA to find in your suitcase.” The overwhelming response from the crowd was “dildo,” regardless of the question. In spite of this, the members of Asinine listened intently for a more appropriate suggestion, finally settling on “lice.”

It was here that the crowd’s energy dwindled, however, with a monologue about lice given by Elizabeth Toepler, MCAS ’19. Before this part of the show took place, Asinine explained the nature of this kind of improv. A member of Asinine, in this case Toepler, would have to tell a true story involving the suggested word—lice. Further, the two improv game following the monologue would also have to be lice-focused. Asinine explained to the crowd that the monologue doesn’t have to be funny, and, by its nature, often isn’t The monologue was long and tiptoed the line between monotonous and outlandish—it felt like the long-winded story was always on the brink of finding an element of insanity or comedy, but, in keeping with the truthful requirement of the story, simply explained Toepler’s experience with lice. The lice theme continued when Moukios and Matt Blue, MCAS ’19, appeared as a girl who loves lice and a horse who did not want to contract lice, respectively.

The group neared the end of the night with a improv game where Smith threw a party with odd attendees, including Hammers as a man who believes he’s stuck in the Civil War, Blue as a man with a foot for a chin, and August Riess, CSOM ’21, as a man who can’t talk without having both hands on Smith. The crowd laughed along as Hammers and Smith offered many clever Civil War puns and Riess found new ways to get close to Smith.

While this performance was not one of Asinine’s strongest, there were multiple funny and entertaining moments. The nature of improv is fickle, but the group’s ability to pull entertainment from entirely random suggestions is always impressive.

Correction: This article originally stated that Asinine is an improv comedy group. Asinine is actually a sketch-improv comedy group.

Correction: This article originally described Asinine’s improv games as “skits.” They are actually unscripted improv games.

Correction: This article originally attributed the quote of “brother husbands” to Elizabeth Burke. She did not actually say this in her improv game.

Correction: This article originally stated that the performer in the final skit was Liam Riess. The performer is actually August Riess.

Correction: This article was updated to provide greater context and explanation for various improv games, as well as the context for the story told by Toepler.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff

February 25, 2018

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