Belligerence, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Boston College are just a few themes that stumbled their way into the witty improv at My Mother’s Fleabag’s Fall Big Show, an event that packed the Vanderslice Cabaret Room during the comedy group’s four showings over the weekend. Fans flooded into the dim room to the sound of “Promiscuous” and “Mo Bamba,” ramping up for a night of absurdity and banter.
Directors Nick Edel, MCAS ’19; Tom Mier, MCAS ’19; and Ari Malliaros, CSOM ’19, kicked off the night as newscasters in the group’s opening skit. During the sketch, the trio conducted a strange series of interviews with a ragtag cast of characters, including a belligerent priest played by Sam Harmon, MCAS ’21, and a robot named Allen Iverson played by Mike Bamford, MCAS ’20. An existential crisis ensued once Allen Iverson turned on, but the spectacle was quick to take a turn for the ecclesiastical when Harmon’s bumbling priest returned to the stage, spitting the line “Send that demon back to hell—you scientists are playing God.” The skit culminated in a Saturday Night Live-style “It’s My Mother’s Fleabag” with the whole cast on display.
Staying true to its improv roots, the group quickly traded skits for spontaneity and engaged the audience in games throughout the night. Freeze was the first of the games and a crowd favorite. Fleabaggers assumed one another’s positions when tapping into new characters between breathless bits. Hands on his knees in exhaustion, Edel assumed the character of a man struggling to climb stairs as Maggie Cetrullo delivered the final punchline during the game:
“Honey, you gotta stop taking the stairs if you can’t handle it,” Cetrullo said, eliciting laughs and applause from the crowd.
The group took a brief intermission while showing its Big Show video—an Oscars-themed tribute to fictional fallen big screen legends. During the video, Maya Rao, MCAS ’21, portrayed an actress thats premier role was a “lady cop” whose crook cried “A lady cop? I thought I had seen it all!”
Fleabag staple “185 Blanks Walk Into a Bar” was a highlight from the show. One round rode through jokes that riffed off car brands: Malliaros drove home a story about a discontented Shakespearean understudy with the punchline “I’m the Alfa Romeo,” referencing the Italian sports car brand that was recently featured in John Mulaney’s 2018 episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Harmon pulled out all the stops for his sports team-themed bar hop, channeling an 1836 Mexican soldier at the Alamo who warns his superior, “General, general—it’s the Texans.”
The topics depicted by the cast of comedians were prompted by audience responses to random questions. Mier tasked Claire Wilson, LSOE ’20, and Anna Livaccari, MCAS ’20, with portraying belligerence, jealousy, and pettiness during the game, which prompted the two to craft a scene about two competitive pregnant women, both giving birth before the laughing crowd by the end of the night.
Emulating SNL throughout the night, the performers didn’t let their audience leave without experiencing quality live music. Fleabag members end each Big Show with a themed opera in their boxers, and this year’s performance left nothing to the imagination. Focused on overplayed songs, the student comedians snaked their way through a Mod party playlist composed of an RA’s rendition of A$AP Ferg’s “Plain Jane,” in which guilty resident Brendan McGinty, MCAS ’20, sung “I was only 18 years old smoking on Newton at night.”
Harmon returned with hard hitting humor for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to deliver the lyric “Just not cut out for pre-med / Should have majored in comm instead.” The group ended the on-campus opera on a high note, morphing the Boston staple “Sweet Caroline” into a track about BC head football coach Steve Addazio and manipulating the lyrics of The “hey-did-you-know-they-played-plexapalooza” Chainsmokers’ “Closer” to craft an ode to sentimental seniors everywhere.
Featured Image by Steve Ebert / Heights Staff