The Sketchy Characters: I Smoke a PAC Show a Day
By Kevin Mercado
Senior Staff Writer
The University at Albany improv, stand up, and sketch comedy group, The Sketchy Characters, brought the laughs during their fall improv show. The performance, titled “I Smoke a PAC Show a Day” was shown on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.
The show included improv games, including “Scenes From a Hat,” “Touch to Talk,” “Two Lines” and more. In between the games, a few of the members performed stand up routines.
The performance centered on the two hosts having a “duel” to see who the better host is. The show opened with the two hosts, Michael and Jacob hashing it out with wooden swords, neither getting an actual hit on the other. A voice from behind the curtain shouted, “Slow it down!” which caused the two hosts to have their fight in slow motion. The two hosts decided that they could not come to a decision by fighting with each other so they brought out their improv teams to have a series of sketches and have the audience determine a winner.
Several of the games involved the audience’s help in determining things like a place, an occupation or a relationship. The performers had to come up with material on the spot while pretending to be identical strangers, the Avatar, from the Nickelodeon show “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and being at a zoo in space.
The audience shouted out some outlandish scenarios, but one of the best moments was the one audience member who continually proposed, “father daughter-wife” as a relationship. The hosts kept rejecting it, however as the games went on the performers starting incorporating it into their jokes.
The performers played “Two Lines” where two of three performers only have two lines that they can say, a question and a statement. The sketch was set in a zoo in space. One performer, Ian, had the lines, “ Is it made of cheese?” and “In space!” while the other performer, Troy could only say, “Has Peeta heard about this?” and “I’m going to touch its face.” The results were funny with the two performers insisting on touching all of the “animals’” faces and asking if they were made of cheese, annoying the other performer who had more than two lines.
In “Four Square,” four performers were grouped together standing in a square shape on stage. The hosts would ask them to rotate left or right, changing the two performers who stood in the foreground. Each couple that stood at the foreground had a different scene that had to be maintained when those two were in front. One scene had two brothers in their grandma’s basement, the next saw two people try to market condoms that were too big for men, the third was about identical strangers meeting for the first time, and the last was about a mans pet Alaskan, bull worm.
In between the sketches, comedians came out and did stand up. The first of which, Ellen, spoke about her “Jewish mother-no, crazy Jewish mother.” She joked about how she always assumes she’s drinking, doing drugs or having sex all the time. She also joked about kissing guys who shoot their tongue into her mouth as if they are “looking for buried treasure.”
Chris, another stand up performer, told a story about a cab ride he had with “a hard two” and a “soft six.” He said that the “hard two” girl was about to throw up and he could tell by the sound she was making. Apparently the only way to stop it from happening was “make noise.” They turned the radio on and “The Best Day of Our Lives” by the American Authors comes on and her vomiting starts to match the beat of the song.
There were also several told about the university itself. One said that the construction is hard to understand because the workers put up a fence, dig up a hold, pile up the dirt and then put the dirt back in the hole. It was also said that if we are trying to survive a murder attack the LC’s are the best place to be because even as a senior it is still hard to navigate the tunnels. The murder would just keep finding “weird go-kart things.”
During the intermission a raffle was held to slap one of the performers on stage with a quesadilla. Three audience members were chosen to come on stage and slap a performer. Two chose to hit performer Ellen with a cheese and chicken quesadilla. Another performer was hit with the beef quesadilla while his parents were apparently in the audience. A fourth person was designated to come up to give a special slap to the President, James King, which resulted in meat flying at the audience. It was even funnier finding out the hosts and some performers actually ate the quesadillas backstage, the former bringing out on stage and eating it.
The show had moments of pure genius, despite notably basing their improv games on shows like “Whose Line is it Anyway?” It also happened to be the last show for member Thomas Gross, so the President, James King, gave a nice sendoff at the end. The show was a lot better than expected and was really enjoyable.