February 19, 2004

Sometimes you're in the right place at the right time, and you don't realize that you were until it's long over, and it's thirty years later and you're talking into some VH-1 documentarian's camera about how Jim Morrison slept on your couch.

Then sometimes you're in the right place and it's the right time to be there and you're with the right people and you know it.

Then you hear your comedy friends doing shrill Chris Rock impressions downstairs, and you can feel the hard consonants through the wall, and you know if you don't hurry up they'll leave for bagels without you, so you finish washing your hands and stop staring in the mirror and go downstairs into Sunday morning, Saratoga Springs, New York.


Last weekend was the National College Comedy Festival, hosted by Skidmore, which is upstate. This is last weekend we're talking about now, Valentine's Day, not one but two Shins gigs in New York I missed, that last weekend. I have been lax in getting this all down because due to events that rolled out of events that will later be unfolded. But here goes.

There are two comedy groups I'm in here at school, an improv group (known, until this weekend, as Camp Anawanna Swim Team) and a sketch group, Hammerkatz. There have always been a lot of crossover between the two groups, and since the recent round auditions both groups undertook independently, they've sunk deeper into each other, like two acrobatic lesbians on a futon. (That's my submission to the 2004 Pornographic Similie With A Random Piece of Furniture Thrown In For Good Measure Awards. I know it's not the season, I'll probably re-release it at the end of the year, take out a full page in Variety, maybe.) Formerly-Known-As-Anawanna was sending 11 peeps, Hammerkatz, 7, plus our green-yet-steadfast AV guy, Adam, and all those Hammerkatz with the exception of one were also improvin'. You're not even supposed to have two groups from the same school at this festival. Our secondary yet ever-present concern was not to be seen as arrogant stage-grubbing self-loving assholes. But our primary concern was to Rock.

So with that desire hovering foremost in our sleepy heads, the two headed comedy beast of NYU climbed in three cars all-too-early on Friday morning (ten thirty AM, and if that doesn't sound early, think back on college, and if you haven't yet been imagine a place where your ability to get up before noon has been replaced by a prediliction for booze, flirting, and long, long douchey conversations about people's "early stuff") and headed upstate.

I'm gonna break out for a second and note that I have just received loud belligerent confirmation that I live in the Drunken Shouting In The Street Below Your Window at 3:15 AM Capital of the World. It's on the sign as you're driving into town.

On the way up, we discussed virginity and how apparently, Sophomore year, every girl who had every intention of keeping it 'till she had a ring on her finger and a veil on her head feels suddenly left out, says "fuck it" and proceeds to do just that, "it" being a trucker-hatted fratboy, through a drunken haze, to the whiteboy psuedo-stoner-blues stylings of Jack Johnson. Max, a new guy in Formerly-Anawanna, drove the car I was in, having scared it up from his parents in Connecticut (none of my friends drive on a regular basis, which made the car situation, uhm, interesting). We stopped for McDonald's, and enjoyed authentic fat people (there was one in Manhattan, for a brief period, but he chased a McRib wrapper which was fluttering in the wind right into the East River) (who am I kidding, I love McRibs, I would hella do the same). Upstate seems like it would be lovely in spring and summer but the two times I've seen it it's been a bunch of twigs sticking up from barren tundra. I'll have to try again sometime. We made good time, got to Skidmore's campus, and followed the bubble-lettered signage to our ultimate destination.


Our ultimate destination, of course, being a lecture hall full of pizza and free festival t-shirts and friendly Skidmore folk, some of whom's floors we would be sleeping on for the duration. Doug, a guy in Hammerkatz, used to go to Skidmore and thus knew the festival inside and out, and though he couldn't go, he'd sent us rocketing northward with this bit of advice: Don't be on. Y'know how you're usually the funny guy at the party? Yea, at this party, everybody's the funny guy. Don't be that guy. Don't be on was the mantra of the weekend. Did we necessarily always obey? Nah. We are sad, sad people in need of constant approval. But for those first few tranquil minutes, we ate cold pizza and introduced ourselves friendly-yet-sedately and got things squared away without so much as a well-meaning quip.


This is us dropping our stuff off at Carrie Anne and Becca's house, where we stayed. I had forgotten this happened that afternoon, until I saw the picture. Huge gaps in my memory of recent events? Hella college style.




Then, once all had arrived, and Donald and I realized we were wearing the exact. Same. Thing. (Blue ribbed sweatshirt over a white button-down collared shirt, jeans, black shoes) we set to work prepping for the show. There were three shows over the course of the weekend, one Friday night (9 o'clock) and two Saturday night, Hammerkatz was set to be the second group Friday night. We had a twenty minute set, but we don't do anything, y'know, small: we took some of our best sketches, wrote some new segues (we don't black out, motherfucks), and were ready to rock ass. The jewel of our set was a stunt set to take place after a sketch I wrote entitled "Vikings," wherein a group of vikings break into another sketch and kill some of the actors, because vikings hate sketch comedy (they like things long: long boats, long beards, etc.) We threw in a line about how they also went backstage and killed Yale's Purple Crayon, the group that went on before us. We would then dedicate the next sketch to their memory, and play a brief video montage featuring slo-mo black and white footage of the set they just did, with the title card Yale's Purple Crayon, 1985-2004: They made us laugh, Vikings wore their faces as hats, all to the tune of Tha Crossroads by Bone Thugz. We were just shitting ourselves with pride over this ambitious bit of video gimmickery, and were so excited about how it would kill that we failed to bring a camera from NY.

The problem was solved with minimum panicage: The wonderful Carrie Anne Whose Floor We Would Later Sleep On helped us sign one out from Skidmore. People went to town for props and food, we dry-ran the Viking video stuff, people returned, we tech-ran in Skidmore's cool-as-hell 3/4 stage (I think that's what it's called, a bit of the stage juts out from under the proscenium for an psuedo-in-the-round effect, anyway, it's a killer space), then various cars went various places for food. Ours went to Boston Market. They were out of Chicken Pot Pie, so I went with its turkey equivalent. Under normal circumstances, in my exhausted state (didn't get the planned nap on the way up thanks to the sexchatter) I would've feared the triptophan, but (and I'm gonna go into Action-Movie-Trailer-Mode for the rest of this paragraph) tonight my pot pie and cornbread meal came with a side of adrenaline.

And macaroni and cheese, which Boston Market pulls off orgasmically, although later in the green room I'd get some of it on the scarf Alecia's mom made me.

We watched Yale warm up and ate our food. They went on and we warmed up. The bathroom, I remember, smelled terrible. Dan had had to go buy the Bone Thugz CD at Barnes and Noble 'cause our mp3 wasn't working. We got fucking pysched as hell.

Then, we killed.


I have to wake up at 8:30 and go to Brooklyn and babysit, so Part 2 of the Skidmore Follies will have to be postponed. I know, right?

Tommorrow: Bears, Swastikats, manginas, "Y'all don't know about the Listerine," the loss of crucial telecommunication accessories, and plenty of Sweet Lady Booze. Stay tuned.


Posted by DC at February 19, 2004 12:33 AM
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