Everybody likes to laugh on occasion, even uptight McGill students. McGill is known internationally as a serious academic institution, whose research areas include oncology, architecture, and mind control, to name a few. As I discovered at a preview for Bring Your Own Juice (BYOJ), if you look deeper into these topics, you can find comedy and laughter at McGill.
Although unofficial at the moment, BYOJ is a student sketch comedy group at McGill. The ten members are responsible for writing, producing, and directing the scenes they perform allowing the whole cast to express their vision and show off their talents. It’s a fun show to watch, and it’s clear that the group members are enjoying themselves as evidenced by their amiable interactions onstage.
The script is written as a group with members providing a pitch to the group and the rest of the group developing jokes and scripts off the initial spark, according to BYOJ member D.J. Maussner. Their scenes touch on a wide range of subjects; from performing in the bedroom to the struggles of a band trying to get their music heard, the sketches explore many aspects of the world of which students are well aware. The content is written to be inclusive and doesn’t rely on stereotypes, according to member Courtney Kassel. This is a show meant to make everyone laugh.
The show was prepared in a month, according to Maussner, and the hard work put in by the team comes across in the progression of humour and choreography in some scenes.
The preview demonstrated the group’s use of other performance arts such as dance and music within their scenes, giving the scenes a diversity in their presentation and showing the possibilities possible in sketch comedy. The scenes change between a series of one-liners between two parade anchors at each other’s throats to a detailed plot of a peasant uprising and the nobles’ swift reaction.
This zany series of jokes and ideas is a unique trait of sketch comedy not seen in other performance arts. “Sketch comedy is a playground for story,” said Maussner. “Stand-up comedy is good for developing punch lines, while improv is good at developing your stage muscles.” Experimentation is seen throughout the show, using even the most mundane object as a comedic tool or twitter hashtags.
BYOJ is a refreshing breath of fresh air amidst midterms and the fatigue from spending nights in the library. Go in with an open mind and let BYOJ cure your midterm blues.
BYOJ can be fully experienced at the Players’ Theatre in the SSMU Building from March 10th to March 12th.
By Alex Zelensky