Students gathered in the lounge between Traverse/Wolfe Hall on Friday Oct. 23 in anticipation for “Queer Comedy” night, chatting animatedly before the show began. Many seemed to be wondering the same thing: what exactly did “queer comedy” mean?
What it meant was an afternoon filled with gut-busting laughter provided by The Mixed Signals, the College’s improv comedy troupe.
The group, comprised of senior communications studeis major Cat Cosentino, senior communications major Elaine White, junior philosophy major Jill Hernandez, senior math major Steven Fingerhut, junior English major Steven Avigliano, and sophomore self-design international study of gender major Liz So, showed off their quick thinking comedic chops with a series of skits that were well worth the initial 15 minute delay.
“Nothing we are about to say is meant to be offensive,” White warned the energetic crowd at the beginning of the first skit.
The point of the show, it was explained by cast members, was to poke fun at homophobic mindsets and show just how ridiculous intolerance can be.
This goal was illustrated particularly well in a skit aptly called “Big Feet,” in which Hernandez was forced to confess her larger-than-average shoe size to her not-so-supporting parents, played by Cosentino and Fingerhut. Though lighthearted, the sketch was effective in showing the hardships and stereotypes many face when coming out to family and friends.
As the afternoon continued, the Mixed Signals never seemed to lose the playful energy that had endeared them to the almost entirely filled crowd within the first five minutes of the show. They opened and closed their set strongly with a hilarious skit mocking gender stereotypes entitled “Sex Change”, in which White and Avigliano, respectively, transformed from clichéd examples of their sexes into laughable caricatures of the opposite gender.
The troupe encouraged audience participation throughout the show. In the talk-show-style sketch “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” students were invited to ask questions to the panel of in-character cast members, who fired back some truly ridiculous responses. Likewise, in the “Who’s Line is It Anyway” inspired style skit “World’s Worst,” audience members were encouraged to come up with some scenarios for the troupe to act out, resulting in topics such as “Worst Sex Change” and the hysterical and all-too real “Worst Eickhoff Worker.”
The event was sponsored by PRISM in relation to Queer Awareness Month, which began with the Coming Out Monologues on Oct. 1 and will culminate with a candlelight vigil on Oct. 30. The Mixed Signals will be performing again on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. in the Business Building basement.