Last Friday and Saturday marked the first ever Friars Club Improv and Sketch Competition (FrISC). Held at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, FrISC showcased the best five improv and sketch groups from over a hundred submissions.
At the end of each night, a panel of judges voted and announced the winner. Each winning group would receive $10,000 toward making a short film to be debuted at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival in September.
I was lucky enough to get seats to both nights’ competitions, so if you weren’t there, I’m going to tell you what happened. Spoiler alert!
Friday was the improv competition.
First up was the Jon & Eddie Show, a two-woman group from LA. Their performance was very group-work oriented, which translated into a lot of interpretive dance.
Stepfathers, a UCB team full of improv heavyweights including Zach Woods (Gabe on The Office) was up next. One of my favorite parts of their performances was a game about a character Phil, whose main characteristic was how unmemorable he was (“Happy birthday dear…umm…”).
Code Duello, a two-man team from Boston, dressed up as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. After soliciting a suggestion from the audience about an event you might see in a colonial newspaper (they used “Andy Rooney joining 60 Minutes“–whoever yelled this out, you are the worst team player ever), they improvised scenes that eventually led up to Hamilton and Burr’s duel.
Vanity Project, another group from Boston, went through a set that involved an overly sexual teenage student, what happens to the people inside a snowglobe, and a family with a mother indifferent toward the offers of help from her overeager son.
Last up was Badman, a UCB house team. Highlights of their performance included an effeminate boy who always wanted to be the wife when playing house, much to the disgust of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
At the end of the night the judges declared Stepfathers the winner.
Saturday was the sketch portion of the competition.
The groups averaged about four sketches each in their 20-minute slots. The show started with Harvard Sailing Team, a New York group who did a slow motion montage of a gathering of friends that went from friendly to hostile, ending in the death of one of the friends via a punch in the temple.
Elephant Larry, another NYC group, went up next; they did a bit about a sailor rap battle.
Midnight Show, a LA group, did a skit about a woman giving birth on a plane and the only doctor on board being an abortion doctor who was very confused about the concept of a live birth.
Somebody’s in the Dog House, a two woman Boston group, did a sketch about two moms at a public library singing a song to the kids advising girls not to wait too long to have kids or else they might end up retarded.
At this point I’ll stop to mention that I realize by picking some of the most offensive sketches to be my favorites, I’m revealing to you that I’m a terrible person. That being said, let’s move on.
Last up for the night was Free Love Forum, a NYC group who did a bit about what happens when a coworker says “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya,” turning into a Freaky Friday/Twilight Zone body switch after the coworker apologized and said he actually would love to be the other person.
Harvard Sailing Team was deemed the winner of the sketch competition.
Thanks to FrISC for letting us watch, and congratulations to Stepfathers and Harvard Sailing Team on their wins! I’m looking forward to seeing what they make with their $10,000.