February 27, 1991
was the Monty Python Society meeting, Overacting Night. That was fun.
Cathy [Nelson] and I kicked it off by doing Crunchy Frog. But Holli
[Weisman] was playing Superintendent Parrot, and since we hadn't given
her any lines, she decided to upstage us. [Note: This
was a frequent problem at MPS, and I was guilty of it many times myself.]
I pulled the first imaginary chocolate from the box, she said, "It's
invisible!" Everyone laughed. And then, we had "invisible"
popping up in the lines for the rest of the skit.
lark's vomit!" I shrieked.
of the other bits were amusing, too. I kept a list of all the "offenders,"
all the people who overacted. Kzin [Jon Kilgannon] did his own rendition
of Hamlet, and Carl Congdon did a rewrite of the "To be or not
to be" speech, basing it on food.
(Bob Mey's friend) had written a sketch called "The King and
I." It was about a man who had everything going for him until
Elvis came along and stole it away. I played the girlfriend. The sketch
went well. The man who played the main character kept really hamming
it up, doing things like dropping on his knees and grabbing people
by the legs.
Sachs, Steve Gradess and Natalie Harp did the sketch on the World
War II bunker, where one soldier has to be chosen to do the "honorable"
thing. Of course, it ends with the armless padre going off
sketch completed, I took my opportunity to butt in with another speech
from Hamlet. "Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it
to you, trippingly on the tongue." At this point, someone had
showed a piece of paper in the padre's mouth, and he was helpless
to say a word. "But if you mouth it, as many of our players do,
I had as live the town criers spoke my lines. Nor do not saw your
arms too much about the air, thus..." Laughter.
padre: "I haven't got any arms."
do all gently. For in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say,
whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance
that will give it smoothness." At this point, I became aware
of Steve Gradess, who was standing behind me and upstaging to the
utmost. "O, it offends me to the soul to see some robustious,
periwig pated FOOL," I said and turned to look at Steve, who
was hanging himself with the cord from the film screen, "tear
a passion to tatters, to very rags. Oh, I would have such a fellow
whipt for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod, pray you avoid
it." I addressed these last lines to Steve himself, who took
a quiet bow.
[Wilson, my brother] and Mark Sachs did an improv based on a Saturday
Night Live sketch. They played two old men who complained about
things. They would say, "In my day, we didn't have..." And
then they would talk about what they did have, which was usually something
painful and gory. And they would conclude by saying, "But we
went off on acting: "In my day, we didn't have acting. We didn't
have people pretending to be stabbed. When it said that they got killed
in the script, we took a knife and stabbed them in the back. They fell
into the audience vomiting blood. But they liked it!"
also did television and the telephone.
funniest thing about it was the way they worked with each other. They
both got really excited and talked over each other. But they each
came up with enough good ones to make it one laugh after another.
They ended it with, "You know why we liked it? Because we were
ignorant and stupid."
my day, we didn't have things like brains..."
Yacinsin and his friend did another Nixon takeoff. [Note:
Paul, who would later be my brother's roommate, was obsessed with
1960s politics. Among his strange habits were staying up until all
hours, eating extremely rare meat and watching Kennedy documentaries.
He was once disciplined on campus for getting drunk, donning a Nixon
mask and throwing furniture out of a fourth floor study lounge.]
and Bernstein ran in then, taped Nixon to a chair, hit him with a
pillow, and dragged him out of the room. Of course, this was a surprise,
because they weren't supposed to come in until Nixon and Kissinger
were on the floor praying.
end of the meeting, Matt Sheldon stood up on his chair and did "Green
Eggs and Hamlet."
Bauman [Note: This was the Daily Collegian reporter
who wrote an article about our Free the Hole protest on campus] had
showed up with the intent of doing a feature of Steve "Attila
the Pun" Gradess, but she didn't stay afterwards long enough
to ask any questions. [Note: To my knowledge, Alisa
never wrote this story, or if she did, it wasn't published in The
Collegian. It certainly doesn't appear in the otherwise comprehensive
Collegian online archives. Perhaps it was for a class project.]
opted out on the diner tonight. [Note: A frequent after
meeting activity was going to the College Diner and frightening the
wait staff.] Instead, a few of us walked back to Atherton together.
As we were passing through the basement, we caught the last end of
the presidential address. But I couldn't hear any of it because I
couldn't get in the door. Afterwards, I asked Kzin what he'd said.
won," he deadpanned. [Note: This was the first
President Bush, and the first Gulf War.]
was the final score?" asked Andy.
the way over to Center Halls, Andy and Mark kept up the angry old men.
"In my day, we didn't have chains to hold up chandeliers. We just
had little pieces of string. And the chandeliers were made of heavy
steel and glass. They wouldn't just fall and kill people. They'd fall
through the earth and kill some Chinese. But we liked it!"