Free the Hole protest drawn by Alyce  Dedicated Idiocy, A personal history of the Penn State Monty Python Society by Alyce Wilson

School Year 1990-1991

Overacting Night

Despite the fact that my journal entries were becoming sadly inadequate, I found the time to write up a rather lengthy account of the February 27, 1991, MPS meeting, Overacting Night. This theme was uniquely suited to our particular merry crew.

Wednesday, February 27, 1991

Tonight 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.]

When 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.

"Invisible lark's vomit!" I shrieked.

Some 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.

Scott (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.

Mark 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 — terrible overacting.

The 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.

The padre: "I haven't got any arms."

"But 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.

Andy [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 liked it!"

They 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!"

They also did television and the telephone.

The 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."

"In my day, we didn't have things like brains..."

Paul 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.]

Woodward 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.

At the end of the meeting, Matt Sheldon stood up on his chair and did "Green Eggs and Hamlet."

Alisa 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.]

Everyone 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.

"We won," he deadpanned. [Note: This was the first President Bush, and the first Gulf War.]

"What was the final score?" asked Andy.

On 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!"

In my day, we didn't have Contents! We used to write pointless blog entries, and we liked it!Chinese welcome What's the final score? Organized SillinessBusy, Busy, Busy e-mail: