The Fighting Red Onionhead, a.k.a. Roger, a.k.a. Ode de Capa  Dedicated Idiocy, A personal history of the Penn State Monty Python Society by Alyce Wilson

School Year 1988-1989

The First Annual Twit of the Year Run

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At the October 26, 1988 meeting, we did some brainstorming for the first annual "Upperclassman Twit of the Year Run," which was originally slated for November (any time we did an event, it was the "first annual" such-and-such, even if it was most likely to never be repeated, such as, hypothetically, "The First Annual Running with Scissors Rally" or "First Annual Do Not Try This at Home Day").

Our main subject of non-discussion was the Upperclassman Twit of the Year competition. Paul [Farkas] and Matt [Pyson] tried writing the events on the board, but nobody was paying attention. They wrote things over other things, running into what was already on the board, generally creating a mess. For one of th eevents, Matt wrote, "1) Walk a straight lyne." Then everyone told him it was spelled wrong, so he fixed it to read, "qlyneqstuigh."

"That's better," we told him.

Because of poor weather conditions and lack of organization, we postponed the event until spring 1989.

At this point, Floyd Crossman also decided to step down as president, citing other obligations. Ian Podraza was elected in his place. Eric Schr9ager was elected vice-president.

By then, the traditional Penn State fall weather was rearing its chilly, wet nose like a rabid rabbit in a mixed metaphor. We decided to postpone the first annual Twit of the Year contest until spring.

Ian Podraza, a.k.a. Adrian Wapcaplet, was an ambitious leader. One of his first tasks, in January 1989, was to raise the possibility of asking Terry Gilliam to speak at the university. As I remember, we sent him a letter of inquiry, which bore no fruit, fresh or otherwise.

This was when I learned that Graham Chapman had apparently spoken at Penn State once before, and that some of the Monty Python Society members at that time had met him. Apparently, he left behind an empty can of TAB, throwing it away like some useless bit of trash. The MPS members rescued it from the garbage and passed it along, as a sacred relic. Its whereabouts are currently unknown; perhaps rusting in a dump somewhere, next to the Holy Grail.

That spring, as plans progressed for the Upperclass Twit of the Year Run, we also brainstormed other ideas. One of them was to have a protest against protests, an idea that came from Jon Acheson. It was a natural inclination on a college campus, especially Penn State, where protestors spring out of the fertile mud in front of the weeping willow tree in front of Old Main, and go cavorting across campus each year. Or maybe that's where squirrels come from.

By default, I'd become the main organizer of the Twit of the Year Run, because the other members whined and complained about some nonsense called "coursework." I discovered that to reserve the HUB Lawn (which for some reason we felt was necessary), we had to have a club advisor. After a lot of running around and professors passing the buck, I convinced an English professor named Christine White to serve as our advisor. She had a British accent, which is why I figured she'd been recommended to me.

It wasn't until she showed up at a meeting and revealed that she'd been a member of Footlights — the same Cambridge comedy club that spawned John Cleese and Graham Chapman — that I realized how perfect the match-up was. She left the university after that year, or she would likely have remained our advisor for my entire undergraduate career.

Don Klees created a flyer for the event:

Twit 1989 flyer (Click to enlarge)

G'day, Bruce!  How about some contents?  Alyce's portfolio, online journal, and pics of her doggie Only the Looney  Spout off, sprout!   Strip Tease or Inauguration? Twit of the Year 1989 - page 2   e-mail: