With topics ranging from Noam Chomsky to Malcolm Gladwell, Bowdoin Sketch Comedy presented a series of sketches satirizing the Bowdoin experience this week at Bowdoin Night Live! Held in Kresge Auditorium, the club’s final show of the semester provided a unique outlet for comical social commentary on the College and its institutional policies. 

Tom Capone ’17, the leader of Bowdoin Sketch Comedy, described the creative process of the show as one deeply connected to Bowdoin students’ experience on campus.

“We spend the entire semester paying attention to what is going on on campus, reading the Orient, trying to be as involved in as many different parts of the community as possible and finding things that either should be made fun of or lend themselves to comedy,” said Capone. 

The group is selected through a long audition process aimed at finding a diverse group of students with both comedy writing and acting talent. Only about three or four of the 40 students who auditioned last spring and this fall made the cut. Each of the ten club members wrote two or three sketches, but only the best eight were produced and performed. 

The idea of writing, acting and producing sketch comedy at Bowdoin arose from the senior thesis of Simon Brooks ’14. Since then, Bowdoin Sketch Comedy has become a chartered student organization with scheduled performances each semester. 

One of the highlights of this winter’s Bowdoin Night Live! was a video satirizing Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast that criticized Bowdoin Dining Services. The sketch, called “The Return of Malcolm Gladwell,” was a play on Gladwell’s generalization of Bowdoin students representing the ‘one percent.’ 

 “I’m kind of hoping that Malcolm Gladwell actually sees it,” he said. “If he were to get angry at it or respond to it that would be the best reception that we could get.” 

Callye Bolster ’19, a member of Bowdoin Sketch Comedy, wrote a sketch based on her own frustrations with the interplay between the Office of Residential Life and College Houses regarding parties and alcohol. Bolster, a member of Reed House, said she wanted to address the stress involved in hosting campus-wide parties. 

“There are just all of these mixed messages about what we’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “Having the police come to nearly all of our parties that we’re supposed to throw but then constantly getting in trouble … I thought I’d write a skit just making fun of how confusing the process is.” 

Capone and the rest of the club believe that while Bowdoin’s improv groups—Office Hours and Improvabilities—provide a great source of light humor on campus, sketch comedy is riskier in its content, which can edge on making students feel uncomfortable. 

“It’s more difficult to digest something that cuts close to the truth, but that’s the form that I’m the most interested in and the group has worked the most to produce,” Capone said. “[We] touch very briefly on subjects that are not explicitly stated within the skits but implied and hopefully point out the absurdities of things that happen on campus.”