This weekend’s Major:Undecided (M:U) show will be decidedly major. At 8 p.m. tomorrow in Cabot Auditorium, the sketch comedy group will host its most inclusive performance to date, featuring work by Cheap Sox, The Institute and sketch-comedy troupe Boris’ Kitchen of Brandeis University. The show, titled “A Comedy Extravaganza! Live in 3D!,” will further differ from M:U’s traditional format in that audience members will be encouraged to make a donation to Operation Smile, a charity that helps children with cleft palates afford surgery.
According to senior Rachel Chervin, the president of M:U, the group has been wanting to collaborate with other on-campus comedy groups for a while. She thinks of Saturday’s show as “a chance for everyone to see Tufts’ comedy [perfornamce] community as a whole.” For other M:U members, the collaboration just seems natural.
“We wanted to be a lot more campus-inclusive,” said sophomore Brian Agler, co-public relations director of M:U. “All of the comedy groups have their own audiences, but the genres are so intrinsically linked that it seemed important to combine them in one show.”
After performing off campus at Brandeis University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute last year, M:U decided to reach out to non-Tufts groups — in addition to on-campus organizations, by inviting Boris’ Kitchen to participate. M:U chose Boris’ Kitchen because the Brandeis-based group has invited M:U to two of its performances in the past two years, both of which were successful.
M:U members emphasize that “A Comedy Extravaganza!” will showcase a variety of comedic styles including Tufts sketch comedy, Brandeis sketch comedy, improv and short films à la The Institute.
“Each group is so funny, but in their own way,” Chervin said. “Everyone’s bringing something different to the table.”
This will be M:U’s most logistically complicated show to date, and Chervin doubts that the groups will be able to do a complete run-through before the performance. However, members of the group are excited rather than nervous, and they expect things to go smoothly.
“This is exciting because it’s our most ambitious show yet,” said junior James Folta, co-public relations director. “It’s like all other Major shows — fun and all student-written, but it showcases other groups, too.”
Senior Patrick Wilson, M:U’s artistic director, sees the performance as evidence of the group’s continuing growth. M:U was founded just five years ago, its founding members graduated just last year, and according to Wilson, the group has been “defining its style and composition” over the past few years.
“This show sort of represents Major’s expanding role,” Wilson said. “It’s exciting to see the group become a larger entity.”
Wilson notes the group’s improved Web site as another example of its growth. M:U is beginning to film its sketches and post them online to reach a larger audience. Additionally, the group keeps moving into larger and larger performance spaces around campus. Cabot is the largest suitable performance space for M:U, and the group expects nearly a full house on Saturday. Smaller improvements are also noticeable. In its younger days, the group would forgo props and construct last-minute costumes out of cardboard and plastic bags. These days, sketch directors shop for props and costumes, including full-fledged wigs and leopard-print pants.
Perhaps one of the reasons M:U remains strong on a campus with so many other comedy groups is the obvious camaraderie between members. M:U is an open group; there are no auditions. Instead, a few weeks before the show date, members hold a three- or four-hour pitch meeting, reading and voting on every sketch submitted the night before. According to Agler, about 40 sketches were submitted at the beginning of this semester, and only a few made it to the final show. But cutting sketches hasn’t distanced any of M:U’s newer members.
“It’s a really supportive environment,” freshman Meredith Paul said. “Everyone is encouraged to be involved. It’s a really conducive environment to hilarity.”
Folta added that the group’s open format rewards each member’s effort, that it “organically creates a good group dynamic.” Each M:U show features entirely new, student-written material aimed, unsurprisingly, at a college-aged audience.
“[M:U] is just like a group of friends that collaborate to create something awesome,” Wilson said, “Together, we give our own spin to humor.”
With sketches on subjects ranging from angsty journal-writing to aging rockers to the ancient Greeks, this Saturday’s comedy show may give those with undecided weekend plans something to look forward to.