TFL seniors reflect on 4 years in Tufts comedy

TFL seniors Alex Soo (left) and Anne Savage (right) are pictured. Courtesy Alex Soo and Anne Savage

The Class of 2022 will always be remembered for our extremely historically unprecedented undergrad experience. Obviously, the worst thing to ever happen to us, collectively, was when an a cappella group had to sing its cover of “Dancing Queen” (1976) by ABBA in 97-degree heat at matriculation. Otherwise, our four years at Tufts were remarkably calm, normal and free of turmoil.

In all seriousness, though, for many of us, our clubs and campus organizations became a touchstone of relative normalcy when our classes, home lives, health and futures were plagued with uncertainty. Tufts’ comedy groups, in particular, have made us laugh when we’ve dearly needed the catharsis. For those of us who do comedy, it’s been not exactly a reminder of normalcy — because comedy is never normal, and we wouldn’t want it to be — but a chance for community, for creative expression, for ab workouts from laughing at one another’s content.

Most of us missed out on a spring show during our sophomore year. When we returned to campus — or to remote classes — in the fall, we had to transition from making live content to digital. We had to be inventive and adaptable. We had to ask ourselves what it meant to be in a club and craft jokes when we weren’t able to enjoy the camaraderie of gathering together, listening to the sounds of our friends’ laughter, just barely able to see the curves of each other’s smiles in a dimly lit auditorium.

But we adjusted. Last year, each comedy group made exemplary content despite the restrictions. And this year, we once again got to perform live. We got to stumble, half-drunk, from the Institute straight to the Major’s show in the same night, because there are only so many weekends in the semester. We got to have our suggestions accepted or mostly ignored at Cheap Sox (we thought “scientist in love with the octopus they’re studying” was a pretty good idea, but oh well). We got to trudge up the hill, with a camera in one hand and a tripod slung over the other shoulder, to film in the mornings. Then we spent all night editing. We got to frantically test the audio system in Barnum 008, to wonder which stage lights would catch on fire this time, to tell Tufts Technology Services that, yes, we did already try turning the computer on and off again.

All of Tufts comedy has gone above and beyond these past four years. But we’re from TFL, so we just want to take a moment to reflect on how much the group has evolved since we were first-years. Before coming to college, most of us had never done comedy before. We’ve learned how to film, how to edit, how to subvert expectations in a standup set, how to pause for laughter and applause, how to project our voices, even how to put on a choreographed karaoke musical parody. In the past four years, membership in TFL has more than doubled. We’ve gone from one show a semester to two. We’ve raised hundreds of dollars for the charity For the Gworls. We’ve gone from begging everyone we knew to come to our shows, to telling a packed house that people can sit on the floor in the front of Barnum. We’ve been banned from Dunkin’, dabbled in Greek life and won a Super Bowl … or at least our version of one. We’ve come up with countless TFL acronyms, from Truckers for Lorde to Teething Feral Labradors.

Tufts comedy is genuinely one of the most welcoming spaces on campus. Its members are endlessly creative, endlessly supportive, endlessly resourceful, endlessly enthusiastic and, of course, endlessly funny. College comedy is a unique experience in our lives. For most of us, it won’t ever be replicated in the adult world of bills and obligations and ‘real life’. When we think back on the last four years, we feel wistful, proud, nostalgic (Is somebody playing “Landslide” (1975) by Fleetwood Mac?). Maybe we don’t quite feel ready to go. But the juniors, sophomores and first-years who have joined Tufts comedy in these last three chaotic years are more than capable. They’re hilarious and inspiring. No matter what happens in the next four years (hopefully nothing more dramatic than another sweaty rendition of “Dancing Queen”), Tufts comedy is in good hands.