By DUBRAY KINNEY
For The News-Letter
The Buttered Niblets, the University’s improv comedy group, performed their third show of the year and pulled off a hilarious variety of characters, scenarios and settings, all thought up on the spot during Friday night’s show.
The Buttered Niblets is a group of eight improv performers, with three new members who debuted at the performance last Friday. The show served as a great introduction for the three, as well as a great introduction to the group for any new viewers.
The three new members were freshmen Jayne O’Dwyer and Bryan Li and sophomore Kyra Lesser.
The full group also includes junior Will Bernish, sophomore Phoebe Gennardo, senior Matt Moores, senior Neil Chapel and sophomore Freddie McCall.
The show worked with the Niblets providing a “game,” or comedic situation, and the audience then filling in the parameters of the game.
For example, in the first game, Lesser threw a pretend party and while she covered her ears, the audience shouted out the suggestions for the three people who were attending. Lesser had to guess what each person’s quirk was as the set played out. (Things that were chosen for the characters included smells bad and being blind.)
Another interesting situation was that when four members — Li, Moores, O’Dwyer and Gennardo — each pretended to host a different radio show with the theme and title of each show being shouted out by the audience.
The lights dimmed, and when a flashlight hit the face of one of those on stage, it meant that the dial had turned to their show.
Li’s show revolved around a startled host exploring haunted farm houses. Moores focused on cute dogs in silly outfits. O’Dwyer’s show titled “Chicken Nuggets” focused on a presumably young child getting into radio equipment when her mom is away. Gennardo’s “Famous Toasts of Famous Faces” was quite descriptive of the actual content.
Each performer managed to make their show funny and unique by the time the beam of light got to them, with the comical over-reactions of Li being a real highlight as well as the breathy voice choice by Moores for his show.
Another great segment was that in which the newer members told an interesting story about their lives. The veteran members would listen to these stories and twist certain portions into entertaining spectacles.
Li’s story focused on the hectic intersection of bus schedules, internships and turtle salesmen, O’Dwyer shared a story of being struck by lightning at summer camp and Lesser’s tale was one of costume-wearing spite toward a person at her former university.
With each story, the Niblets vets managed to take the expected and twist it into directions that were both strange, fun and most importantly funny.
Highlights included members Bernish and Moores doing a riff off the story of O’Dwyer, pretending to be two adolescent girls. In her story she mentioned that two girls had told the rest of her summer camp that she had died. Moores and Bernish took this idea and ran with it, pretending as if their characters thought they were gods.
The progression of the jokes was also noteworthy. In one of the story-response situations Bernish acted as a neglectful father who didn’t feed his children (played by Gennardo and McCall) but instead offered food to his turtles.
This culminated in the second part of the joke in which McCall attempted to trick Bernish by pretending to be a turtle before a fourth character (played by Chapel) stole the food with McCall and both ran away. Outlandish situations like this were the norm for the Buttered Niblets who take their place as one of the many eccentric groups at Hopkins.
As the show wound down, one of the performances that really stood out was the final one, a sort of initiation for the newer members. In this performance, which only the new members participated in, two people riffed off the crowd-chosen location (a casino) while the third immersed their head in a bowl of water.
Comically, towards the middle, though the person with their head in the water continuously tapped the table in an attempt to be tagged in, the people in the middle only tried to drag out the conversation.
The applause at the end of the show and the roaring laughter throughout were great heraldings in of the 2015-2016 Buttered Niblets roster, which any humor-seeking student should watch out for.