Rathskellar’s second annual “You’re Not My Real Dad’s (RETURNS!)” was even better the second time leading the audience to laugh out loud for the entirety of the one hour show. Rathskellar, Emory’s improv comedy troupe, and Dad’s Garage, an Atlanta comedy group, worked together to improvise to both new and familiar games.
Last spring, Rathskellar brought in three comedians from Dad’s Garage to act out sidesplitting scenarios. While Rathskellar never fails to disappoint, the addition of Dad’s Garage upped the comedic stakes.
This year, Rathskellar welcomed back Dad’s Garage improvisers Tommy Futch and Rueben Medina, who were phenomenal at last year’s performance. In addition to the veterans, Tom Rittenhouse, another Dad’s Garage comedian, made a much appreciated appearance.
All of the Dad’s Garage comedians were exceptionally talented. Futch’s complete and utter willingness to be himself and delve into any character from southern politician to an exotic parrot reminded me of why he was my favorite performer last year. This year, however, Rittenhouse took over the stage expressing himself using outlandish facial expressions and crazy body convulsions. His ability to act so bizarrely and yet so fittingly for the specific scene made the whole experience more enjoyable to watch.
The evening began with a game known as “Pitch It,” in which Rathskellar members pitched ideas for the next big blockbuster movie to Futch, a curmudgeonly producer who hates most ideas. The best pitch, entitled One Eyebrow, One Love, was made by College senior Marisa Guarino.
When Futch asked to see a scene from the movie, College seniors Natalia Viator and Josh Jacobs quickly took up strands of Viator’s long locks to use as unibrows, which sent the audience into fits of laughter.
Another improv game that always pleases is called Shakespeare. In this game, the comedians are given a present-day scenario that they must act out using old Shakespearean English. This time, the theme was one to which all college students can relate — sexiling. While sexiling is something with which we are all familiar, hearing the concept described in Shakespearean tongue made the whole thing ten times more entertaining. From “placing a stocking on the entryway to the abode” to “ladies of the morning, afternoon and evening,” College senior Julia Weeks and Dad’s Garage’s Medina were uncomfortably accurate in their interpretation.
Though Rathskellar’s regular games are always popular amongst the audience members, this time there were two new games, “Act Harder” and “Raise The Stakes,” both of which forced actors to up the ante by encouraging them to completely absorb themselves in their on-stage personas. “Act Harder” would have been a regular Rathskellar scene with a location and a non-sexual relationship petitioned from the audience but for the continued audience participation. Anytime they felt the desire, members of the crowd could shout “Act Harder!” and the actors would have to all of a sudden give it their all, from yelling to crying.
“Raise The Stakes” was similar to “Act Harder” in that each time Jacobs instructed the actors to “raise the stakes” they had to drop a bomb into the scene. This particular scene was acted out by College sophomore Jemma Giberson and Dad’s Garage’s Medina. The scene: a bride and a bridesmaid, best friends looking for the wedding dress; the bomb: “remember that time we killed a man?” This response was so out of character and yet so believable that it led everyone to double over in their seats.
By far one of the best games of the evening was “Body Language” featuring College sophomore Mike Green and Sloan Krakovsky along with Dad’s Garage comedian Rittenhouse. In this game, an interviewer (Krakovsky) interviews an expert (Green) on a particular topic and a third person (Rittenhouse) must act out what the expert is describing.
The topic was adult diapers and Rittenhouse made the scene come alive with wild facial expressions and jumping around on stage. Constantly pulling the diapers on and off and squatting were just some of the bodily movements that were interspersed between embarrassed expressions. My favorite movement was his graceful, ballerina-esque jump into the river when the topic turned to the flotation abilities of the adult diapers.
Words just don’t do the scene justice, you really had to be there.
The evening ended with a new Rathskellar tradition, a long form. The long form gives all members an opportunity to act out free-form scenes that are all somehow interrelated. The best scene of the long form involved College freshman Jay Gillen, College seniors Rebecca Han and Neel Ghosh with a special appearance by Dad’s Garage comedian Futch. Gillen was a pirate who had previously dated Han. Ghosh of course played Han’s new boyfriend and Futch was the parrot on Gillen’s arm. From puns involving the sea to Ghosh’s epic joke about not realizing his girlfriend’s ex worked at Red Lobster, the room couldn’t catch their breath.
Coming up with ideas on the spot is hard. Coming up with ideas on the spot that are funny and make some sort of sense is next to impossible. Despite this, Rathskellar and Dad’s Garage manage to make it look easy. Whether you go to relax, support friends or avoid homework, the shows are always entertaining. If you haven’t treated yourself to a Rathskellar show, find out when the next one is and clear your calendar, I promise you won’t regret it …
– By Annie McNutt, Staff Writer