MC Students Work on Set with Professional Comedy Group

by JACKIE HANNA, Contributor

This past weekend, a group of broadcasting students, along with members of Manhattan College’s improv troupe Scatterbomb, volunteered to work with members of the comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade on a shoot for a web series called “Funhaus.”

The Upright Citizens Brigade is a theater and training center based in New York City and Los Angeles. It was started by comedic geniuses Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh.

According to their website, Upright Citizens Brigade specializes in “all kinds of comedy shows: improv, stand-up, sketch, talk/variety, cool weird stuff that defies categorization and more.”

“‘Funhaus’ may fall under the category of ‘cool weird stuff that defies categorization,’” William Lamparelli, a junior communication major, said, describing the series as “a series revolving around a gender studies professor who is haunted by a misogynistic 80’s rocker named Scuzzy, who speaks whenever her make-up compact is open. Or that’s all I could gather from the couple scenes I was a part of shooting.”

The students were able to work with “well known improvisers like Sebastian Conelli and a woman who stars in ‘Seinfeld Improv’ as Elaine,” Lamparelli said.

“Having the privilege to work with a professional comedy group was hysterical to say the least,” Jillian Magenta, a junior communication major, said.

In addition to Lamparelli and Magenta, Carolyn Egan, a senior English major, said that an incredible amount of work goes into just one shot. Egan worked on the shoot the whole weekend for a total of 25 hours. “[The experience] was exhausting, but I absolutely loved it,” Egan said.

The two-day shoot was so labor intensive and the entire cast and crew was made up of volunteers, but that did not lower the morale of the shoot. “I think the coolest part about it was that everyone who was there, including all of the professional cast and crew, was not getting paid and was doing this simply because this is what they love,” Egan said.

The cast and crew were gracious hosts to the student volunteers and Egan, Lamparelli and Magenta all commented on how friendly the cast and crew was. When Lamparelli made a mistake, the crew was forgiving and Egan mentioned that an actor who was a MC alumni offered free tickets to his show to them.

“[The cast and crew] made everyone laugh and feel included, which made myself and the other production assistants comfortable on set,” Magenta said.

This was an invaluable learning experience for all of the students involved. They got to experience what it is like working on a real set and they were able to apply the skills they have learned in class.

“It was a long day with no pay, but it was well worth it to see how a professional shoot is organized and executed, even if the subject matter is silly,” Lamparelli said.