The improv comedy group Scatterbomb held their third annual bit show on Saturday evening, March 24 in Hayden 100. The team of students, who typically perform long-form improvisational comedy, took on the challenge of short-form improv and games.
Students and alumni filled Hayden 100 quickly, leaving little to no seats left in the small theater. But before finding their seats, they were greeted with two hats and some instructions: on one slip of paper, write a type of film genre. On the other, write a common catchphrase. Later in the show, the Scatterbombers utilized these audience suggestions, much to the enjoyment of those in attendance.
As 9 p.m. hit, Sean Feeley took the stage, dressed formally in a suit and grabbed the microphone off of the stage’s podium as he introduced each member of Scatterbomb and welcomed them to the stage.
The first bit was called “stage fright.” The gist was simple: members Aeden Roney and Madison Blecki both created a slideshow presentation for the other. The catch was that neither of them knew what they would be presenting on until they were in front of the audience during the show. For Blecki, she stumbled her way through a powerpoint on the “hottest anime girls.” She attempted to translate Japanese characters and discussed her favorite anime films. For Roney, he presented on the topic “why steve buscemi is an absolute babe” and pointed out each of the actor’s stunning features.
Next came the first bit using audience suggestions, with the game “catchphrases.” A few pairs went through this exercise, fitting ridiculous catchphrases out of their pockets as they went along with the improvisational scenes that Felley laid out before them. With Roney and Jackie Hanna, the two were on their way to a Home Depot to get supplies for Roney’s new gazebo, which his wife told him would be built in honor of “I bless the rains down in Africa.” The room exploded with laughter at the unexpected Toto reference.
If there’s one thing that the bit show is known for, it’s the use of lighting. The team called their next bit “zoo crew” and turned off all of the lights. Using one simple spotlight, the team members would enter from either side of the stage, be given a random pairing of people and then would have to improvise one-liners from the time the light turns on then quickly turns off. Hilarious pairs included “Zoey 101 and iCarly”, “Ned and Coconut Head from Ned’s Declassified”, “Mike Pence and a woman” and “Kevin Donald and Kevin Donald.”
Another classic bit was the “backpacks” bit, where four members pack four backpacks with random junk. The person doesn’t know what they’re about to pull out and will have to go along with it in order to make the scene work. Angela Benevenia pulled out a giant ceramic rooster cookie jar, Erin McWilliams revealed to the crowd cleaning supplies, Feeley found in his bag a leftover cup from SmashBurger filled with random objects and Blecki had a tiny backpack overflowing with googly eyes, most of which were stuck to science goggles.
Back to the audience suggestions, Feeley served as director of the next scene with RJ Aparri, Roney and McWilliams. The group performed a scene at a ski resort until Feeley called “cut.” He then told them to redo the scene, but this time, as written on the audience member’s slip of paper, an erotic film. They redid the scene with the same presence, but fitting it to the genre. Feeley called cut again and turned it into a horror movie. Finally, Feeley decided to let them perform the scene as a high school musical.
Then, the lights turned out again and Donald and Aparri took to the floor. It was time for everyone’s favorite bit: shadow puppets. The very visual improv bit began at the original bit show, with Donald and Scatterbomb alum Will Lamparelli. The two lived together and one night they decided to mess around with shadows on the walls. The rest was history, as the bit is still a fan-favorite to this day.
Nearing the end, Jenn Bueti and Donald took to the stage with cell phones in hand. They planned on doing improv in the most nostalgic way they knew how: prank phone calls. First, Donald tried calling the church of scientology but there was no answer. He then tried calling Domino’s Pizza, but they wouldn’t pick up either. Someone from the audience shouted out a friend’s parent’s number and Donald tried that.
The man picked up and Donald told him he was calling from a Yonkers Clinic asking about a study of men’s wrist-size. The man uttered nonsense and something about being retired as the audience stifled a laugh, trying to remain quiet for this unsuspecting man.
“This is like scary […] I didn’t get you guys to sign any waivers,” said Donald to the crowd as more people yelled suggestions of people to call.
Bueti tried her hand at prank calling, only to leave a message for a voicemail box that wasn’t set up.
The pair ended on a high note, as Donald called Bueti’s sister, getting information from Bueti as he was on the line. He claimed he was a classmate in her psychology class and then she hung up.
But the night did not end there. Feeley introduced the final bit as “jalapeno-prov”. As the scenes progressed, the team would have to eat spicy chicken wings or jalapeno slices. The group was reduced to tears in seconds and chugged milk to help them get through. A trash can was placed at the edge of the stage as a precaution.
Struggling to maintain their composure, Scatterbomb called it quits with tears streaming down their faces from the spicy food. The crowd applauded as the bit night came to a close.
As always, the members of the group lined the Hayden 100 hallway to chat to their friends and thank students for coming to the show.
McWilliams was available to speak to The Quadrangle about her very first bit show as a member.
“It was a little different going into it. Before it’s been a little more open in the sense of what we’re allowed to do. This one provided a little more a challenge to produce something funny within the limits of the games we played. But it helped to section it off into the little bits we did. I guess that’s why they call it a bit show,” said McWilliams.
Picking a favorite bit of the night was a tough question, but she soon settled down on two.
“My favorite bit of tonight, one that I was in that I personally enjoyed was in that was the director’s cut in which we did the different scene changes because I liked the different perspectives that we can do on the same general format. But I have to say, the jalapeno-prov really stole the show. After that everyone was crying,” said McWilliams.
Host Feeley also found enjoyment in all of the bits in general, since short-form improv is what he is familiar with before joining Scatterbomb.
“Will [Lamparelli] was the host last time and I actually joined Scatterbomb as a short-form type improviser so I’ve done a lot of Whose Line [Is It Anyway?] games before and now it was like ‘anyone want to be a host? Oh! Sean can do it. He’s done the Whose Line games before.’ It was like a natural fit,” said Feeley.
As for his favorite of the night, it seemed that he would have to pick all of them.
“I really liked ‘stagefright’ because it was similar to Impractical Jokers. But I do have to say, Whose Line are my absolute favorite games to play. It’s funny regardless of how it goes and it was definitely top-tier,” said Feeley.
During the jalapeno-prov, Feeley had the honor of being the server and not having to eat a single bit of tear-inducing spicy food. However, it did put him in a dangerous predicament.
“I am awful with spicy food or any type of hot food. Total lightweight. I am the mildest of mild salsa kind of guy. Not even a big scoop with those scoop chips, just like a dip and that’s okay. I’m like ‘that’s the amount of spice I need.’ So it was nice being the server for that. But I had the most dangerous job because I had placed myself between them and the trash can so that was one of the scariest moments of my life– my life flashed before my eyes,” said Feeley.
The next Scatterbomb show will be in Hayden 100 on Friday, April 13. For more information, the group encourages you to follow their new Instagram account: @scatterbombmc