Boris’ Kitchen is fairly well-known around campus. You can spot a member of the group coming from a mile away. From their members’ iconic black shirts with signature font worn around campus, to the simple design sets in their shows, Boris’ Kitchen is unlike anything else at Brandeis. With this in mind, it’s hard to believe that they’ve only been holding an annual sketch comedy festival for 12 years.
Last Friday and Saturday nights, Boris’ Kitchen and their groupies occupied the Shapiro Campus Center. The first half of the show consisted of opening acts; on Friday, Yale’s Fifth Humor and EVIL, a duo of Brandeis alums, began the show with well-written sketches. Saturday had even more opening acts with Cornell’s Skits-o-Phrenics, Tufts’ Major: Undecided and the professional troupe Pangea 3000. I can’t vouch for the Saturday night openers but I heard they were just as comical as Friday’s openers were.
Fifth Humor started out the night with a sketch that follows an awkward “morning after” involving two college kids getting breakfast. In this situation, the boy requests to say grace before the meal. This is all good and well, but the grace goes on for an incredibly long time, much to the chagrin of his one-time bedfellow. As he starts to pray for the “Lord’s blessing” in case he decides to start a new life as a result of the previous night, things start to get really awkward. “Keep that life to yourself!” ends the sketch as the female screams towards the heavens. It was refreshing to hear a joke incorporating Christianity for once.
EVIL gave a peek into the future of only the most talented Boris’ Kitchen members. Consisting of alums Amy Thompson ’11 and Sam Roos ’09, EVIL began with a game of Russian roulette. They followed this with a little diddy about David Crockman; set to the Davy Crockett theme song, David Crockman is the lawyer on the wild frontier. Their final sketch featured a giant—composed of Amy sitting on Sam’s shoulders, who was wearing a large coat that went to his ankles—walking onto the stage. Questions were given to the audience before the show.
“Do you practice religion?”
“No … I’m already great at it!”
“What do you do with a Brandeis education?”
Sam pops open the coat, “You’re lookin’ at it kid.”
After a brief intermission, it was time for the main event. The lights rose to Briana Bensenouci ’12 as a cat asleep in pajamas. The rest of the sketch plays off of “the cat’s pajamas.” Boris’ Kitchen doesn’t take themselves too seriously, with troupe members heckling from the audience.
One of my favorite sketches is what’s called a “runner.” A “runner” is a running joke that involves small sections of the sketch that appears several times during the show. It’s all from the point of the literal elephant in the room, played by Rachel Benjamin ’14, whom everyone refuses to appreciate. In the second section, the elephant meets a donkey whose tail has been pinned one too many times. In the finale of the runner the elephant has decided to seek professional help. “Do you know how hard it is to NEVER be acknowledged?” the elephant cries. The back of the therapist’s chair is toward us. “How should I know?” As she begins to turn around she says, exasperated, “I’m just a silly goose!”
Unfortunately for those attending the Friday night showing, there were some slight technical difficulties. One of the sketches, number 13 to be exact, was a video sketch. Something decided not to work, so we missed it altogether. Thankfully it was fixed by Saturday and the video is now available online.
The video sketch, the full brilliance of which I was not able to enjoy since I had to watch it on my computer, was about a couple. The boyfriend (Yoni Bronstein ’13) bakes a cake for his girlfriend (Talya Davidoff ’12), then leaves said cake alone with his roommate (Paul Gale ’12). If anyone knows any Brandeis students, they would have realized that this was a poor choice. The temptation is too great and an eating love affair begins between the roommate and the cake, a truly romantic and sensuous relationship. When the landlord (Christopher Knight ’14) walks in on the commotion, he pauses to question and then joins right in, devouring the cake with Gale, both like animals. Finally the boyfriend gets home with his girlfriend in tow. She is astonished. Astonished enough to join the feast. All I can say is that I’m glad this skit wasn’t filmed in my kitchen.
Every single sketch Boris’ Kitchen performed was written for this show, a common occurrence at Brandeis events. In the Boris’ Kitchen annual sketch comedy event, the talent of the writers, actors and those behind the scenes really shone.