Nitrous Oxide’s satirical and slapstick student-written routines were complemented by energetic and captivating acting.
The show, directed by senior Andrew Ruttenberg and sophomore Mikayla Alford, ran Feb. 7, 8, and 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theater. The venue’s intimate setting allowed audience members to have a closer connection to the comedy and acting.
The cast’s evident chemistry provided snappy and hysterical dialogues. “The sketch writing in the show is fantastic,” said senior Andrew Ruttenberg. “It’s a consistently hilarious show that’s extremely diverse in it’s comedy such that anyone who comes to the show will at least enjoy a lot of it.”
Nitrous addressed relevant social issues with a critical and humorous eye. The skit WokePurpp by senior Achille Ricca was about a rapper under pressure to comply with the status quo for the hip-hop industry rather than pursue more profound and socially conscious themes. At one point, the rapper succumbs to the pressure he is under, and his 180-degree turn in lyricism provided a punchline in the plot. WokePurpp presented a well-delivered satirical take on the industry.
According to Ricca, the support from directors largely helped his ability to perform.
“Mikayla and Rutt are great directors, and they really gave us freedom to explore in our writing,” said Ricca. “Rutt and Mikayla really made an environment where we could experiment with sketches and that made the sketches funny.”
A prerecorded mock Pepsi Commercial by Achille Ricca that premiered during Act Two. The commercial poked fun at major corporations that exaggerate their products relevance and connection to national identity.
The parody joked about how Pepsi was the only thing Americans can find common ground on and sarcastically showcased its diversity as a critical selling point. The short film provided a comfortable break from the live performance, and its daring script made for a memorable addition to the show.
While the show covers heavier topics, Alford emphasized the show’s light-hearted spirit. “When people see the show they should just have a good time,” said Alford. “It’s just a really nice time for everyone to laugh and have fun.”
Grandma Showdown, by freshman Angel Wan, focused on two hyper-energetic grandmothers competing to see who fit into the stereotype more. To be stereotypical grandmothers, they smothered their grandchildren, showed off their stale, old candy, and even broke out in a rap battle at one point. The assertive and lively dialogue between the grandmothers sold the performance.
Another notably outrageous and amusing effort in Act One was How the Grinch Stole My Kidney by Harry Minsky. Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ iconic rhyming, the Grinch used morbid humor and malignant verses of poetry to tell the audience his plan to sell a fan’s kidney on the black market and profit monumentally. The gruesome humor utilized in this skit proved how dynamic sketch writers could be in their joke writing.
The opening and closing sketches of the show featured the entire cast. The opener started with actors finding a dead body and trying to identify the perpetrator. The skit ended on a cliffhanger and was picked up again in the closer with a detective claiming to have identified the criminal at hand. The combination of skits successfully bookended the show in a way that left the audience with a pleasing ending.
“It was a four-month long process, and they spent a lot of time dedicating their energy to make sure that it was as funny as it could be,” said junior Iris Wang, a stage manager for the show. Wang added that she hopes the audience enjoyed the sketch’s scripts. “It makes us laugh so hopefully it made the audience laugh.”