By Lydia Glen
When Kevin Malone from “The Office” said that his dogs were barking, he wasn’t referring to his feet, but rather the dogs of Fireplace Puppies.
This year marks the 11-year anniversary of the group, but within the past three years, the group has begun to hold auditions for new members. Following these auditions, the group will meet to discuss ideas members may have for sketches or ones that members may already have written.
The theme of this year’s February 9th performance is the circus and the freak show.
“[It] provides a narrative arc for the show, which the sketches will fit within,” said senior Kyle Munshower.
The other sketch comedy group on campus, the Alter Boyz, is a long-form comedy group, with more of a focus on the events occurring on campus and humor specific to CSB/SJU in a style akin to Saturday Night Live comedy shows.
Contrarily, the Fireplace Puppies have a specific theme for their shows, meaning many of the sketches will relate in some way to this topic. Past themes have included “Art,” where members dressed up as
artwork, and “Time & High School Personas.” With this year’s theme of the “Freak Show,” comes with a message.
“It’s okay to be a freak. The concept of a freak is a social construct, and all of us are weird sometimes,” Munshower said.
In finding ideas for sketches, the group looks to a variety of sources.
“[We’re] scouring the dark side of YouTube and soaking up all of the disgusting things that are on the internet. Unless [IT Services] is wondering where those searches were coming from—then it wasn’t us,” senior Kevin Duong said.
As the meetings progress, the team becomes more organized and the sketches begin to take shape. Members also use everyday situations with a touch of humor as inspiration for their skits.
Sketches vary greatly, with some lasting seven seconds, and others lasting as long as five minutes. Some of the hardest skits to perform are those with sound or video components, as timing has to be consistent. Senior Stage Manager Lindsay Janke has been working with the group for four years and has a good idea of the group dynamic, as well as experience in theater productions.
Some of the groups’ favorite sketches include one about Little Red Riding Hood, as well as a sketch about the Queen of England. However, each sketch has something special.
“All of the sketches are my favorite, because they are all great in their own way,” senior Katy Rasmussen said.
With the performance coming so quickly, members are excited to finally have an audience.
“We think we are really funny, but we never really know if it is funny until there are people watching us,” said Munshower.
On the other side of things, as the show comes closer, Duong discussed the negatives of performing in front of their peers.
“What are we not looking forward to? The gurgglies, the wobblies, wallowing in self-doubt, the lack of sleep and rickety joints,” Duong said.
These symptoms, according to Munshower, are otherwise known as the “Sketch Show Shakes.”
The group is optimistic about their performance and look forward to students attending.
“This is something that is perfectly tailored for college students on this campus. You don’t have to be into art to enjoy what we make—it’s for everybody,” Munshower said.