By Taneen Momeni
Comedians, musicians, writers, and more at the University of Maryland came together to create and perform Maryland Night Live May 6 for a full house in the Stamp Student Union’s Colony Ballroom.
Replicating the style of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” the cast and crew put on an almost two-hour long show filled with sketches, musical guests, and stand-up acts, with the background ensemble providing music during set changes.
Co-founders Sammy Garcia and Walker Green felt there was an empty space on campus and wanted to bring all of the comedy groups on campus to fill it.
“There’s never been an event that brought them together,” Green said of when they pushed for a “SNL” format of the show.
The show began with an animal rap battle between a campus squirrel and a guide dog, and it was refereed by reigning champion Testudo. Ending in a campus squirrel victory, the featured cast members welcomed everyone to the show shouting, “Live from College Park, it’s Maryland Night Live.”
Host Garcia combined his comical and musical talents in order to interact with the audience. His warm and energetic monologue maintained the audience’s attention throughout the opener and the rest of the show.
Following the opening monologue, short sketches featuring actors and comedians, such as seniors Julia Zhen and Joey Barber, sophomore Stephanie Moy and freshman Koki Belikow, were presented. With sketches like a Jeopardy parody, a technologically advanced homeless person and Kermit the Frog, the comedians kept the audience laughing throughout each sketch.
Head writer and senior Zach Phillips was the first stand up act of the night, and he continued to add to the high energy from the acts before him. Touching upon multiple topics during his set, Phillips spent most of his time on his grandparents—who were in the crowd—as he imitated their co-dependent style of storytelling that audience members could relate to with their own grandparents.
Moy and junior Ronuk Johal starred in a sketch about being taken to the twilight zone in the library late at night. The twilight zone consisted of nightmares regarding Johal’s education as he was threatened by President Wallace Loh. The familiar name caused a big reaction from the crowd.
The first musical guest, Tayo Omisore (who goes by Tayo O.), performed original songs from his debut EP “FONT.” Joined by background actors during his last song, O. created a visually engaging set along with his calming music.
Continuing with the short sketches, the featured players performed silent one woman broadway shows, slam poetry dedicated to being a white USA bro, and a customer who asked where her white nail artist is REALLY from.
Weekend Update head writer and senior Jackson James delivered the second stand-up act of the night. Beginning with the spelling lessons he learned because of porn and ending with Joseph and Mary’s sex life, James balanced his crass jokes with a comment about how when he had a shaved head, he looked like a monkey just happy to be around people.
The first digital short imitated a movie trailer about a salad-eating protagonist, exhibiting the filmographers’ work half way through the show.
Following Salad Guy, superheroes Slapper and Butt displayed their superpowers as they saved the world from the villain, played by sophomore Bardia Memar, through their butt-slapping time-warping capabilities.
Before the last stand-up act, a Toyota employee accidentally offended a customer with the non-inclusive “Happy Toyota-thon” greeting.
Featured player and senior John Hedrick joked about his fashion style, identity as a mixed-race person, and a motivational speech about the future, declaring that everything will be okay. Asking all the cast members to him on stage, Hedrick delivered the first joke he had ever written about falling on your asshole, leaving the audience slightly uncomfortable, yet inspired.
Barber and Memar delivered a provoking sketch about a detective interrogating a suspect. Instead of normal interrogation methods, the detective, portrayed by Barber, tortured the suspect by pouring his milk before his cereal, drinking orange juice after brushing his teeth, and eating a mustard filled oreo. Successfully forcing a confession through shock and disgust, Barber caused many people to stand up and fill the room with gasps and groans.
The final digital short showcased gym rats at the library with their gigantic water bottles, tank tops, and excessive need for already-in-use equipment and rooms. Bumpy Balls Dustin followed with a self-promoting introduction to his speech at his father’s funeral.
News anchors Zhen and Phillips gave the local news in UMD Alerts. Joined by guests, such as a college girl who loves her boyfriend, UMPD Sgt. Samuels and Phillips’ dad (played by Barber), the writers relayed relatable topics about students’ post-graduation plans, ineffective tactics to stop crime on campus and the campus party scene.
Benny Roman wrapped up the musical portion of the night. Accompanying himself on the guitar, Roman performed one original song and two covers of songs by the Beatles and Paul McCartney.
The cast and crew ended with two final sketches. The first one involved a woman auditioning for a role in a movie as a British woman having sex. The final sketch portrayed a job interview where despite an applicant’s questionable tweets about Shrek, Guy Fieri and incest, he obtained the job at Fox News.
Through rigorous and intensive planning and rehearsal, the entire cast and crew pulled together a smooth and engaging show that kept the audience laughing the entire time. Those interested in joining Maryland Night Live next semester can find more information at mdnightlive.com.
Featured Photo Credit: Taneen Momeni/Bloc Reporter.
Taneen Momeni is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.