Gonzo Makes You Laugh, Cry and Ultimately Smile on the Inside

On February 21, this last Thurs- day EMU hosted the infamous Gonzo production. Second years Phil Yoder and Elisha Keener were the esteemed hosts for this beloved campus tradition. This show featured seven short skits entirely written, directed and acted out by students. In addition to the skits there were also a competition involving prospective students and the seasonal tossing of candy into the crowd.

The show was lewd, crude, obnoxious, clever and entirely entertaining.

The program of the evening entailed skits directed by Curtis Handy, Erica Beck, Thomas Millary, Andrew Mead, Emma King, Dylan Bombgardner and Nick Custalow.

The skits largely varied in character, each with a unique style and mes- sage or theme. “Money for the Poor” was a social commentary about the treatment of “hobos” and misconstrued relationships between the disenfranchised and rich, ending with a surprise murder. The opening skit set the tone for the evening; I was surprised to see some familiar first-years acting in very offensive ways as they “attacked” a poor old woman living on the streets. The dark humor and twist at the end made it memorable though. “Special Olympics” was a mocking commentary about cultures of shame, reality TV and fascist Germany. It featured a team of suicidal players competing for the title of best “group suicide” and ending with a humorous monologue by the coach as the team quietly slipped off stage.

The third skit was a literal and verbal spar between two Greek and Trojan soldiers who ultimately discovered their shared commonalities regarding

ideas about theological doctrines ranging from humanitarian polytheism to Laconian Hegelianism, arriving at the fact that they were both actually Atheists. The dialogue in this skit was clearly amusing, but the theological semantics left some, including myself, a little left in the dust.

The fourth skit was an over dramatic and crude funeral at which the “deceased” had actually faked his own funeral to teach his friends a lesson- and in a move of ultimate irony committed suicide.This skit was perhaps the most vulgar in terms of language, but it still had decent entertainment value. Halfway through the evening there was a pause in the skits to treat five prospective students volunteered by- their hosts to a short game involving blindfolds, balloon popping and the participation of the audience.The fifth skit depicted an aged couple grieving the end of the Hostess Company and rejoicing over the discovery of the “last Twinkie”. The sixth skit was more sobering as two unborn twins narrated the moments leading up to their birth and agreed that the boy could enter the world first, at the price of the life of the girl. It was an intriguing, heart- felt and sad skit and really contrasted with the other skits of the evening, and

I was not entirely sure how to interpret it. The final performance of the evening involved a pirate, subtle commentary about racism and a murdered parrot.

Co-host Phil Yoder said about the Gonzo, “It made me laugh, cry and more than anything it made me smile inside”. Elisha Keener said, “I was excited and terrified to do this Gonzo on the prospective student weekend. You can never predict how a Gonzo will go, you may have the best script and actors but if the audience isn’t enthusiastic it will flop. It’s all about audience participation. If the audience is energetic it will be great, if not it won’t go so well.” This Gonzo however was a success.

Rehana Franklin

Categories: Style

Leave a Reply