'Best yet' Revue scores with audiences
By MOLLY McSHANE
If there is one thing college students cannot get enough of, it's crass, inappropriate, perverted humor. If there are two things, it's that and cheesy television theme songs.
The young men from Keenan Hall came through with plenty of these popular items this weekend in their 24th annual Keenan Revue. During their opening speech, director Mike Romanelli and producer Matt Johnson stated more than once that this year's review was the "best yet." Maybe it was the fact that it was the last show of the year, or maybe it was the hundreds of girls in the audience all waiting to dance the night away, but this Saturday's performance of the Keenan Review was a spectacular event.
The show opened with the unveiling of "Keenan, the Barbarian" (a short, skinny kid trying to lift a large sword), and of course, his 250-pound "sidekick." The music and narration created a certain amount of excitement and anticipation for the rest of the night, but what first got the audience cheering was the use of the word "hung" when describing the barbarian. And thus, the mood was set.
Granted, the show was not all penis jokes and fart noises. There were also some impressive musical acts, like the enjoyable performance of "You Shook Me All Night Long," complete with a fog machine and mini-fireworks. Adam Martzke was indeed a talented performer, but the crowd may have gotten a little restless without the choreographed dance by numerous young men in "wife-beaters."
The Revue also included acts that were not meant to offend or cause nervous laughter. There was the amazing piano playing by Kevin Dowdell, who (even without back-up dancers) captivated the crowd with his remarkable talent. Christopher Welch wowed the audience with his magician skills and a piece of rope (or many pieces). These acts were not only extraordinary, but also a nice break between urinal ballet and half-dressed men clanging themselves with pots and pans.
Some outstanding individual performers emerged from the Keenan Knights this Saturday as well. Ryan Cunningham entertained the masses with a short stand-up routine. He discussed, among other things, the overwhelming amounts of pornography found on the Internet these days. It seems that even his innocent research on the topic of "sweet, sweet donkey loving" led him to sites based on porn. And who could forget Mike McKegney's touching song, "Captain Willy Finger Puppet?" His childhood memories are now also our own.
Naturally, campus issues were a main focus of the sarcastic wit provided by the men of Keenan. Stealing from the Dining Hall, the contentious squirrels and, of course, gender relations were subjects that got big reactions from the audience. Particularly amusing was the skit involving the employees at the computer clusters whose solution for everything — including a dismembered hard drive — was to "reboot your computer and remember to save often."
Another successful skit in Saturday's performance was the one entitled "First Phone Call," in which four guys attempted to explain where exactly gender relations went wrong at Notre Dame. The problem apparently started with the infamous "first call" between future roommates before their freshmen year of college. Two young men enacted the female call, and two others enacted the male call. The women were naturally very high-pitched and full of squeals; and the men were cool and laid back. The female roommates were calling each other soul mates, while the men were being careful not to sound too excited about a video game the other had. One of the women said that she wasn't planning on taking her "skanky" dress to school, because she "couldn't think of any reason why she would want to look attractive at Notre Dame." That line got an immense reaction from both sexes in the audience, although perhaps for different reasons.
And, of course, there were jokes about religion. Pontius Pilate's guide to getting out of awkward situations, Jesus getting hammered at the 'Backer and DARTing into the afterlife are all subjects not touched upon in the theology courses provided at Notre Dame. But the risqué nature was what made these sketches the success they were. However inappropriate, the line "Thank you Pontius Pilate, but no thank you for killing Jesus Christ" got big laughs from the many practicing Catholics in the room.
The main controversy over the Keenan Revue is whether or not the jokes are too cruel, too insensitive, to be told at a public event. As much as people would like to feign offense when they are inadvertently called hairy and unattractive, one cannot deny the hysterical laughter that was going on in the O'Laughlin auditorium this weekend. Jokes about a drunken Jesus Christ blaspheming our God are shameful in theory, but when some guy is up on stage dressed as the Son of Man Himself stumbling around plotting to turn water into wine so He can get more wasted, the ridiculousness of it washes the conscience away. After a few tense giggles and a glance to your neighbor, relaxation ensues and you realize that sometimes it's all right to be politically incorrect. Sometimes it's even fun.
All Scene Stories for Monday, February 7, 2000