REVIEW — Brandeis’ sketch group Boris’ Kitchen is one of the few performing companies that I enjoy and continue to return to. Their jokes don’t land every time, but I always end up laughing harder than I expect to going in. There are usually a few jokes in each show that kill.  Comedy is subjective, of course, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. There were quite a few scenes where I didn’t laugh out loud. I would only smirk at a joke while the rest of the room would boom with laughter. It’s just how I react to most comedy that doesn’t match my style. Yet, oddly enough, Boris’ Kitchen still entertains me. The cast is full of contagious energy, and the joy they bring to their audiences is commendable.

Last week’s mid-semester show, in which they performed old sketches written by cast members who have already graduated, seemed to be quite funny to most of the audience. I did notice that, as time went on, the sketches got significantly funnier. We went from a somewhat forced interest in pizza bagels to hysterical prognoses for sexual inadequacy from Dr. Seuss and a very unhealthy yet hilarious obsession with Jackie Chan (speaking of which, his new movie “The Foreigner” is to be avoided, as he is the only good part. If I were to tell you I gave the movie a D+ despite Chan’s charm and positive contributions to the movie, it should tell you how bad it is).

The comedy show was directed by two of the group’s actors: Perry Letourneau ’20 and Sarah Sharpe ’20. Their job, aside from being part of a few sketches, is not really a noticeable one. If your show transitions smoothly, your joke execution is on point and all of your sound and lighting effects are correctly implemented into each sketch, then you’ve done a good job as director. And they were, so bravo! Like in many art forms, if you’ve done your job right, people will think you didn’t do anything at all.

As for the cast, they performed phenomenally. However, there was one standout I will be looking out for in all future Boris’ Kitchen shows: Dane Leoniak ’20. He danced and sang as the satyr Pan, he indifferently confessed to cannibalism to an unsuspecting therapy group as Jeffrey Dahmer and he drew Jackie Chan’s face on his chest in magic marker. Leoniak stole almost every scene he was in, but that’s not to say the rest of the cast wasn’t just as funny. 

Claudia Davis ’19 was hysterical as an intentionally misleading clown-lawyer, Jason Kwan ’20 was rhyming ’til our sides split as Dr. Seuss, and Anderson Stinson III ’21 was an ambivalent devil with everyday problems he solves with murder.

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OY VEY: Yael Matlow ’18 and Jessica Cocomazzi ’21 act in a skit about oversharing at the hair salon.  

The remaining cast should be casually commended for their performances. They may be getting most of the setups in this show, but they’ll get the hilarious punchlines in the next one. It’s the teamwork between the 11 actors that must be acknowledged, as the setup is just as vital as the punchline. The remaining cast, who did great jobs alongside the directors Letourneau and Sharpe, were Alan Omori ’20, Jessica Cocomazzi ’21, Mira Garin ’19, Rodrigo Granados ’18 and Yael Matlow ’18.

Among this praise, there is one shortcoming that I hope the Boris’ Kitchen crew will consider. Once again, my opinion is subjective and does not reflect anyone else’s interpretation of the show, but I felt that the cast overstays their welcome in a few scenes. Jokes ran too long and noticeably meandered when audiences stopped laughing at the third minute of a sketch featuring a regular lawyer dressed as a clown acting as if nothing is out of the ordinary. 

If I barely laugh while the audience is booming, imagine how I feel when they’re silent. It’s a small nitpick — just some advice to keep sketches tight and cut when necessary. After all, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”