Arts and Entertainment

Wednesday Night Live: Kate McKinnon rocks FebFest

By Abby Saks ’14

February 20, 2014

“It’s the last day of the world. Seriously, it’s fucking cold. Even the Blair Witch is frozen,” Kate McKinnon said as she “got real” with the whopping 750-plus Hamiltonians fighting off seasonal affective disorder at the Campus Activities Board’s (CAB) annual FebFest comedy show.

Strutting out on the Schambach Center’s Wellin stage like Beyoncé, the Saturday Night Live star impressed the crowd with her killer Penélope Cruz impression, her audacious “make it worse” muffin-top story (employing her very own muffin tops as prop) and her ‘inspiring’ “Thes-is A List,” a Powerpoint presentation mocking the recent progression (regression?) of liberal arts senior thesis titles—and subtitles!

Notable examples included “Lean-a-Done-Ham: An Art Installation Wherein I Leaned a Cooked Easter Ham Against Various Surfaces” as well as “Culture, Religious Belief, and Phenomenology: An Hermeneutic Anaylsis (Also Gender).”

Calling Lauren Lanzotti ’14 to the stage, McKinnon brought us back to our prospie days when she grilled the campus tour guide with her own mother’s real-life college visit questions. McKinnon began with the standard, “Where do most freshmen live on campus?” and swiftly proceeded to “What’s the legal recourse my child can take if he/she contracts mesothelioma?” After those came, “Where’s the best place to take a private poop?” and the quite pertinent, “Where can my daughter go in the event that she has a raging UTI?” Lanzotti handled the questions adeptly, despite her boss’ presence in the audience.

Lanzotti wasn’t the only Hamiltonian to participate in the show; Hamilton’s very own improvisation group, Yodapez, opened for the comedian in perhaps their best performance all year. The group presented a number of skits inspired by audience suggestions (fan favorite joke: “185 Olympians walk into a bar, but it’s not a gay bar.because we’re in Russia”).

Yodapez member Collin Spinney ’16 said of the experience: “Opening for Kate McKinnon was a great opportunity. When talking to her after the show, she was nothing but supportive and seemed really thrilled with our performance.”

This event differed from typical CAB comedy shows, and from most stand-up comedy in general, by the SNL celebrity’s incorporation of music, sound cues and a large upstage projection screen onto which her thesis title presentation was shown, as well as a hilarious pre-recorded video of McKinnon garbed in Eastern European dress and a furry, black unibrow, hopelessly “figure skating” while real-life McKinnon narrated the performance as an Olympic commentator. I speak for everyone when I say my favorite part was her crash into the rink wall, resulting in a brutally bloody face and, eventually, her death. Such added technological features enhanced McKinnon’s performance, making it much more than your average standing comedian with a hand-geld microphone and a stool.

Closing with a dramatic reading of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” McKinnon left the stage with a standing ovation from the audience. This laudatory response extended beyond CAB’s comedy show to the rest of FebFest’s incredible lineup, including Mr. Hamilton, Rusted Root and the Vagina Monologues. I would love to continue recounting the details of this event, but, unfortunately, like McKinnon, “my tamp is at capacity.”

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