Charred Goosebeak Brings Improv Back With Their “PUBlic Intoxication”

Alanna Weissman

The day before Valentine’s Day, dozens of students crowded into Donovan’s Pub to see the first show of the semester by Charred Goosebeak, Colgate’s prestigious improvisational comedy group. Though not all of the performers could be on stage that day, seniors Joseph Petracca, Max Brody and Jason Taylor, junior Robert Wechsler, sophomores Seth Martin and Lami Mason and first-years Zah Abt and Blaire Preiss entertained the crowd with a variety of tried-and-true improv games, such as perennial crowd favorites “Ding” and “Last Line.”

A highlight of the evening was when the group played the “Wallet Game,” in which an audience volunteer allows the members of Goosebeak to go through his or her wallet and perform a skit based upon what they find. This particular evening, the volunteer’s wallet contained especially interesting items, such as a business card from a cab driver named Jihad Amad and a Gerber health insurance card, leading to jokes, in the group’s signature off-color style, about going to strip clubs with cab drivers and secretly being a baby.

Indeed, audience participation was an important element in the show; one particularly enjoyable game, called “Scrib,” had audience members write down the name of a public figure and an (often lewd) action at the start of the show, which the group then read aloud and performed at the end of their set. This led to entertaining combinations such as “Santa Claus sexting” and “Honey Boo Boo fighting,” which group members then interpreted with a multitude of actions and punch lines.

For some Goosebeak fans, this show was highly anticipated and provided a look at what is to come for the group.

“After being abroad last semester, I was excited to see what games, punch lines and surprises this year’s Goosebeak had in store for comedy fans at Colgate,” said junior Aaron Tobert. “I was not disappointed, and I look forward to seeing future performances.”

“I’ve been an avid Charred Goosebeak fan since my first year here, and their hilarious improv games keep me coming back for more,” seconded another attendee, junior Jason Kraus. “This year’s group has a dynamic mix of members that complement each other’s sense of humor perfectly, contributing to an outstanding show.”

Indeed, Goosebeak members themselves were pleased with the way the show went, and also stress the importance of audience participation and feedback.

“As far as first shows go, we were very pleased by how smoothly everything went and ecstatic about the turn out,” said junior Robert Wechsler, who has been in Goosebeak since his first year. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the comedy is based a lot on how involved the crowd becomes: the more involved, the funnier the show will usually be. As entertainers, we really feed of the energy of the crowd. In regards to the group, the chemistry at this moment feels right and we all have a pretty good understanding of each other; another must for good comedy.”

“Overall, I really love Goosebeak and can’t wait to be on stage again making people laugh, because really, that’s what it’s all about,” Wechsler said. “Well, that and the groupies.”