Spookbeak: Hauntingly Funny

Paulina Prosnitz, Maroon-News Staff

Colgate’s student improv group Charred Goosebeak performed their annual Halloween show “Spookbeak” in the basement of the Creative Arts House (CAH) on Friday, November 1st at 7:00 p.m. Charred Goosebeak’s shows are notorious for rowdy humor and quick-paced banter. As the only improv group on campus, Charred Goosebeak’s member selection process is extremely competitive—producing a small yet extremely talented group every year. Current members include seniors Lydia Culp and Paul Jung, juniors Griffin Fenady, Nathan Sterne and Henry Claudy, sophomores Mandy Duncan, Alexandra Bornozis, Matt Martinez-Sutton and Alexandra Curtin as well as first years Maddie Brew and Pedro Martinez. 

As the performers filed into the room at the start of the show, they were met with hearty applause from the audience. The room was packed with students—every chair was filled and the walls were lined with people standing. The entrance way itself was so congested with eager spectators that a member of the troop had to continuously to push people further in to make space. There were about 30 chairs set out for the show, but the total number of audience members well exceeded 100. However, students didn’t seem to mind the tight squeeze.

“I loved the atmosphere in there with the lights and everything. It was super cute and casual,”  sophomore Isabel Larino said. 

The show began with the performers stating their names and revealing their costumes. They quickly moved into the first game called “Half-life.” The premise of this game is that three members perform a skit using a non-geographic location suggested by someone in the audience. The skit is repeated several times, and with each repetition the length of the skit is cut in half. Using the prompt of “plane,” the three members constructed a scene where two pilots drunkenly turn on autopilot, who in fact is an actual person. The skit got progressively funnier as the members scrambled to convey the story in a shorter and shorter time frame. 

The next game was titled “Fill in the Blank.” Much as the name suggests, the game involved members pointing to five audience volunteers at certain points in the skit for random word input. This skit focused around an adulterous man having a conversation with his mistress. The group then moved on to “Ding Dong,” a game where the word “ding” makes a performer change the last thing he or she said, and the word “dong” makes he or she change their voice or accent. 

The most popular game of the night, however, was “Genres.” In this game, the same skit is repeated using a different genre each time, which is chosen from audience suggestions. The repeating plot was of a grandmother, grandson and father at a baptism in which the grandson failed to pass the required swim test for the baptism. 

One line that had the audience members cackling was from performer Mandy Duncan—“We have very buoyant genes. That’s why our family can’t go skinny dipping, everything’s just out.” The first repetition of the skit was regular, followed by a soap opera, horror and musical rendition. Each one seemed to draw more and more laughs from the crowd. 

Sophomore Crinny Woloson was impressed by Duncan’s performance. “[I want to give] a quick shoutout to Mandy’s accents, impressions and general hilarity,” Woloson said.

Duncan summarized the experience from a member’s point of view. “The night had good vibes,” Duncan said. “Everyone was goofy and just having fun.”