Your Goose is Cooked

Your Goose is Cooked

Thomas Wiley

Colgate students should be able to recall an activity from their childhood where one would make duckbills out of the Pringles potato chips. A kid would take two of the curved chips put them between their lips and form a nice, rounded beak. This kid could then imaginatively reenact some of activities of a waterfowl, for instance, by making muffled honking noises through a clenched jaw. Take this concept, but set the potato chips on fire and let them burn down and the result is Charred Goosebeak, the undergraduate version of this popular ritual as well as a founding principle behind Colgate University’s storied student comedy sketch group.

All right fine, maybe the part about setting potato chips on fire was a bit of a fabrication and the other part about it being a founding principle of a Colgate comedy group equally so, but the one thing from the past description that is very real is Charred Goosebeak, the zany, brilliant comedy sketch group that performed this past Friday at the Barge Canal Coffee Company shop, to a full house.

While fire, in any form, might not have been involved, effervescent, which means burningly exuberant, is the word to describe this group’s comedy. In fact, effervescence, the word, factored into one of their sketches on Friday night. In a sketch called Debate, two paired-off cast members, who were not allowed to talk, tried to get their partner to say a word chosen by the audience by silently cuing in charades while the partner staged a debate over global warming with the other team. Do you follow? Effervescence was the word. Breaking the word down into smaller chunks, the performers frantically invoked everything from PETA (fur) to the shampoo Herbal Essence (scents) to guide their team to a win.

Friday night’s performance, nonsensically entitled The Fraternity of Assassins, featured several comedy sketches like Debate, many of them just as elaborate in structure. The creative, often complicated, format of each sketch kept the audience guessing throughout and also allowed the performers to take advantage of some inspired comedic opportunism.

In a sketch called Alan Thicke, named after a character from the television show Growing Pains, five characters, each with their own quirk, at first known only to themselves, populated a setting chosen by the audience. On Friday the setting happened to be an airplane. Thus the intrusively overweight passenger had a fairly long discussion with his neighbor in their imaginary coach seating before realizing that she was four years old. The sketch also featured a flight captain that displayed a noticeable interest in his flight attendants, sort of a mischievous Sully Sullenberger, played, of course, by a female cast member.

Friday’s cast included four returning seniors – Tessa Drake, Ben Hoover, Steve Naidu and Conor Tucker – who together organized and co-led the group. Also returning was sophomore Ryan Diehl. Making their debut were four first-years – Max Brody, Haley Mirr, Joseph Petracca and Morgan Staffaroni.

Charred Goosebeak found its start when the cast of Colgate’s original comedy sketch group, Broken Lizard, graduated and took the name with along with them to fame and notoriety. Best known for several film projects made into major motion pictures, including Super Troopers and Beer Fest, Broken Lizard is now widely recognized for their outrageous, deliberately over-the-top humor. Charred Goosebeak, keeping the tradition of naming themselves after damaged fauna, has had big shoes to fill. Friday night they took those big, clumsy shoes out for a walk in good fashion, keeping a Colgate legend alive and ever irreverent. They will be performing their act again at the Barge on Friday February 26. Don’t miss it.