Just to see you smile (and laugh)

By Samantha Lee

No — I wasn’t spending my Friday night getting booze spilled on my shoes at Station’s. Instead, this song, and several other favorites like “My Neck, My Back” by Trina, was part of the opening soundtrack to Potted Meat’s first sketch comedy show of the year this past Sept. 28. The name of the group’s first show was “Lobsters and Rainbow,” named by Potted member and buzz music columnist, Brian McGovern. Why lobsters and rainbows? Apparently, McGovern found a nice picture of a rainbow at 5 a.m. and decided its juxtaposition to a lobster would allow the hilarity to ensure.
“I think people may have been upset that there was no tie in with the actual show, but I think it fits because we’re pretty non-sequitur and incongruent.”
He’s definitely got that right.
Potted Meat comedy troupe has been on the U of I campus for a little over 10 years now. The origins of the group are slightly foggy, and the current members of Potted have attempted to learn the origins without much avail. All they were able to find out was that the group was founded sometime in the mid 1990s. Brian McGovern, Rich O’Dwyer, Eric Roth, Lauren Rodriguez, Vanessa Prokuski, Laura Woodward, and Kevin Reader make up this year’s cast. Of the seven members, Laura and Kevin are new to the comedy group.
Every semester Potted Meat puts on two original shows. Each of the shows contains new sketches, so each show is unique. During the two months that lead up to a show, the comedy group writes, edits and perfect dozens of sketches. In the end they put around 20 of these sketches into the actual show.
The group puts a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears into their comedy — all to make you laugh. A lot of thought and effort is put into the sketches, even the order in which they’re performed. New member Kevin Reader, 25-year-old theatre history graduate student, explains how they “throw in some easy jokes in the beginning, just to get the audience ready to laugh. You don’t ever want to overwhelm them.”
Ready to laugh? The audience at Potted’s first show was more than ready to laugh. The comedy group kept the Channing-Murray alive with raucous laughter the entire night. Each of the 21 sketches was absurd and hilarious — and sometimes even a little messy. Don’t be surprised to see the members douse themselves in mouthwash, toothpaste, body oil, cereal … you name it. The group members involve themselves physically and emotionally to their sketches, keeping the audience constantly entertained.
You can catch Potted Meat in the homecoming variety show. They’re MC-ing the entire thing. “We’re collectively going to be like Ryan Seacrest,” says McGovern.
See them do anything to make you laugh again at their own show on Nov. 30 at the Channing-Murray. Channing-Murray is located at 1209 West Oregon and the show will only be $3. If you’d like to know more about Potted Meat, e-mail them at [email protected]