St. John’s improv club, the Bad Astronauts, lit up the D’Angelo Center last Thursday, Nov. 16. A room filled to the maximum with both family and friends vibrated with laughter, some of which could be heard in the empty hallways of the D’Angelo third floor. Throughout the night, the team exhibited how their amazing quick-wit and cohesive teamwork skills could culminate in an evening sure to remember.
The Bad Astronauts’ show, like most improv shows, was centered around different improv games that both audience and actors can participate in to create something zany and unique to each show.
One highlight of such a game was “Freeze.” In “Freeze,” actors begin in a position designated by the audience and once the skit has begun, any other actor could tap them out and assume their current position. When the audience shouted out the outlandish combination of a crab walk and Usain Bolt’s uncanny celebratory pose to begin, the crowd knew they were in for a wild ride. These particular poses led to a skit centered around a territorial line-in-the-sand-drawing crab and his interactions with a passerby, sending the crowd into explosive laughter.
“I really loved the show. Me and my friend were dying of laughter here, like we’re slapping our knees. It was really really funny and really really great,” junior chemistry major Lauren Ruiz reflected on the event. Ruiz is a dedicated fan of the Bad Astronauts and has been attending their shows since her freshman year at St. John’s.
Some highlights of the night included a skit involving a holiday court scene decorated with a disinterested elf, a mall Santa, a memorably hilarious overeager child and a surprise guest appearance by Ted Bundy.
Later in the evening, as the skits further developed and built comically, perilously upon each other, a socialist utopia in Rhode Island built upon a system of taffy distribution appeared. Strange accents and the even stranger affinity for referring to the sea only as the “salt water,” made this skit one for the history books.
As a first-time audience member to the Bad Astronauts’ shows, I believe their strength comes from those instances where the characters and situations descend into complete and total chaos. When the story makes no sense, somehow the comedy makes sense. They play off each other beautifully, as they add another ridiculous layer, because they trust that the other will be there to catch it.
Something that Bad Astronauts are particularly skilled at as well is their ability to not get caught up in their mistakes and instead, to make brilliant jokes out of them. In a skit where a schoolground bully was reciting her previous text message and, in what seemed like a mistake to the audience, accidentally misused a comma. Another actor was able to catch this mistake and called the schoolground bully out on it matter-of-factly. The rest of the skit was then based on the proper use of commas in the bully’s threats.
A similar occurrence happened further into the night when an actor, in what again seemed like a mistake to the audience, could not think of a response to a question and so repeated “You should…” for what seemed like minutes, and catapulting the room into laughter. No mistake is a mistake for the Bad Astronauts.
“I think these people are really talented. I know I can’t do any of this stuff of the top of my head. But yeah, really hilarious stuff and this is actually my first time, so I’m glad I’m here and I’ll definitely come back in the future,” freshman Gabrielle Magallanes said.
A great way to relax after a stressful week or to laugh with friends, the Bad Astronauts can put on a great show, full of charisma and an easy-going attitude. The Bad Astronauts can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @sjuimprovclub. Look them up and I hope to see you at the next show!