NSTV presents the darker side of comedy

    The good old days of Northwestern Sketch Television themes like “NSTV goes to the Zoo” and “NSTV at the movies” are gone. NSTV has ditched its (relatively) clean image for darker and edgier content in this year’s show — “So Funny, It’s Scary!”

    Tomorrow, NSTV will lay down the red carpet to showcase a feature-length film of sketch comedy at Tech Auditorium. Students will get a chance to see a total of 33 new original skits.

    NSTV is Northwestern’s only filmed sketch comedy group. More than 60 students write, direct, shoot, edit, promote and act in sketches. They have been featured on sites including Funny or Die and atom.com. One of their sketches won first place in in Second City’s 50th Anniversary Sketch Comedy competition this year.

    The Friday premiere promises gore and violence. Their horror theme is exceptionally apparent in the opening sketch, in which a film crew shoots a horror slasher flick. But every time the killer bursts out, the film crew screams, forgetting that it’s just a movie.

    Co-director Daniel Siegel developed the idea for this sketch this past summer.

    “I was thinking, I hope the sketches I make this year are going to be so funny that on set, people are just going to start laughing in the middle of takes,” he said. “Then I wondered if that ever happens on horror film sets. You’re trying to do your seventh take, and the film crew just starts screaming.”

    Comedy and horror are similar in that they both attempt to elicit a physical reaction, Siegel added. Horror films try to make you scared, and comedies try to make you laugh.

    From its inception in the mid-1990s, NSTV has traditionally created comedy sketches that appeal to a large audience. Siegel remembered that as a freshman, he was told not to write anything taboo or topical. The writers were asked not to swear too much, and avoid sex and violence because they’re too easy.

    “While I agree that some topics can be too easy, a lot of times college students like the edgier content,” he said. “As long as you go about writing and directing it in a smart, unique way, it’s going to be rewarding when there’s some shock to it.”

    This year’s NSTV premiere will contain a lot more twists and turns than before.

    “There’s definitely some graphic violence. There’s definitely a lot of swearing and some questionable, politically incorrect content,” Siegel said. “But it’s all really fun, and I think it’s going to be extremely entertaining.”

    The NSTV Premiere will be held on May 21 at the Ryan Auditorium from 10 to 11:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5.

    Updated 5/21/10 4:10 p.m. to correct transcription errors. Thank you to Dan Siegel for pointing out the mistakes — NBN regrets the errors.


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