The next Zach Braff: Chris Poole and Pat Bishop
Communication seniors Chris Poole and Pat Bishop aren’t making a kids movie. Their screenplay for Running Fox, a Studio 22 production, depicts a group of fifth graders and a running joke about checking for signs of rape. Yeah, not exactly Disney Channel fodder.
Macabre humor is Poole and Bishop’s signature, a tone they share with ‘97 alum Zach Braff, who made his premiere with the Studio 22 absurdist comedy, Lionel on a Sun Day.
Running Fox is about a boy named Henry, his fascination with Native American culture, and the lesson he learns at the end. “It’s just the wrong lesson, because it justifies being a serial killer,” Bishop says. “It’s an anti-moral story.” Poole says his childhood in rural Iowa inspired much of the film.
What do the two think of Braff? “I mean, we both do go to Northwestern and are interested in filmmaking,” Poole says. “I feel like we could fight him if it came to that.”
The next Stephen Colbert: Tim McGovern
In his first weeks as a freshman, Communication senior Tim McGovern saw the comedy troupe he would one day lead. “I remember I was so impressed by Mee-Ow. The second I saw them I was like, ‘This is what I have to do,’” he says. Thus began a busy comedy career at Northwestern, just as ‘87 alum Colbert had when he transferred to Northwestern as a junior. McGovern also joined the Titanic Players as a sophomore.
This year, he’s a head writer for Waa-Mu, something that translates to his future plans. “I’d love to be a writer/performer. That would be the most optimal thing because I like doing both pretty much equally,” he says.
What does McGovern think of Colbert? “He’s the kind of performer I want to be, or hope I am, but there is no way of really knowing that,” he says.
He even had a run-in with Colbert himself. In 2006 when His Truthiness was Grand Marshall of the homecoming parade, then-freshman McGovern shouted “I love you, Mr. Noblet!” to which Colbert responded “Right back at ya!” A reporter ran over to ask what he meant, not knowing that Chuck Noblet is Colbert’s character from TV series Strangers with Candy.
The next Andrew Bird: Benjamin Zoll
Like ‘95 alum Andrew Bird took a classical violin education and turned it into contemporary music, Bienen senior Benjamin Zoll, a jazz studies major on trombone, takes his musical training and applies it to electronica and hip-hop.
“I feel if you understand the music at its core elements better, then you can manipulate those elements to create a better overall track,” Zoll says.
Known as “Ink” as a producer, Zoll began creating hip-hop tracks his senior year of high school. “I can create any sort of music or style that I want, and I can, depending how much effort I want to put on a particular track, make exactly the way I want,” Zoll says.
Zoll also plays the guitar and piano as well as jazz trombone. Andrew Bird also had a taste for jazz: he led several jazz inspired groups.
Zoll has worked with artists from all over the country, and is currently collaborating with Northwestern rapper Jordan Looney, or J.Loonz.
The next Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Jen D’Angelo
As a part of her nonfiction creative writing sequence, Communication senior Jen D’Angelo met with one of her professors to discuss her writing style. Her professor complimented the humor in her pieces, but something concerned him. Alongside the humor, there was an undeniable sadness.
This dichotomy has become D’Angelo’s signature at the Northwestern comedy scene. “That is the kind of thing I’m really drawn to in terms of what I like to write,” D’Angelo says.
Although she considers herself more of a writer than a performer, D’Angelo has established quite a hefty résumé on the improv circuit at Northwestern, joining the Titanic Players as a freshman and Mee-Ow as junior.
Her work with the renowned improv group Mee-Ow, a credit she shares with ‘82 alum and comedienne Julia Louis-Dreyfus, incited ambitions to end up working in a writer’s room someday. “Mee-Ow worked so well together…and I think being in a writer’s room is very similar because it’s all these people getting together to make each other laugh and get really good material on the air,” she says.
D’Angelo is also the playwriting chair for Vertigo Productions and has had two of her plays produced.