Last night, ComedySoc’s Dead Ducks performed their show: Alive and kicking. Five actors (Emily Brighty, Harry Cole, Geo Craig, Elizabeth Diamond and Maxwell Smales) run up and down the stage of V/N/045 for a short hour to perform 30 sketches. I smiled a lot, laughed a couple of times, and came to the conclusion that ComedySoc is charming.
I was surprised that virtually none of the sketches were focussed on uni life. The show seemed to focus more on today’s Anglo-Saxon culture, referring to TV adverts and shows like The Hole in the Wall, office life or partying.
Let’s be real: the best kind of jokes are those targeted to a particular person or group. You want to laugh not only because it’s funny and unexpected, but also because you find a joke daring! How delicious is the feeling of a little bit of embarrassment laughing at something that’s on the verge of meanness. However, most the Dead Ducks’ sketches were closer to cute than to mean.
One of the sketches brought on stage a hungry office employee going to the vending machine and not getting his Kit Kat. That’s a very easy ending that made me smile – but not laugh.
The best sketch was undoubtedly the one on Coronavirus. Two crazy doctors burst in the room screaming that someone in the room’s got Coronavirus, and we’ll catch him! ‘The symptoms of Coronavirus are coughing, sneezing, and having the Coronavirus. If you have any of those symptoms – you’re already dead!’ they said with an evil grin on the face.
Although the rhythm of the whole performance was great from start to finish, some of the sketches could have been shortened. One of the best ones was the shortest one. Three boys on stage. The first one says ‘I collect stamps’, the second one ‘I collect bottle openers’ and the third one says ‘I collect friends’. By the time everybody in the audience goes ‘ohhhhh, how adorable’, he gets a register out and cries ‘Now sign the fucking book!’
Good comedy should also establish interaction with the public, addressing the audience and making fun of it. Last night, the five amateur comedians managed to establish direct contact with us, they looked us in the eye and addressed individuals from time to time, but didn’t quite manage to establish an improvised dialogue with us.
The Dead Ducks’ Alive and Kicking was nevertheless quite charming. The performance was very professional, and the tempo, logistics, and acting were all well mastered. I think the writing could have been a bit more daring and audacious.