“Talented people are restless at their core.” -Lorne Michaels, Executive Producer of Saturday Night Live.
Jamison Shimmel is restarting Covenant College’s semi-annual Comic Relief sketch show. The event is expected to be about an hour long, and will showcase a series of new skits and comedic short films.
Unlike most of the college’s theatre department shows, Comic Relief has always been student organized. Many students will remember the most recent Comic Relief, which was produced by English major Jacob Davis for his SIP in 2013. Before Davis, the show was run by Matt Trexler, who coordinated it in 2011.
Shimmel is a Senior, majoring in Spanish and leads Covenant’s Laugh Track improv team. According to Shimmel, he became interested in reviving the project because he had a great experience acting in the last show and didn’t want the idea to die out.
“The goal was to take something that I love doing, recreate it, and give other people the opportunity to do something fun this spring,” says Shimmel.
Shimmel’s philosophy is that Comic Relief provides a unique opportunity for people who are not in the theatre department to showcase their comedic talent. Due to the show’s flexible and laid-back environment, it is easy for funny people who are not normally “theatre people” to get involved and have an audience.
As Shimmel says, “It’s the time for the non-performer to perform.”
Shimmel also hopes that this year’s show will pave the way for the campus community to continue hosting Comic Relief for years to come.
“My vision as of right now…is to replicate SNL,” Shimmel says.
Shimmel handpicked the writers of the sketches himself. Their first brainstorming meeting was in January, at Shimmel’s house. Since then, the sketch writers have been working in teams to polish their ideas into full scripts. After writing is completed, Shimmel will select the best scripts, create an order for the show, and then find actors, a host, and potentially a musical guest to suit the event as a whole. Shimmel consulted with Davis as well, who Shimmel calls “a huge resource” for inspiration and logistical and organizational advice. Comic Relief is being sponsored and funded by CAB for at least some of the costumes and props.
Shimmel will direct the skits himself, beginning after Spring Break. Shimmel intentionally wants to practice each skit only 2-3 times in order to leave room for comedic inspiration on stage. This is another tactic used by Saturday Night Live, where performers regularly rely on cue cards to remember the new skits written and filmed live each week.
“With improv it’s a blast, and it’s very similar to Whose Line, but this is a totally different ball game…” says Shimmel. “I know people that are writing who have had ideas for years, and now they’re coming to light, and it’s working; it’s just something different and exciting.”
While some of the sketches already have performers cast, interested performers, freshmen through seniors, are encouraged to email Shimmel at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Comic Relief will be performed for one night only on Saturday, Apr. 11.