Robber Barons deliver laughs with ‘Passive Aggressive’

By

JIN ZHU/The Stanford Daily

Many jokes seem to be overdone in comedy sketches — awkward first dates, middle school parties and the like — leaving viewers frustrated that they didn’t spend those 10 dollars on food or perhaps a nice margarita. Two things are fortunate about the Stanford Robber Barons‘ spring show: first, it’s free to students, and second, they avoid any inanity with considerable success.

The 11-person sketch comedy group’s spring show is entitled “Robber Barons: Passive Aggressive,” and though the title doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the show, it is certainly worth seeing. It began immediately after I arrived, as Carlo Pasco ’13 greeted the viewers in a pair of boxers and a 70s mustache, assuring them, “I usually look like this.” An hour and 15 minutes of hilariousness ensued, as the lights went up to reveal two wig-donning lords feigning grandiose accents and giving each other dainty chest bumps.

“Passive Aggressive” runs through over a dozen sketches in its allotted time, which of course means that it touches on over a dozen random topics in that short period. What makes the Robber Barons so successful, though, is that they cater to their audience — Stanford students — using topics such as Bing Overseas Study Program interviews, the “bro” life and hippie teachers, while, of course, sticking to the politically incorrect topics such as illegal immigration and starving children in Africa. The Robber Barons, however, do a great job of turning those entirely inappropriate topics, such as “editing your Facebook profile picture to make people think you care about other cultures,” as well as seemingly random ones (including a confrontation between a knight and troll in a video game) into the most hysterical skits.

A particularly stand-out sketch was a scene from a PWR 2 class, where an overly eager and delightfully awkward student (Ellen Cerf ’11) gives a presentation on Britney Spears, taking most of her speech to closely analyze some of her biggest hits. The best sketch of the night, though, may have been a dialogue delivered by Josh Freedman ’11, as a thickly accented rabbi listing off the absurdly similar names of some of the members of his congregation.

Though the show is somewhat of a mixed bag of tricks, with certain skits delivering better punchlines than others, the overall spectacle is hilarious and undoubtedly worth an hour of time. Better yet, you won’t miss dinner.

“Passive Aggressive” is showing May 19-21 at 8 p.m. in the Geology Corner Lecture Hall 320. Tickets are free for students and $10 for the general public.

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