Special Issues » 2008 Charleston Comedy Festival

Harvard Squares

No poopy, sexy, farty jokes, please

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Harvard Sailing Team
Thurs., Jan. 17, 8 p.m.; Fri. Jan. 19, 8 p.m.; $12.50; Charleston Ballet Theatre; www.harvardsailingteam.com

Our favorite faux Ivy League comedians, Harvard Sailing Team, are back. As you recall, this New York-based sketch comedy group made a big splash at Piccolo Spoleto last spring, leaving a huge buzz in their wake.

Returning for the Charleston Comedy Festival, they promise new bits but all with the same outrageously intelligent laughs. "We've made a slow but definite transition," says co-founder Chris Smith. "We've gone from larvae to a beautiful butterfly."

It's a lesson in movement to see nine individuals perform synchronized slapstick. Of the five women and four men in the troupe, all but one of the members trained at NYU's Tisch Drama School. There, they took an intensive year-long improvisation class that helped encourage the members to form the team. Chris Smith and his childhood buddy (and only non-Tisch grad) Billy Scafuri are the main writers, but all members lend ideas and help massage scenes.

You'll recall a sketch involving a camera. Three members ask teammate Rebecca Brey to take their picture. She agrees then calmly takes the camera, hands it to one of them, and poses for the picture with the other two teammates.

Perplexed, they smile and take the image then attempt again to have Brey actually take the picture of them. This time, she steps away from them, leans down, then scoots the camera across the floor back to them, and gives a warm smile. What ensues is a Waiting for Godot-like farce, where the cyclical action of a warped everyday occurrence becomes the joke.

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