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June 16, 2024

Buttered Niblets brings humor to “Rush Week” show

By AMANDA AUBLE | February 12, 2015

During the peak of the Hopkins Greek Life recruitment season, the University’s only improvisational comedy group, the Buttered Niblets, performed their first show of the semester. Titled “Rush Week,” the performance filled the Arellano Theater on Feb. 6, despite the fact that sorority “bid night,” the final reveal of sorority invitations after a week-long selection process, was happening just above in the Glass Pavillion.

“Well, every show we do a theme,” sophomore Buttered Niblets Member Will Bernish said. “Because two of our freshmen members, who are both girls, were rushing sororities this week — they couldn’t be in the show because they had ‘bid night’ or something on Friday — and because of the general atmosphere, we decided this theme would be ‘Rush Week.’”

The audience walked into the theater greeted by loud music that even inspired two Niblets members to dance along the wings of the stage. At around 8:15 p.m., the entire Niblets cast kicked off the show by tossing candy out into the audience.

The first improv game performed was titled “Small Town” — a twist on a complete-the-story game. With help from an anonymous audience suggestion, the Niblets had to use their own quickly-devised characters to describe “The Day the Cyclops Came to Town.”

Sticking to personas that one might find in an actual small town, the game required each member to find ways to keep the narrative flowing while inciting laughter from the audience. Before long, the Niblets had created a love triangle and, soon enough, a love square between the townspeople and the cyclops.

Another game that involved audience collaboration was titled “Slacker.” A volunteer from the crowd was asked to interpret an ink blot design displayed on one cast member’s iPhone.

Hoping to generate a humorous scenario, the Niblets asked for an audience member with an “already twisted mind.” The random audience member lived up to this expectation as he suggested that the image looked like a castle with two dildos.

In the game “Oscar-Winning Moments,” the Niblets poked fun at drama films by raising emotional tension in a ridiculous scene. After asking the audience for an adjective and a profession, the Niblets created a scene with senior member Morris Kraicer starring as a lonely mortician.

Whenever a Niblet yelled “Oscar-winning moment” from offstage, the character speaking had to bring a dramatic twist to their role. This lead to insightfully funny lines, such as when the mortician muses while holding imaginary body parts.

“Feet are the foundation of people,” Kaicer said.

Two cast members took on the roles of every character in the game titled “Tyler Perry.” Just like the actor known for taking on many roles in his films, such as his famous character Madea, junior Niblets members Matt Moores and Pamela Hugi were tasked with portraying multiple people at one time.

Given the audience-selected setting of a space station, Moores and Hugie switched erratically from character to character, which ranged from space crew members to wacky, unorganized alien invaders. At times, the pair managed to generate more laughter as they ran into each other on stage.

The final improv game of the night was a twist on the usually dense, complex language of Shakespearian plays. Sophomore Ezekiel Goodman and senior Matt Myers played off of each other as Goodman imitated eloquent speech while Myers took on a simple, unexpected tone.

“My friend Zeke, the only other sophomore in the group with me, and I, we love this game where we do a Shakespeare play in the show. There’s also a game called ‘Three Arrows,’ which is a bunch of historical comedy, but it’s funny to us,” Bernish said.

In the past, the Niblets have scheduled their shows to allow for seasonal themes, such as Halloween and Winter Wonderland. These themes usually do not affect the performances as the Niblets tend to stick to their own improvisational games.

The games themselves serve as the means to make each show diverse. Although the “Rush Week” show itself did not focus on or make fun of Greek life, the laughs mixed with the muffled sorority cheers that could be heard from the Glass Pavillion upstairs.

“I think it went well. I think the show was good. We were actually really surprised at how many people came because we thought there’d be less people due to rushing stuff,” Bernish said.

The Niblets also noted that this show marked the final performance of Moores and the senior cast, as Moores will be studying abroad later in the semester.

The Niblets are just getting started this semester, and they plan to announce at least two more shows set to take place in the Arellano Theater.

Those looking for a smaller venue and possible refreshments can also keep an eye out for some Niblet performances that will be held in the Bamboo Café located in the Mattin Center.

“We should have at least two more regular shows in Arellano,” Bernish said. “We usually have three shows a semester, but recently we’ve been doing smaller pizza party shows in the Bamboo Cafe. We give out free pizza and sometimes the people from the Bamboo Cafe will give us the sushi that they didn’t sell. It’s just a smaller more intimate kind of thing.”

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