Comedy club performs at Northwood High School
For three current and former Montgomery County Public School students, their opening line is that they're published authors.
The teens are dramatists who have a collection of comedic skits that has been published and is now being used for performances and classroom education around the continent. A report from Meriwether Publishing Ltd. indicates they've sold almost 100 copies.
"The first thing we tell people is we're published authors," said University of Maryland, College Park sophomore Rachel Solomon, 19, a Silver Spring resident.
She, with 16-year-old sister Leah Solomon and friend Sara Mozersky, 16, of Silver Spring, have been preparing for the production of a whole new collection of skits, which is to be presented at the 14th annual production of the Comedy Club's "Seriously Funny: A Comedy Club Cabaret." This is the first time the event, which used to be held at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, will be held at Northwood High School. The program, along with director Harry Bagdasian, moved to Northwood from Lee this school year. Bagdasian is not an MCPS employee.
At the rehearsal after class Friday, the other scriptwriters, who have worked on comedic skits since November but have only just begun rehearsing, were as funny as their material.
"These things just sort of come to me. And I write them down as fast as I can. The number that I've gotten down on paper is far less than the number that came to me and died in my head," said junior Josh Rosen, 16, of Silver Spring.
Rosen said creating comedy is its own sort of artistic animal. "You can turn any kind of drama into a comedy if they just get married at the end," he said. "Comedy is just so much easier to write. It just comes so much easier."
The comedic skits, which range from sophomoric to hysterical, offer commentary on a teen's life and will appeal to a younger audience. The material, drawing heavily from pop culture and school culture, references catch phrases, television and cafeteria food.
Freshman Liam Brennan, 15, of Silver Spring said three of his 10 scripts made it into the play, and he tended to base his scripts on life-like anecdotes.
"You take that to its logical extreme and you end up with something that's either incredibly hilarious or obscene," he said.
Some Northwood students who come to the performances to be held on Thursday and Friday may be surprised to find skits that feature Northwood teachers acting.
"I think people are going to see something that they don't expect," Rosen said. "There's a little something for everyone and people can find something that's really funny."
Bagdasian said freshman Peter Walderhaug's mother signed him up for Comedy Club three years ago because he had no sense of humor. Walderhaug, 14, said this year's performance will be fun for everyone.
"Comedy club is for insane, crazy people. That's not just because it includes me," Walderhaug said.
Rachel Solomon also said she enjoyed this year's club.
"I think the skits are really funny. I think it's a young, fun Saturday Night Live," she said.
Will this motley group of young comedians be able to pull together their performances of olfactory comedy and mayhem in the only half dozen or so rehearsals they've scheduled? Bagdasian thinks so.
"We can count on terror to make them work harder," he said. "It's almost like magic how they pull it together."
The audience is critical to comedy, Bagdasian said. "It's my job to get them about 85 to 90 percent ready so that when they get in front of an audience, they'll fill in the rest. That's the magic of an audience," he said.
See "Seriously Funny: A Comedy Club Cabaret" 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Northwood High School, 919 University Blvd. W., in the school's media center. Cost is $3 for students and $5 for all others. Call 301-649-8088.