On the main stage at King Theatre for the first time, the fan favorite sketch-comedy show Wicked Sketchy will feature funny sketches and musical numbers written and performed by students.
First performed in 2014, Wicked Sketchy began as a 1212 play—a Milton tradition named for the former room in Warren Hall where pared-down, intimate performances were staged—giving students an opportunity to flex their comedy muscles. Last fall, the show moved to an outdoor tent to accommodate audience restrictions during the pandemic; for the first time, the show had a stepped-up production, said director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Peter Parisi.
“We were able to see the impact that lighting and sound design had on the show, and it just raised the stakes,” Parisi said. “It’s certainly evolved.”
This year, the show has about a dozen sketches, including some musical numbers. Students brought their ideas for sketches to the group, and together they fleshed out the ideas. Writing comedy is hard work, particularly for a show with a broad audience of students and adults.
Cast member Maggie Dudley ’25 explained that fine-tuning the sketches involves a lot of balance, but the feeling of getting something to work feels like “striking gold.”
“It is quite hard to find a sweet spot with a sketch where its pacing and structure works, as well as its relatability to the audience and comedic timing, but it really pays off once it’s done correctly,” Dudley said. “My favorite kind of comedy is the kind that bonds people through shared experiences that maybe embarrassed them or made them feel self conscious before. I enjoy using comedy to make people feel less alone in the world by not taking ourselves too seriously.”
“The questions are always: ‘What’s funny about it? And how could it be funnier?’” Parisi said. “We had a lot of ideas. Some of them went through zero iterations and were just ready. Others went through many iterations and will never see the light of day. We’re always working to make them funnier.”
Owen GwinnLandry ’23 remembers seeing Wicked Sketchy when he was in eighth grade and knowing he had to be part of it. Collaborating with the other sketch writers and performers has made him laugh to the point of tears during the process. The supportive atmosphere makes it possible for the wildest ideas to be explored, he said.
“It’s just a fun show that people should see if they want a laugh,” he said. “Plus, all the sketches are written by students, so it’s nice to come and support your peers and see what they’ve cooked up.”
This year’s 12 cast members are planning sketches that poke fun at pandemic hoaxes—during the bubonic plague—explore some Boston-area tropes, parody a game show, and perform a bee-based version of Hamlet. “It’s so silly, but it’s a lot of fun,” Parisi said.
Wicked Sketchy will run for three shows in King Theatre: Thursday, November 3 and Friday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, November 5 at 7 p.m.