Trickling in long before the show's scheduled start, excited BC students filled the O’Connell House, spreading winter coats across chairs to secure the best view of the show. The energy was palpable. Families, guests, and students alike were chatting enthusiastically, eagerly anticipating the upcoming hour of entertainment.
BC’s beloved My Mother’s Fleabag is the oldest college improv comedy group in the country, boasting alums such as Amy Poehler. The members perform short-form improv comedy, meaning their sketches only last a few minutes and are entirely made up on the spot. These sketches are organized in the form of “games,” which are different scenarios with their own rules and requirements that the Fleabaggers follow. Other than the rules, the actors have the liberty to make the show anything they want. Each show is entirely unique, despite the similarity in the games they play.
One popular Fleabag tradition is a joke that goes “185 blanks walk into a bar” where the audience provides a category to fill in the blank, and the Fleabaggers provide the punchline. The jokes were delivered cleverly and at an impressive speed, keeping the audience on their toes and eager to participate.
Another game involved Jenna Postiglione, MCAS ‘17, one of the two senior directors, interviewing an audience member. During the first show, she interviewed an audience member about his seemingly boring day. Then, the cast went on to act out the events of the interviewee’s day, transforming even the most mundane task of buying milk and putting it into the refrigerator into a hysterical quest to choose the right refrigerator.
To close out their show, the members of My Mother’s Fleabag donned tights and boxers, and performed a series of One-Hit Wonder songs, with the words rewritten to pertain to BC culture. Although this was not technically improv, it was good comedy nonetheless. Highlights included a re-make of “Hey There Delilah” by The Plain White T’s where a Newton boy is singing to a girl in CLXF, telling her to wait for him while the bus comes to bring him to Upper, a version of “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega that talked about the almost inedible food at Mac, and a tongue-in-cheek recreation of “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Riders that mocked the BC football team and shamed the head coach Steve Addazio for his questionable plays.
The BC-centric performances were incredibly on-point. Perhaps that is what audiences love so much about comedy groups—it’s your life, only funnier. The audiences laugh because they are entertained, and they laugh because it’s true. My Mother’s Fleabag did a fantastic job including the audience, particularly the fleabag alumni who came to the 10 p.m. show on Saturday. Even the rival BC improv comedy groups, Asinine and Hello...Shovelhead!, were laughing in spite of themselves.
The timing and quick-witted responses are impressive, to say the least. It is difficult to imagine coming up with jokes that funny on the spot, so hats off to you, Fleabag, for an incredible fall showcase.