Robber Barons light up stage with spring show

May 17, 2013, 12:04 p.m.

Sometimes the best way to look at the world around us is by laughing at it. In “SketchX: Robber Barons,” the student sketch comedy group’s spring show does just that. In a collection of skits that last about an hour, the Robber Barons manage to make fun of aspects of campus from pre-major advisors, to frats, to totem poles, to themselves. By setting their show in the Geology Corner, right in a classroom, the feel of college and the campus they are making fun of becomes even more apparent.


The Robber Barons work as a company to create their shows, and that sense of company is visible in their performance. They each brainstorm and write skits throughout the first five to six weeks of the quarter before they begin the editing and rehearsal process. Their collaboration creates many different types of skits, including one reminiscent of Dr. Seuss and another examining a support group for only children. Head writers Brady Richter ‘15 and Henry Schreiber ‘15 do a great job with all these varied topics, keeping the cleverly written skits fresh and exciting. The transitions between these contrasting skits are done well; director Tess McCarthy ‘16 creates a fluid show, with music that relates to the theme of the show connecting the skits to one another.


However, no matter the topic, one thing is consistent across all skits: Political correctness is thrown out the window in this hilarious and irreverent show. Framed as a TED Talk about what makes a successful world leader (hint: for any of you wishing to go into politics, it’s a less than appealing physical appearance), the show makes creative use of varying devices such as poetry, song and even a discussion by a student’s body parts. A particularly memorable skit about the airline industry manages to make fun of racial stereotyping, language barriers, dialect differences across the country and corporate workers’ inability to think on their own, all in one skit.


The “Dora the Explorer” skit satirizes dozens of aspects of campus life. McCarthy’s Dora asks the audience to go on a quest with her to find her keys from her previous drunken night. Another standout skit pokes fun at spoken word poetry: Kevin Hurlbutt ‘14 gives a hilarious and memorable performance with his incredibly creative and witty poem. Indeed, the skits revolving around campus issues are the most relatable, and, because of that, they are among the funniest and strongest of the show.


From laugh-out-loud jokes to more subtle humor, the Robber Barons provide a skit for everyone. Their group effort is evident in the way they work together and play off of each other’s energy. They showcase a vastly differing array of skits and are sure to bring absurdity and hilarity to Geology Corner this weekend.


SketchX: Robber Barons will be playing May 16th and 18th at 8:30 p.m. in the Geology Corner.

Noemi Berkowitz is the Chief Theater Critic and a desk editor at The Stanford Daily. She is a junior from Lincoln, Nebraska, double majoring in theater and psychology. You may see her reciting Shakespeare, wearing tie-dye and hiking. Contact her at noemi11 'at'

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