(Sunday) Night Live
Sunday Night Players host popular sketch comedy show at Wall Street
You don't have to travel all the way to the Rockefeller Center in New York City to catch a taste of "Saturday Night Live's" sketch comedy flavor. Not with the Sunday Night Players holding down the comedy fort over at Wall Street Night Club every month.
The small but mighty 13-man crew of sketch scribes, videographers and quirky performers has been packing the house at Wall Street for some time, with nearly a decade of experience already under their belts.
The only group of their kind in Central Ohio (classifying themselves as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender sketch comedy troupe), SNP creates, writes, produces and performs a full two-hour show packed with not only sketch comedy, but drag performances, fully choreographed dance and musical numbers, video skits and even some Irish step dancing—all of which is put together in four weeks on a pretty nonexistent budget.
"It's really amazing what they do," said Nick Dennis, a former employee of Wall Street who's been around the group since its inception and now acts as the group's emcee on show nights. "They offer something that anyone can enjoy. There's the sketch comedy and the drag show, they've had cloggers, there's been burlesque performers and the Columbus Stompers. They really try to incorporate so much Columbus-based entertainment."
"It's really not just a sketch show," said Lisa Fischer, the group's "newbie," who joined back in June. She's talking about SNP's annual fundraiser shows for breast cancer and autism awareness.
"Each May we do a show called 'SNP: The Pink Edition'," said Nicole Foulk, SNP's director since 2008. "We participate in the walk, and everything we make from the May show goes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation."
For the LGBT community, it's definitely one of the year's must-attend soirees, and this year they're planning a pretty epic extravaganza.
"This year we're going to have a lot of community performers that will be helping with the show," Foulk said. Local drag star Mary Ann Brandt, the Barevillities and the Royal Renegades (Columbus' only drag king troupe) are just a few of the acts already on the bill.
The group also does the same type of fundraiser in September in support of autism research. "We think it's really important to give back," Foulk said. And give they do, as their fundraising efforts typically draw their biggest turnouts of the year.
"We pretty much do everything," Foulk said with a slight chuckle. "Everyone in the cast writes, and most everyone performs,. We create our own costumes—it's definitely a group effort."
Over the years they've become quite adept at cracking the stiffest of audiences. Here are a few of the group's more famous characters and sketches:
A son's tribute to his mother: "I do a recurring character that's mostly based off my mother. She's Italian and Jewish with a New York attitude, and she's very blunt, even for New York sometimes," said Mason Caminiti, who joined the group two years ago after moving here from New York. "It's funny because she's never trying to be funny, but the stuff that comes out of her mouth is often hilarious."
Titanic 2.0: "We once did this rendition of Titanic to the song ‘My Heart Will Go On'," said Jackie Sansavera. "We crammed the entire movie into this four-minute song, it was pretty crazy. I also did a wicked Sarah Palin when she was relevant."
A comedy troupe that dances!?: "The dance numbers are always pretty insane," said Brie Buyaky, chuckling. "It's funny that we're a comedy troupe, but we try to do these extravagant dance numbers. But somehow we pull it off."
Herpes Helen: Buyaky also takes on the shenanigans of a grandmother with a mouth full of herpes. "It's quite foul, but it always gets a rise out of the crowd," she said.
Lesbo gross-out: "I love the gross-out factor," said Leanna Vig, an SNP veteran who's been with the troupe since 2005. Vig and three-year SNP vet nikki/nova 2.0 (this is her stage pseudonym) take on a faux-romantic evening between two females, complete with flatulence and chocolate Reddi-wip that's acting as ... well you get it.
Samuel: "He's a special-needs kid with a lisp and glasses that can see the future because they're so thick," Vig said of her recurring character. "He's the cutest and most innocent character to do."
Wake Up St. Paul: The silly antics in this spoof of Katie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of the "Today Show" are a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
Estelle the elderly gift wrapper: "She's inspired by my grandmother because she shakes a lot," nikki/nova said of this recurring character. In the skit Estelle unsuccessfully tries to wrap presents, but while doing so begins sharing too much info about herself (i.e. her STDs). "She appears to be this sweet old lady, but that's definitely not the case."
The Sunday Night Players take the stage the last Sunday of every month at Wall Street Night Club (making their next performance Feb. 28). Admission is $7 per person or table reservations are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Call 614-464-2800 to reserve a table or visit the Wall Street Web site for more information. Also check out the SNP Facebook Page.
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