Though it may not be live from New York, Savannah will be the next best place for sketch comedy this Saturday night.
Studio A at the Savannah Film Studios will transform into comedy central Saturday, May 21, with a live-taping of SCADurday Night Live, a sketch comedy and variety show based on the premise of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” through the collaboration of multiple departments at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The show — the first of its kind at SCAD — is a cooperative effort between students from a plethora of departments, including dramatic writing, film and television, graphic design, motion media design, performing arts, production design and sound design.
Professor of Performing Arts, David Storck, has been working with improv at SCAD for five years, but he always wanted to to start creating sketch comedy reminiscent of and inspired by “Saturday Night Live.”
“We thought that would take years and that we would never have TV cameras,” Storck said. “And last summer, the Chair of Film and Television was newly appointed, and we went in and my wife and I were talking to him… And suddenly this idea was born. He said, ‘Go ahead. Start it. Make it happen.’”
What began as an idea evolved into two courses, one for dramatic writing and the other for the performing arts, where Storck worked with his students to start pitching and writing down more ideas. Storck said some of the sketches turned into digital shorts similar to those aired on SNL while others became content for live material.
Third-year performing arts student and Pepperell, Massachussets native, Joe Casper, has been passionate about improv and sketch comedy since he was in high school.
“Once this production came about, I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved in some way, shape or form,” Casper said. “I’ve had the opportunity now to get back into writing sketch comedy, to performing it, to make this show as good as it can be and just working with the cast and everyone involved. I’ve seen this show come to life.”
First-year graduate student, Brian Barlow, learned about SCAD’s improv community during his audition process for the graduate performing arts program.
“My brothers and I were always into the sketch comedy and stand up,” said the Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania native. “That’s something that’s interested me. I got onto a team and then David (Stork) started talking about this SCADurday Night Live thing. It was a class for us for the past two quarters now. We’ve just been going crazy writing material for this and everything, and it all fell into place at the perfect moment.”
Second-year graduate student and Flint, Michigan native, Elizabeth Taylor, said she had very little improv experience prior to last fall quarter when she took Storck’s improv class. According to her, that was how she got addicted to comedy, a love she recently showcased during last quarter’s live-taping of SCAD’s original TV series, “The Buzz.”
“Like Brian, I auditioned for improv teams and I got on a team in the fall,” Taylor said. “And then ‘The Buzz’ happened, which led to another comedy thing which is this. It’s just been the year of comedy for me and I’m totally obsessed with it and addicted to it and I want to do it the rest of my life.”
Storck commented on how successful the collaboration has been, considering how rapidly the idea came to fruition.
“Before January, there was nothing,” Storck said. “Every part of the show has been created since the beginning of January. It wasn’t like we came up with a script like you do in a play. There was no cast. It was an idea.”
SCADurday Night Live will perform at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. this Saturday, May 21, at the Savannah Film Studios, Studio A, at 2315 Louisville Road. The taping is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For more information on ticket availability and reservations, visit the site here.
Written by Emilie Kefalas.