Of all the records to hold within Vassar’s comedy scene, The Limit boasts the strangest one. They claim to use the most fake blood, even relying on their own special recipe. As President Aiden Lewy ’18 glamorizes this feat, “We really have it down to a science.” If you’ve never been to one of The Limit’s comedy shows before, consider that fun fact a brief introduction to their absurdist style.
This Thursday, Feb. 15, at 9 p.m. in Sanders Auditorium, The Limit presents “Win a Pizza Party For Your Entire Class,” an hour-long sketch comedy show that promises to include the group’s eccentricity and possibly a few pizza-themed sketches.
Returning from a semester abroad, ensemble member Yael Haskal ’19 defined the trademark out-there style of the group: “I think The Limit is unique in that it often veers into the absurd. We love to take small situations and blow them up to the extreme. We like incorporating otherworldly or surrealist ideas into our sketches and we try to find a good balance between shock value and commentary. But absurd is definitely the word.”
At the beginning of this academic year, The Limit only had two members on campus, Lewy and Sam Peterson ’20, due to the exodus of members who graduated or were studying abroad. This resulted in the group having to rebuild themselves from the ground up. Once comedy auditions were over in September, the group welcomed Amelia Carriere ’20, Sequoia Hatch ’20, Sophie Koreto ’18 and Jillian Van Siclen ’21. After performing together in the fall, the group has become an amalgam of the previous lineup, welcoming back returning members Ilan Berkman ’19, Ethan Fox ’19 and Haskal. Yvette Segan ’19 is abroad for the full year.
Fox illustrated the spirit and energy that arose when the returning members met the new members: “It was instantaneous. I was really worried coming back with how I would fit in with this group with new dynamics. But I walked into the room, and probably Ilan and Yael feel similarly, and it was just like we were back with our family. Even though we hadn’t been there before, it was like we had and we just slipped right in.”
Haskal added, “I was so excited to get to know them, as I still am. They each bring such a unique flavor of comedy and humor. And they all just feel fresh and full of ideas. We let in two sophomores and a senior who already have an idea of comedy on campus and are bringing their knowledge of what they’ve watched into their own creative work. And we have a lovely freshman too who is just wonderful.”
Except for the groups that specialize in improv and stand-up, most of the sketch comedy groups don’t have a show so early in the semester. However, because of the surplus of sketches that each member brought, The Limit saw an opportunity.
Van Siclen recounted how the show’s fast pace was established: “Three people came back from abroad so we spent some time getting to know each other. And then, the show’s just happened really fast. We haven’t been back even a month, but luckily the abroad people had some sketches to bring back and people had written stuff over break, and so we’ve definitely hit the ground running.”
Fox provided additional details on how unusual this group’s situation is going into a show: “There were 30 sketches to pick from, which is the most in recent Limit memory. It actually took two and a half hours. It was so hard to cut sketches because there were so many good ones.”
After selecting the sketches, the week of the show is when the group incorporates the technical elements with further rehearsals for the sketches. While Lewy serves as the president of the group, that title is more for organizational purposes. Through his time with The Limit, Lewy has observed how the inherent collaborative nature allows for all of the members to be involved: “You always feel like you have a say in the group and that everyone’s listened to and everyone has a chance to let their opinions be known. Even though this year I am the president, I try to make that position just one of organization. I’m getting the shows booked, figuring out the times and leading meetings, but I’m not the one making the shots on what our group’s going to be doing because ultimately we’re a group.”
Lewy added: “I did introduce the group to a whole new Google Drive system this year, which has really changed things up. So I am doing an effective job of the whole organization and leading point too.”
Van Siclen elucidated on how each member’s unique personality enhances the group’s overall dynamic: “I think what’s really cool about our group is that each member has their own distinct style of comedy, so when you put a show together with so many different styles, I think it creates a really eclectic show that everyone can find something that rings with them, that makes them laugh or that they can relate to.”
The Limit will most likely present another comedy show later this semester and will be hosting comedian Chris Fleming later this month. Fleming is best known for his YouTube series “Gayle.”
Lewy ended with what he feels is the important role of the comedy group to Vassar’s community: “We’re all here to get degrees at the end of the day. We’re all here to study and do work. That’s what we pay money for. But this is more than just your school. It’s also your home. It’s fun to have programming and things to go to so when you are stressed out and taking life a little too seriously, you can just go and see people make a fool of themselves on stage and be able to, for an hour, put everything out of your mind.”