A night so marred by technical difficulties shouldn’t have been so funny, but the November instalment of Nathan Hare and Graeme Achurch’s monthly sketch comedy show, Soda Fountain, somehow managed to pull off the impossible.
Right from the beginning, things went off track. As the crowd settled into the seats and the lights dimmed, an announcer’s voice came over the PA: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, the Chainsmokers!” Hare and Achurch stormed onstage as the music came back on.
“No, pause the iTunes. Wrong song. Turn off the iTunes,” said Hare, as the person sitting at the tech booth scrambled. With the wrong music off, they decided to start the sketch over. With a Chainsmokers’ style video projected behind them, Hare and Achurch began again, singing in unison about their religious fervour and abstinence, until the projections disappeared unexpectedly. As they turned to see what the disruption was, it lit up again with a blown up image of Lola Bunny from Space Jam, with the text “I WANT TO FUCK LOLA BUNNY” sitting boldly overtop.
“Well that kinda takes the surprise out of it,” said Achurch, before explaining the entire sketch to the audience as the song and projections were reset, “I guess we’ll just do it anyway.” They launched back into the already spoiled bit, somehow funnier than it would’ve been had it gone smoothly.
With that mangled intro, the tone was set for the evening. UBC Improv members, Aidan Parker and Noa Kozulin, came next with the only technical mishap-free sketch of the evening. While their students getting in trouble with the principal scenario could’ve been great, compared to the spontaneousness of the other sketches of the night, this one fell short.
A fully committed Rae Lynn Carson was up next with her sketch, “Dog and Order.” Dressed all in brown, with dog ears and a toy in her mouth, Carson entered the stage on all four to a modified Law & Order theme song, before launching into a courtroom monologue — done entirely in an exaggerated dog voice — about being framed for the theft of “some chicken nuggos.” While the absurdity of the performance was enough to keep the audience laughing, the seemingly random Law & Order “chung-chungs” really made the sketch.
The last sketch before the intermission was a guided meditation, led by Mark Chavez and Kevin Lee, who introduced themselves as Lysander and Lysander. Struggling to get the lights sufficiently low for their spiritual experience, the Lysanders embarked on a truly uncomfortable journey, complete with amplified mouth sounds, metaphors about the knees being the “Grand Central Station of the leg” and sporadic coughing fits.
After a brief break, the crowd settled in for the final act. Hare and Achurch were back with a lightning fast barrage of sketches, each one funnier than the last. The Soda Fountain duo ended the night on a high note, from a “cool boss” ridiculing an intern with increasingly troubling insults, to a Tip Top Tailors commercial trying to liquidate their large stock of Riddler suits.. While all the sketches of the night were top notch, Hare and Achurch showed that they were on their A-game, even if almost everything around them went totally off the rails.