About a week ago, Skit Skit invited me to sit in on one of their rehearsals for their upcoming show Dec. 8 & 9 at The Refinery. I jumped at the chance for this behind-the-scenes look at how these comedy geniuses craft their show. Once I finally found their secret rehearsal lair, strategically hidden where no one would ever think of looking for them – deep in the bowels of Stonebridge, I eagerly entered the (rather tasteful) townhouse ready to see what delightful and absurd material they had so carefully constructed.
I expected find my comedy heroes bent over dusty typewriters, writing furiously with dishevelled hair and holes in the elbows of their knitted sweaters. Instead they were romping on the floor in polo shirts and holiday socks with Ashley Turner’s new puppy. I quietly snuck across the floor lest I disturb their play. For all I knew this was simply the warm-up, the beginning of their process – and these outfits costumes for an Old Navy parody commercial. Three hours later after teaching the young pup to jump on Jules Adrian’s shoulder and lick his cheek (resulting in near-debilitating fits of girlish laughter from Mr. Adrian) they decided it was time to get down to business.
They began by researching an element of a sketch by watching YouTube videos of pitbull puppies who had gotten stuck on their backs and couldn’t roll over. After an hour of this I was handed a glass of scotch by Tara Schoonbaert. Apparently at their last meeting they decided they should drink more. As we downed our fourth round of Glenlivet I noticed that Ewan Currie of The Sheepdogs was sitting among the Skitters. “How long had he been there?” I wondered. Pretty soon Mr. Currie was pitching sketch ideas to the Skitters: “Okay. So. It’s Project Runway but instead of models they design for a small-town prairie band and do crazy things like braid their hair and make them wear headbands…” “Hilarious!” cries Skitter Brent McFarlane as Ashton Francis rolls the most enormous “herbal” cigarette I have ever seen.
Four hours later it is now 3am and the Skitters are still going strong. Having moved from Scotch to paint thinner Mr. Currie find himself thoroughly outmatched by the rockstar theatre antics of Skit Skit and slinks away into the night to return from whence he came… probably back to Bud’s. At 3:30am they begin the marketing portion of the meeting as Ed Mendez proposes a re-branding of Skit Skit, starting with a new troupe name. Suggestions are flying fast and furious through the air. I duck for cover and manage to record a few of the gems like Hurrican Skit-Trina, Sketchual Predators, Human Skitastrophies, The Skit for Red October…The Hunt for Skit October, The Hunt for Red Oc-Skit-Ber,The Skit for Red Skit-tober, The Skit Skit Skit Octobskit, The Skit Skit Skit Skit Skit Skit, The Fun Club, and Triple Murder Sui-Skit. They decide to stick with Skit Skit and print buttons with pictures of puppies on them.
By 4:30am I was convinced that no actual rehearsing was likely to take place. However, I was still under the spell of the Skitters and was reluctant to leave. I nestled in among the coats and with a young puppy in my arms I slowly drifted asleep. I awoke up to the low sounds of soothing actor’s voices. My vision was blurry but I rubbed my eyes and then I saw it. There it was – right in front of me. The most brilliant, beautiful, intelligent, meaningful, sketch I had ever seen. It was hilarious. It was… the perfect sketch.
I was gasping for breath after laughing harder than I ever had previously in my life when Kristen Holfeuer came up to me and said “time to go, sleepyhead”. We loaded into Tara’s car and began the hour long drive back into the city.
Later on I reflect upon my time with Skit Skit. It was nothing like I expected. But perhaps genuine enjoyment of each other’s company, an ironic awareness of the world around them, a love of laughing, and a good sense of what makes them laugh are really the key ingredients of creating a Skit Skit show.
Skit Skit are performing at the Refinery on Dec. 8 and 9 at 7:30pm.