Chorallaries entertain all who can handle bad tasteConcert in Bad Taste
By Joshua M. Andresen
20, and by the time everyone was in, the ratio of audience members to seats in the auditorium was about two to one. Every seat was taken, as was every inch of space in all four aisles and on the floor in front. A fire hazard perhaps, but this was, after all, Bad Taste.
The audience was well prepared for the performance it had waited for. The enthusiastic crowd was rambunctious, throwing paper airplanes and the playing cards that had helped some pass the waiting time necessary for guaranteeing a seat. In lieu of a beach ball and in the style of Bad Taste, the crowd batted around an inflated condom. Someone on the right half of the auditorium started a call and response: "Tastes great!" The response from the left half of the room: a less-than-tasteful obscenity. That went on for a while, but before dying out the four words were permutated a bit to make a call-and-response that was a bit more suggestive. As midnight approached, everyone joined in a rousing rendition of the Jeopardy theme to count down the final moments.
At last the Chorallaries were introduced. The traditional wild costumes ranged from Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to a rather brightly colored Ernie and Bert, who were introduced as members of the President's commission on alternative lifestyles. Other celebrity participants included Sinead O'Connor, who walked out and tore up a picture of MIT, Michael Jackson, Kelly Bundy, Richard Simmons, Counselor Menage a Troy, and the new Mattel MIT Barbie, who walked out and proclaimed, "Math class is easy!" -- though only after a string on her back was pulled.
The format of the concert followed the format of previous Bad Taste concerts, alternating skits and a capella songs that were supposedly the point of the concert in the first place. The first song was "White House," a spoof on President Clinton sung to the tune of Paul Simon's "Graceland" that cast the new President as a puppet figure ruled by his wife. This started out the goal of the Bad Taste concert to offend as many people as possible -- in an equal opportunity fashion.
The skit following started with the Chorallaries singing the LSC theme, which greatly amused the audience when it figured out what the song was. True to the LSC standard, they even died in the middle, simulating a reel dying. They started up again after the requisite "LSC ... Sucks!" They proceeded to give an LSC movies preview, complete with placards proclaiming "Saturday" and "In Stereo," which the audience attacked with more vigor than any LSC audience ever has. The movies reviewed included Alive, about a group of starving MIT students stranded in the basement of Walker Memorial, Dracula, with Professor Walter H. G. Lewin playing the title role and West Campus Story. The review of this last included a medley of songs based on West Side Story: "McCormick . . . I just met a girl from McCormick" and "I feel nerdy! Oh, so nerdy!" for example.
The night's selections included the requisite complaint about ARA, sung to the tune of Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill." The soloist carried a plate of food on a tray and threw slices of Spam and french fries out at the audience as he sang about the various places ARA acquires the food it serves. Perhaps the most offensive part of the whole song was when the soloist picked up and ate a french fry off the floor that a member of the audience had thrown back at him.
The next skit listed 101 new uses for sperm. "I bet most of you thought sperm was only good for sex!" they started. The item that got the biggest audience reaction was "for that fresh feeling." This prompted a hailstorm of the multi-colored plastic discs that members of the Assassins' Guild are so familiar with, a response saved for the most lascivious (and the most nerdy) jokes.
The traditional Bad Taste top ten list was "the top ten children's book titles that didn't make it." The Chorallaries took advantage of the mechanical blackboards in 10-250 to reveal the items one by one as they were read by one member. Included on the list were "Curious George and the Man in the Trenchcoat," "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Got Syphilis," and "Horton Hires a Ho."
One of the best songs of the evening was sung to the Sesame Street theme "Rubber Duckie." It featured Ernie and Bert sitting in the tub "enjoying" a bath together. The song started, "Rub my duckie, you know how..." and proceeded to scandalize the "alternative lifestyle" of the famous couple, all in bad taste and all very funny.
One of the better skits was done in a "mad-lib" format, where the audience was prompted for various parts of speech. After this was done, two Chorallaries stood at the front, and while one started breathing audibly, the other started in a Darth Vader-like voice, "Your elbows betray you, young Skywalker." They proceeded to give the final dialogue between Luke Skywalker and Vader from Return of the Jedi. This scene was incredibly funny, and the actors struggled to keep their composure, but lost it entirely when Vader told Luke to take his mask off. "But you'll masturbate!" pleaded Luke. "That is inevitable," responded Vader.
The traditional "Engineer's Song" concluded the program. Three of the four verses had been performed at previous Bad Taste concerts, but the fourth turned out to be the largest crowd-pleaser of the night. The mother of one of the Chorallaries came out to lip synch a verse sung by her son, but apparently written by her. It was in the standard bad taste and ended with the line "but my son hasn't heard of sex 'cause he's an engineer." The crowd loved this and gave her an unusually long ovation that swamped out the next several lyrics of the song. It was a great touch for Bad Taste.
The Chorallaries performed two encores before ignoring the thunderous final applause. The first was "Necrophilia Down by the Graveyard," sung to the tune to Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard", involving a guy who would go to any lengths to get some. The final song was another crowd-pleaser "Cab Driver in New York," sung to the tune of Sting's "Englishman in New York," -- a Chorallaries' standard, though one not always sung with the extraneous expletives.
Overall, this was a good quality Bad Taste concert. Although most people did not go to hear the singing per se, the Chorallaries did a fine job. They are a much tighter group than they were last year and they sang very well. The soloists gave varied performances ranging from very clear and precise to strained and struggling (especially as the evening wore on) to one soloist who got so involved in his performance that he forgot some lines. Still, it was very entertaining for those whose sensitivities could handle the bad taste that defined the evening.