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Bad Taste ’99

Raunchy, raucous, and whole lot of fun

By Rima Arnaout

As the MIT Chorallaries state on their web page, “Bad Taste is not just a concert, it’s an experience.”

And an experience it was, after over a decade of assaulting the senses of MIT students with their raucous renditions of popular songs, combined with original no-holds-barred skits, the a cappella group was sure not to disappoint the eager and packed audience that gathered in Rm. 10-250 at 11:59:59 last Saturday night. For their concert, the group even recited haiku poems while carefully counting the syllables out on both hands to prove it -- no cheating allowed.

But despite the raunch, vulgarity and general ribaldry, Bad Taste ’99 was also funny, cleverly done, and performed with a lot of energy.

Bad Taste is most definitely a tradition at MIT as evidenced by the long lines endured by students to get a chance to see the show. For this year’s concert, some set up camp outside 10-250 as early as Friday night, an excess of 24 hours in advance of the concert’s scheduled start.

However, being the privileged Tech reporter I am, I went ahead and took my seat in the third row about 15 minutes before midnight -- meaning that I was in the right place at the right time to witness four hundred people storm into the lecture hall five minutes before the show.

Swarming in like locusts, the riled-up hoard filled the air with shouts of “Fuck You!” and “Tastes Great,” along with paper airplanes, plastic disc-gun fire, and comets of toilet paper. Covered in toilet paper, I settled in to watch the concert.

The Chorallaries soon appeared, dressed like the cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and warned that they would insult and offend (in no particular order): Shakespeare, Course VII majors, God, Alpha Phi, yo’ mama, women, Jedi Knights, (let me catch my breath) Sataporn Pornpromlikit ’02 (sorry, Sataporn), TAs, Furby, Bill Clinton, Will Hunting, SIPB members, guys who name their penises, and Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Now, how they were possibly going to besmirch the good name of Captain Planet with sexually explicit filth was beyond me -- at the beginning.

Along with the depth of singing talent that seems a Chorallaries’ trademark, they made good on their promise to trash the persons mentioned here (and many more) in the two hours that followed.

The song “Karma Chameleon” by the Culture Club, for example, was transformed into “MIT is easy when you study bi-o-lo-gy...” I was amused.

Other selections included “Dumb Like a Woman,” modeled after Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman.” Like many things that night, the song was so awful it was funny. Joseph A. Cirello ’01 had a solo in that one, and due to the grace of the females in the audience I believe he left that night in one piece.

And in case you were wondering, Captain Planet became Captain Penis and the Peniseers, championing the right of couples everywhere to have unsafe sex.

Bad Taste allowed us students to forget about problem sets and let our hair down, put on bunny ears, stuff sundry objects down our pants, and be silly. The jokes were hilarious in their absolute disregard of propriety, and the audience was there to be a good sport about the whole thing and enjoy themselves. Ann Hsing ’02 made an excellent Furby.

Bad Taste can only be a distinctly MIT event, what with the cracks about TAs who can’t speak English, about Klingon recitation teachers and the Jedi students who brainwash them (“You do not need to see my problem set,” says Jedi Knight... “I do not need to see your problem set,” says the Klingon TA).

As for the chemistry puns about Xenon, Warrior Element and her lesbian sidekick Neon versus their odorless, tasteless, invisible enemy Radon and her evil army of Lanthanides, I’m not sure what’s worse: that the Chorallaries made the puns, that we understood them, or that we laughed.

Also fitting were some of the picks for the top 101 meanings for IFC: Institute For Community, Institute Fucks Community, Institute Freshman choice, Institute Fucks Choice.

But then I began to realize that I, coming from a sheltered background as I do, didn’t really realize how bad Bad Taste could be until your friend and mine, Charles R. Floyd ’02, sang a a spoof of the BareNakedLadies’ song “Brian Wilson.” Except this one’s chorus ran, “I’m lying in bed, and I’m giving myself head.” I was actually okay with this song until the second or third stanza, when Brian “Illson’s” sister got in on the action.

And it was then, when the sexual references were at their most disgusting, when plastic disks and crumpled paper flew thickest through the air, when I sort of realized that although the concert was funny there is such a thing as going too far.

Going to far is, in fact, critically defined as singing about having sex with various barnyard animals. (If you aren’t the kind of person who wanted to go to Bad Taste, then you don’t want to know the details.) But I suppose that if there had been stones left unturned in the world of filth, then the concert wouldn’t have done justice to its name.

Going to Bad Taste was definitely an experience. The Chorallaries put on a creative show, although some of the lyrics left a bad taste in people’s mouths. (or maybe, in this article, I’d better not mention anything about anything in anyone’s mouth). Don’t analyze it; but if you think you’d enjoy the unbridled lewdness, immorality, muck, and obscenity, just be sure to go next year.