Chorallaries: Bad Taste
An Equal Opportunity Offender for N Straight Years
The Chorallaries’ Nth Annual Concert in Bad Taste was replete with chaos, violence, nudity, anarchy, and pornography ... and that was before the real show even began.
With students lining the halls for the show for hours upon hours, it was inevitable that mayhem would ensue. As 11:59 p.m., the scheduled time for the concert, approached and passed, the crowd grew increasingly excitable, throwing everything from toilet paper (enough to rival a Halloween showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show) to Athena paper to a Jar Jar Binks raft onto the masses of people that lined the aisles and seats of room 10-250. Probably the largest crowd of people that I have ever seen simultaneously awake at MIT since the freshman class picture, the crowd represented a widely varied section of the Institute’s population.
After the show started everyone was on equal footing: no one and nothing was sacred. Neither Mother Goose nor the Brass Rat escaped the Chorallaries’ parodies. The skits and songs trampled through so many boundaries of decency, I could not hope to detail each one of them (nor would my editors print such descriptions). Just to give you a sense, however: Little Red Riding Hood? Crackwhore. Bert and Ernie? Gay Lovers. Cinderella? Dominatrix. For all the tastelessness, it did tend to be extremely entertaining, and worth the wait and the occasional pelting by a toilet paper roll to see. Though vulgar, shameless, offensive, and many times downright disgusting, it was offensive to all, and that was really what made it amusing.
The theme of this year’s show was The MITrix (think: Matrix) but that was somehow combined with adult fairy tales in an unclear manner. However, the idiosyncrasies of the “plot” didn’t diminish the impact of the show. In fact, the absence of logic probably made the show more amusing at times.
Some of the highlights of the skits included “American Pi,” the nerd equivalent of the movie (“This one time, at math camp...”) and “PokÉfrats” which very pointedly made fun of several specific FSILGs. As I said, no one was safe from ridicule, and the 101 alternate meanings of SWE ranged from “Scapegoats Wanted Everywhere” to “Sexy Wal-Mart Employees.” A personal favorite was the Saferide Driver skit, which included the line “Get your commutin’ on.”
There was a lot in Bad Taste that had to do with current MIT events, from the building of the Strata Center to the Brass Rat to the Boston Licensing Board and the Cambridge Licensing Commission to Chuck Vest (whose name was curiously mispronounced throughout the show). In fact, The Top Ten Anticipated Dates for Housing Freshman On Campus was postponed until next year in favor of The Top Ten Things Not to Put on a Brass Rat.
The songs were equally as offensive as the skits, and perhaps more so at times. “Meet Virginia” by Train was transformed into “West Virginia,” which documented that state’s most famous aspects: rednecks and inbreeding. Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” was changed to “Animal.” Sung by Anna K. Benefiel ’00 and Sheri A. Cheng G, the song was replete with descriptions of bestiality. Even Burt and Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie” was corrupted into “Rub My Penis.”
After two full hours of performing, the Chorallaries concluded with a slightly modified version of “The Engineers Drinking Song” before being called back for an encore. Although the audience had no problem shouting out their requests, the Chorallaries pulled “Dumb Just Like a Woman” from Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman.” Joeseph A. Cirello ’01 pelted with toilet paper and other projectiles during his solo, but definitely got more laughs than jeers for the song. Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” was modified to explain: “MIT is easy when you study biology...”
The Concert in Bad Taste was definitely an enthusiastic performance, well suited to the MIT audience. Similarly, the MIT audience was very receptive to the type of humor offered up by Bad Taste. Although the staging, costuming, and acting (as the actors carried around notecards) were primitive at best, students still packed the lecture hall doorways and aisles to catch a glimpse of the action.
To some extent a product of hype and timing, the concert went well, leaving most people with some mixture of offense and amusement, just as it was aimed to do.