The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 24.0°F | Partly Cloudy

Bad Taste Offensive Yet Entertaining

By Shankar Mukherji


Over 400 eager students gathered in the winding hallways outside 10-250 last Saturday. Surely it was for a presentation given by a world-famous lecturer? Or the announcement of a great scientific breakthrough? Not quite. The throngs of MIT students waited to see the Chorallaries’ Concert in Bad Taste, an outrageous comedy show where nothing is sacred and all is a potential target.

The annual MIT tradition saw the line extend clear to Building 1. While waiting, the tailgate party-like entertainment ranged from what appeared to be a Twister game, to a beach ball baseball game on the steps of Building 3, to a gigantic crossword puzzle (it was nearly completed by the end of the day).

One group of revelers left a mountain of leftover food in front of President Charles M. Vest’s office. “That should leave a bad taste in his mouth,” a passer-by said.

When everyone finally got in, the lecture hall was transformed from a bastion of learning to something more like Sodom itself. Disc-gun firing, toilet paper throwing, and audience members “flashing” messages to the performers were just some of the antics that continued unabated throughout the night.

The concert offered its usual fare of ribald jokes, ethnic stereotypes, and “Top 10” lists: all the elements that make Bad Taste an experience.

The opening disclaimer of people who will be offended by by concert drew positive responses with Jar Jar Binks, the Cambridge License Commission, and the Committee on Academic Performance, and quite negative ones with Scooby Doo and others.

The performance continued with the first skit of the evening, showing grade school children learning about (in)sensitivity of skin color and sexual orientation.

After some wistful crooning to Scooby Doo about the trials and tribulations of adolescence, the Chorallaries put on a skit modeled after VH-1’s Before They Were Stars, featuring Emily C. Vincent ’04 as Britney Spears, Joe A. Cirello ’01 as Justin Timberlake, and Mira E. Wilczek ’03 as Christina Aguilera.

After having their fun with pop culture, the Chorallaries began focusing their efforts on campus culture, adding a distinctly MIT flavor to the mix of things.

Their primary target would have to be the FSILG system in general (though Asians and small breast sizes would have to be a close second and third). Skits ranging from the antics at fabled fraternity Gamma Alpha Upsilon (yes, “GAY”) to unrelenting pot-shots at Kappa Theta members and their alleged “extracurricular activities” proved to be a mainstay over the course of the performance.

A high-point of the anti-sorority hijinks was the Sorority Triathlon. During the first event, wrestling, even though one competitor was supposed to be a “hairy lesbian” from Women’s Independent Living Group and the other a “sweet and easy” Kappa Theta, it looked more like two seals going at each other. The WILG representative bested her KT counterpart, but the latter got her revenge in a less traditional event (ask someone who came here).

Asians certainly didn’t escape the Chorallaries’ brutality either. “Don’t be a prostitute ... sucky sucky 5 dolla’,” contradicted one of the Asian characters. Studying for the SAT was another stereotype which was viciously attacked as well.

Another fellow who didn’t fare too well was George W. Bush, who was called dumber than everything from an Add/Drop form to a “Potatoe.”

Even though the Chorallaries were quite a tough act to follow, at least in terms of their “naughty fun,” the MIT/Wellesley Toons proved that they were no lightweights. They had songs with equally shocking lyrics, even a stripping a capella member.

Then, after a rendition of the “Engineer’s Drinking Song” (with some Bad Taste changes) along with visiting Chorallaries alumni and alumnae, the performance was over just like that. After the audience demanded an encore, the group returned to stage with a performance of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Woman.” The song was greeted with many cheers and equally as many groans when the lyrics started to make women out to be dumb creatures. And then the show really was over.

Bad Taste surely isn’t for everyone. One lady simply got up and left in front of everyone. But a lot of creativity was employed in making so many jokes working with so little material. How often can someone laugh at the same stereotype without getting bored? Well, the Chorallaries showed that it could be done for hours (and hours) on end. And so, though he had to stand up for the whole performance, and though he has probably suffered permanent knee damage as a result thereof, this reporter will probably be right back in line for next year’s show.