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Keenan Revue provides shock, awe and laughs

Jess Shaffer | Monday, February 4, 2008

There’s only one place you can see Jesus and excessive pelvic thrusting on the same stage. That’s right, it’s that time of year again.

The annual Keenan Revue hit Notre Dame last Thursday under the zombie theme, “The Night of the Living Revue.” But it didn’t need the help of the undead to deliver a thoroughly delightful showing. Under the direction of John Siegel, well executed and hilariously contrived skits flowed between musical numbers brought to life by half-naked Keenan dancers. Using a lot of wit and a dash of shock value, Keenan once again placed a monopolizing claim on Notre Dame’s funny bone.

Sticking with tradition, no one was exempt from the dorm’s scathing humor. The Revue took jabs at popular campus figures and average Notre Dame students alike. Father Hesburgh, Lou Holtz, Father Jenkins, Charlie Weis and Officer Tim McCarthy were all popular subjects. Though insult could have easily tainted these topics, Keenan expertly used the sensitive material to its full advantage. In this way, the show proved the proverb, “a little bit goes a long way.” Comments like, “There’s enough life support and busty nurses on the fourteenth floor to keep Father Hesburgh alive until he’s 150,” delivered swift digs without taboo heavy-handedness.

Of course, there was plenty of mocking to go around. The hilarious image of Tim McCarthy struggling to formulate his famous double entendres was an excellent opening act. Documenting a series of duds, the skit turned writer’s block into crafty humor. And not soon after, a scene called “Jono” integrated the popular elements of the film, “Juno,” into the Notre Dame mainstream. Replacing Juno McGuff and Bleaker with a pregnant Father Jenkins and Jesus in short-shorts, the skit created a memorable if not disturbing fusion.

Apart from pop-culture references, tried-and-true material on Notre Dame females and Saint Mary’s students were also granted a fair share of attention. Evidence of a reported restraint on Saint Mary’s jokes was meager. On several occasions, Saint Mary jokes slipped into the show, through allusions and substitutes like “St. Monica’s College.”

Though the Revue is perhaps best known for this type of potentially sexist material, in reality the show is an equal opportunity offender. Exhibiting consciousness of a wide range of stereotyping, Keenan didn’t keep anything off limits, including males. Indeed, Keenan was just as willing to mock a stereotypical male disposition of horniness, oblivion and inebriation. By taking on a variety of subjects, Keenan represented a commendably diverse talent that was just plain funny.

Not all teasing was done at the expense of the Notre Dame community. Several stronger skits proved Keenan’s sense of humor extends beyond the University. A skit entitled “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Firecrotch” was perhaps one of the most memorable highlights of the show. Presenting a Hogwarts turned on its head, Dumbledore, Harry and Ron took the stage, Keenan style. Returning from break, pupils find Dumbledore outed and flamboyantly homosexual. In a nice reference to an on-campus controversy, Dumbledore donned a “Gay? Fine By Me” shirt. Rounding out the ensemble, Hagrid appeared as a sketchy child-molester with eyes for Harry, while Voldemort took a form reminiscent of a drunken frat boy. These well defined, amusing characters created an enjoyable scene evocative of Saturday Night Live.

The Keenan Revue was a well rounded display of comic aptitude. It clearly understood the duality of humor: social commentary and laughter. It did both well. No wonder it sold out tickets in 20 minutes.

Contact Jess Shaffer at jshaffe1@nd.edu