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Revue shows courage

Mark Witte | Monday, February 4, 2008

On Friday morning, as is usual at the beginning of each of my Japanese classes, our sensei had us make small talk about our weekend plans. I asked my neighboring classmate how his weekend was shaping up and before I knew it, he was offering me tickets to his dorm’s evening show.

I had not been planning on attending the Keenan Revue, but my classmate was so adamant in giving me tickets that I almost couldn’t refuse. As well, I had an old friend visiting from out of town and I figured the annual show might provide him with a good sampling of Notre Dame culture.

So later that night we caught the trolley, packed in with a few inebriated students and traversed over to Saint Mary’s O’Laughlin Auditorium.

The show kicked off with a speech by its “Enlightened Consultant,” who also happened to be my ticket-providing classmate, J.J. Cappa. His speech laid down some humorous ground rules pertaining to the show’s zombie theme. The real treat, however, came when zombies appeared on the sides of the stage, slowly creeping toward the producer. He picked up the speed of his speech in perfect stride, finally jamming the play button on some zombie-repelling Michael Jackson music, causing the zombies to fall into a perfectly choreographed zombie dance. It was only the show’s introductory act, but it demonstrated the precision with which the show had been carefully rehearsed.

But it was a courageous show as well.

Over the course of the next two and half hours, the Revue pulled numerous sidesplitting skits out of its bag of tricks. From staining everyone’s childhood memories of “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” to poking fun at Notre Dame’s ethnic makeup, to calling out the football team on its disastrous season, the Knights of Keenan showed they weren’t afraid to offend, or stay in character.

Oh, and that whole bit about not being allowed to use “Saint Mary’s” in any of their jokes – well, they never said “Saint Mary’s” specifically, but what they didn’t say made the jokes that much funnier.

For someone who didn’t know much about Notre Dame, its customs or its running jokes, my friend laughed along the entire way. As for me, after a week of Career Fair stress and little sleep, the Revue was a welcome relief. So thank you, “Enlightened Consultant,” thank you for the tickets and for a well done, genuinely entertaining show. And even though most people missed the joke, the Bruce Campbell, “boomstick” Jesus, was just what I needed.

Contact Mark Witte at mwitte@nd.edu The views expressed in Scene and Heard are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.