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'No Funny Stuff' unlike any school play performed before

Date: 5/17/2010

May 17, 2010

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW - Kids can be funny. And not just SpongeBob silly really funny. That's what Dave Brinnel believes, and that's why "No Funny Stuff #4" will be back at Glenbrook Middle School this weekend.

A local TV commercial producer, Brinnel started "No Funny Stuff" in June 2007 as a sketch comedy show similar in format to "Saturday Night Live," with a mix of live performances and pre-recorded bits.

"I'm obsessed with it, really," Brinnel said of the show. "We've got such a momentum going. The crowds get bigger every year. It's not like any school play you've ever seen."

The show came as a complete surprise to audience members who might have come expecting a to see a regular "school play" that first year, Brinnel said. Last year, the auditorium was about three-quarters full.

The "No Funny Stuff" players are mainly comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth graders from Glenbrook, but Brinnel said four freshmen from the high school came back this year because they had had so much fun performing in the show in the past.

"I don't write 'kid sketches,'" Brinnel explained. "There is nothing elementary school about our humor. This stuff is funny for everyone."

This year, "No Funny Stuff #4" will be performed on May 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. Sketches include a depressed greeting card writer, a doctor who must inform a patient that he does not exist, a morose Mother Goose stand-in and even a murder trial.

Pre-produced commercial parodies include a human taste test for dog food, a home learning program called "Your Ten Year Old Can Drive" and a board game called "Don't Lose Your Temper." (The object is to finish the game without smashing it.) Videos can be previewed on YouTube (search for NoFunnyStuff2010).

"There's some real talent in this cast," Brinnel told Reminder Publications. "We spend our first month [of] rehearsing figuring out who can do what, and then we just go with it."

In addition to being an outlet for young comedians, "No Funny Stuff" is responsible for many upgrades to Glenbrook's auditorium. In the past three years, funds raised by the comedy show have paid for the repair of 40 auditorium seats, new stage curtains, modern sound and lighting equipment, a new spotlight and more.

"Four years ago, we set out to create a funny show. No one imagined that a homegrown sketch comedy program could make such a long term difference to the facility itself. That's something for everyone involved to be very proud of," Brinnel said.

Tickets for "No Funny Stuff #4" are $5 for adults and $3 for students, and are available in the Glenbrook Middle School Office and at the door.

All proceeds will benefit Glenbrook's Parent Advisory Council, which will continue to invest the funds back into the auditorium.