Students invite you to enjoy a few laughs at 'No Funny Stuff'
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
LONGMEADOW Next weekend will be a busy one for Longmeadow residents, with vintage base ball games, Parks and Recreation events and Long Meddowe Days. Why not take some time to relax and have a few laughs?
The young comedians of Glenbrook Middle School will be putting on "No Funny Stuff #3," a sketch comedy show, on May 15 and 16 in the school's auditorium at 7:30 p.m.
The "No Funny Stuff" shows began in June 2007, when a group of middle schoolers came together to perform an original sketch comedy show, written and directed by local TV commercial producer Dave Brinnel of Longmeadow. The show came as a complete surprise to an audience that might have come expecting a to see a regular "school play." Those in attendance were extremely impressed.
In 2008, "No Funny Stuff #2" was performed for a larger and even more impressed audience.
The show, now in its third was, is similar in format to "Saturday Night Live," with comedy sketches, professionally-produced spoof TV commercials and pre-recorded elements.
Brinnel said that "No Funny Stuff" is "modeled after TV's classic sketch comedy shows -- Sid Caesar, Monty Python, Carol Burnett, Ernie Kovacs, 'Saturday Night Live,' etc."
"What's really neat is some of these kids came to me in sixth grade, and to see them learn and get better every year is wonderful," Brinnel said. "There's never been a show like this anywhere that I'm aware of."
This is a bittersweet year for Brinnel, as he will be seeing his original cast move on to the high school in the fall.
"I grow so fond of these kids," he said. "Half of them [in this year's show] are from the first year. Next year will be interesting without that first class."
Eighth grader Nathaniel Munic, a three year veteran, said he hopes to bring the show to the high school. A performer who is very much into comedy and improvisation, Munic decided to join the cast after seeing an advertisement for the first show in a flyer.
"A lot of people tell me I have a great sense of humor, and I try to honor that," he said.
Munic commented that he really likes the over the top physical humor of the young Jim Carrey and the comedy of Gene Wilder. He added that he based his character in a doctor sketch on Wilder's character in "Young Frankenstein."
"I think the sketches are better this year," Brinnel stated. "They've learned a lot. They're more versatile."
Assistant Director Amie Dibbern, a senior at the high school, agreed. "It's definitely interesting working with younger kids. They're untrained but each has something to bring to the table, be it an accent or the ability to play some music."
Brinnel is taking advantage of the middle school's music program by having the students perform a sketch as an orchestra.
"There's a lot of good material [in the show]," Dibbern said. "Everyone who comes can take something away from it."
"Dave writes things so younger people in the community can get a laugh from it, with physical humor," Munic added, "but there's many, many jests, lots of material meant for adults."
Pre-produced commercial parodies in the show include advertisements for toys like "Pointed Stick," "FlatBall" and a board game called "Don't Lose Your Temper." Videos can be previewed on YouTube by searching for NoFunnyStuff3.
Tickets for "No Funny Stuff #3" 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. So far, the sketch show has raised more than $4,000 for improvements to the school's auditorium.
For a preview of the show, listen to the Bax & O'Brien Show on ROCK102 on May 12 from 7 to 8 a.m., when Brinnel and several cast members will be performing live.