The back to school special

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The "Hello, My Name Is. . ." troupe will showcase their talents in Frasier Hall on Sunday (Facebook.com/Hello My Name Is)

The troupe sat together collaborating as a single comedic mind, tossing together ideas that attended to even the smallest details. No feature was left unthought of, no proposal left unheard – the circle of colleagues laughed and operated to find only the best material for their upcoming show.

“Sex lamp!” was repeated by several members, an apparent inside joke between the confident squad. Through brainstorming and several read-throughs, they provided supportive and positive feedback by listening to one another while throwing jokes in an unbroken stream.

UNC’s student-run sketch comedy group “Hello My Name Is…” met Wednesday evening in Crabbe Hall to prepare for their first show of the semester, which will premiere this Sunday. The show will feature six live skits and three filmed skits by the thirteen members. The skits parody everything from TV’s hit show “Shark Tank,” to average everyday awkward situations. As a mashup between game shows and “Saturday Night Live,” the group dabbles in comedic entertainment through young-adult humor.

Hannah Betz, a senior acting major and comedy group cast member said some of their skits can show a lot of exaggeration, such as one that features gangster archetypes.

“We have some ideas that are taken to the extreme,” said Betz. “But some very relatable material as well.”

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Betz advocated for everyone to catch the performance, even those who may not be interested in theater. Betz said the experience is great to “unify the audience” and bring together central and west campus, two locations that are often considered to be separated by fields of study and leisurely interests.

“Classes are hard, and we have a lot to do,” Betz said. “We’re all stressed but when you have a group of sixty people that just come and want to have fun and want to laugh, we get to give that to them, which I think is really special. It’s like a whole community.”

Fellow cast member Michael Crawford, a senior acting major, also commented on the diversity in the audience.

“It definitely gets people who wouldn’t normally go to artistic sort of things interested in the arts,” Crawford said. “Where else are you going to get a college sketch comedy group?”

Crawford wrote the screenplay of one of the videos to be shown this weekend, titled “Of Hands and Hearts.” The short film satires high school movie clichés through the mere use of personified hands moving to “speak.” These clichés include a love triangle between the nerd, pretty girl and bully; a love montage and the climactic finale staged at the school dance.

The close-knit group spent the better half of their meeting perfecting the minor details of the film as they tried to make the best possible production for the audience.

The ideas for the skits generally originate in observation of everyday life or in two random words placed together, such as “chicken furnace.”. A fan-favorite skit entitled “Big Boy Bird,” about four bird-people on a wildlife reserve, is a classic that represents the troupe’s reputation.

“Those kind of things that seem really random and weird can be super impressionable,” Betz said.

Crawford couldn’t remember where the idea for “Of Hands and Hearts” from, but he explained that most people will accept the pitched propositions.

“People are more open to these crazy ideas than you may think. There’s always somebody that’ll be like ‘that’s hilarious,’” Crawford said. “I do ‘Hello My Name Is…’ because I love comedy, I love all things performance and creative and I think this gives a lot of people the opportunity to get their creative energy out in ways that sometimes they can’t.”

“Hello My Name Is…” will preform their “Back to School Special” at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in Frasier Hall, Room 63.

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