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UVic class delves into sketch comedy

Course instructor/comedian Ryan Harper-Brown (far right) sits in the foyer of the UVic Fine Arts building with some of the students in his sketch comedy class. - Don Denton/News staff
Course instructor/comedian Ryan Harper-Brown (far right) sits in the foyer of the UVic Fine Arts building with some of the students in his sketch comedy class.
— image credit: Don Denton/News staff

University is about learning and experimentation and for students of a new sketch comedy course, that freedom of expression translated into Harry Potter and dildoes.

“Everyone wrote a sketch and we realized one of the main themes was sex,” said Fiona Mortimer, member of Sketch Ed, a sketch comedy troupe formed by students of a new writing, promotion and production course offered for the first time this summer through the University of Victoria writing department.

The production class, taught by Canadian comic and former UVic writing graduate student Ryan Harper-Brown, follows Harper-Brown’s earlier course on the history and impact of Canadian sketch comedy on the entertainment industry.

“It’s one of those things that has such a powerful influence on popular culture, especially American popular culture, but it’s never been documented very well and never been offered before at university,” Harper-Brown said.

“Anything that comes from Saturday Night Live is from Canadian sketch comedy because (creator) Lorne Michaels is Canadian and was active in Canadian sketch beforehand and about half of the (original) cast came from Canada. It’s a huge history dating back to the First World War.”

From the Harry Potter-inspired “There’s No Such Thing as Magic” to the telephone sex advice one widow receives in “Unlikely Dildoes,” the quality of the sketches was of a higher calibre than Harper-Brown was expecting.

“I had my own internal bar that I wanted them to reach and I was happy when they did surpass that,” said Harper-Brown, whose performance credits include Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival.

The group will perform the product of their six-week course during Cram Session, “Everything You Won’t Learn in Sex-ed, but Hilarious” on Aug. 20 at the Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $5 each with proceeds to benefit AIDS Vancouver Island. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

“It ended up being a really great partnership,” Mortimer added.

Cram Session will be taped live and made available online at sketchedproductions.wordpress.com.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

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