By Stefanie San Juan
Armed with dog costumes and beards, Ryerson radio and television arts (RTA) students stepped into the spotlight for the 65 annual RiOT! show ready to make audience members laugh. And they did.
RiOT! is an annual sketch comedy show written, produced, directed and performed by the witty and zany minds of RTA students. This year’s show, It Came From the Peanut Gallery, was performed on March 27. There will be a second showing on March 30.
“The show is the definition of collaboration,” said Steve Cooke, second-time RiOT! actor. “There is something for everyone.”
Originally performed within the Ryerson community, RiOT! has come a long way since its beginnings in the 1950s. For the second year, actors took the stage at The Second City — a notable comedy club chain which originated in Chicago.
“Comedy is a creative muscle that you need to work at to get better,” said Jorge Vasconez, co-producer of the show. “The group is getting better and stronger and it’s a big accomplishment … I couldn’t be happier with how things went.”
Leading up to the performance, cast members wrote a new sketch each week. By January, they had over 50 sketches to choose from — only 14 made it through the final cut.
“You are watching a year’s worth of planning, a year’s worth of script writing, a year’s worth of practice,” said two-time RiOT! producer, Shreya Khanna. “Because a different person writes each piece, each scene had its own sense of humour and portrays a unique comedic personality on the stage.”
Vasconez, describes the sketches performed at RiOT! as the “cream of the crop” of Ryerson comedy.
One hilarious scene after another, The RTA comedy group joked about subjects ranging from awkward experiences on the TTC, to people creating fake profiles on dating sites to spice up their sex life at 80.
“I’m really pleased with the first show. It sounds silly, but you forget that the show is funny as you run the lines for weeks on end,” Cooke said. “The crowd didn’t miss a laugh … I couldn’t be more proud of the cast.”