Spend some time with current students and it will be immediately apparent that Penn Med students have quite the sense of humor, as well as creativity and wit. In today’s piece, one of the directors of this year’s Spoof shares her experience being part of this annual Penn Med sketch comedy and variety show.
On a frigid Saturday night in February, students, faculty and staff crammed into Dunlop Auditorium to witness a beloved Penn Med tradition. Spoof is a one-night-only SNL-esque variety show, featuring comedic skits, videos, song parodies and band performances. This show, which is entirely written, produced and performed by Penn Med students, holds a special place in many students’ hearts – including mine.
Though I have minimal acting experience (or talent), I’ve participated in Spoof since my first year and I’ve always loved goofing around backstage with the cast. I was thrilled to co-direct this year’s Spoof, working alongside the wonderful Allyson Lieberman (4th year MD/PhD) and John E. Nawn (MS4). As a director, I had a front row seat during a grueling week of late night rehearsals to watch as the acts evolved and the camaraderie flourished. By Saturday night, we had new friends and a cohesive, professional and side-splittingly hilarious show.
A successful Spoof hinges on the staggering talent of our cast and crew. This show epitomizes Penn’s commitment to attracting students of diverse backgrounds and abilities. From their beautiful voices and musical prowess to their acting skills and tech saviness, every single student contributed something uniquely hilarious and impressive. Who knew Adam Gigliotti (MS4) could kill it on the guitar? Who knew that Jesse Passman (MS1) could do such a great Zach Galifianakis impression? Though the cast and crew members are often must keep their creative talents under wraps in the classroom and in the hospital, Spoof is the one time of the year where Penn Med students can let it all out.
And they certainly weren’t shy about stealing the show. Multiple times throughout the night, the laughter was so loud that the actors couldn’t even deliver their next lines. The skits this year were particularly timely and original, including numbers such as “Ebola PSA” and “Safe Space” (a play on Taylor Swift’s hit Blank Space). The audience was brought to their feet over “Matthew McConaughey, MD”, which featured the famous actor as a perplexing (and psychotic) cardiologist. Our fantastic band had audience members dancing in the aisles and cast members grooving backstage.
Though every Spoof is special to the graduating MS4s, Spoof 2015 was especially sentimental because its long-time home, Dunlop Auditorium, is being demolished to expand laboratory space. Cast and audience members grew a misty-eyed as the band played its tribute, “Dunlop, I love you, but they’re tearing you down.” Though the future location of Spoof is still uncertain, Penn Med students are committed to ensuring that this tradition lives on (I’m looking at you, MS1s).
I could ramble on forever about what a fantastic experience this was, but I think, in this case, videos speak louder than words. Check out some of these links to see the videos that were played during the show:
It’s easy to see why, as we sang in the finale, Penn Medicine, you make the rockin’ world go ‘round!
Daria Murosko is a CDYO, taking a year out to pursue at Masters degree in Public Health. She plans on applying in Pediatrics. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, sipping wine and reading. As a native Marylander, she loves picking crabs and rooting for the Ravens!