Freshman year of college: a time for growing up, experiencing new things and meeting the people who will eventually become your sketch comedy team counterparts.
The Ivy League Sketch Comedy group, Harvard Sailing Team, will perform for free at 10 p.m. tonight in Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center, brought to Penn State by the Student Programming Association’s Late Night.
The Harvard Sailing Team is known for its success on YouTube, including its video “Boys Will Be Girls,” which has over five million views.
The YouTube stars started as a sketch comedy group, with achievement stemming from there.
Harvard Sailing Team member Adam Lustick said all of the nine members, besides Billy Scafuri, attended New York University and studied at the Tisch School of the Arts.
“The majority of us met on the first day of college,” he said.
Lustick said the group is “a strong and close group of friends…Harvard Sailing Team started after [the friendship].”
In the group’s last year at NYU, they took a sketch comedy class, member Sara Taylor said.
In the class, they were forced to perform two shows in the semester. From there, Billy got involved, and the first Harvard Sailing Team show was formed, she said.
Friday’s ticketless event is expected to bring “a great night of hilarious comedy,” SPA Marketing Chairwoman Megan Mansell said.
“If you don’t know the Harvard Sailing Team, you should definitely watch their videos,” Mansell (senior-public relations) said. “Everyone I know who has watched has liked them.”
The Harvard Sailing Team has no affiliation to the actual Harvard University sailing team, though.
Taylor said she has never had a terrific answer for those who question the name.
“We plucked it relatively out of thin air,” Lustick said.
Lustick called the group’s comedy PG and “squeaky clean.”
“We wear argyle sweaters in our performances,” he said.
From that, the group branded itself as “Ivy League comedy.”
Friday night’s performance will be an hour-long live performance, which consists of any number of sketches, including singing and dancing, Taylor said. All of the group’s sketches are scripted, she said.
But Taylor wants the audience to know that improv is involved with the sketch as well.
The show aims to show students that they too can be comedians, with the right dedication.
Lustick said that those who wish to succeed in comedy should get involved on campus and do it themselves.
The lines of what comedians can and cannot do in comedy have blurred, he said.
“Start now,” Lustick said. “The Internet has democratized comedy.”
The group’s own videos have evolved from its sketches. Their personal lives act as inspiration.
“Our characters are heightened versions of our own personality,” Taylor said. “We had no idea we’d have such success.”
Lustick said that outside of the group’s comedy performances, their daily lives run a whole gambit. Some have day jobs, while others “spend their days in basketball shorts,” which Lustick admitted he was currently wearing during the interview.
Fortunately, between increasing video production and shows like the one tonight, the group can gravitate more toward focusing strictly on comedy, which is what they love to do, he said.
“In our mildest dreams, we didn’t expect the success,” she said.