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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU Comedy Club and Skull & Dagger ‘Comedy Tonight’ has students laughing away the night

Three original works featured a first date, an eerie stalker and a musical that’ll surely pop out
Photo courtesy of the SDSU Comedy Club and the Skull and Dagger Dramatic Society
Photo courtesy of the SDSU Comedy Club and the Skull and Dagger Dramatic Society

In collaboration with the San Diego State Comedy Club and the SDSU Skull and Dagger Society, came “Comedy Tonight.” 

The hour-long show was made up of three original works that included a live show, a short film and a musical for a sold-out crowd at the Experimental Theatre on April 28. 

As the crowd was settling in their seats before the show began, performer and actor Grecia Lopez Perez performed an acoustic set on stage. The soft-sung tunes made for a comforting environment before laughs would soon belch from the crowd. 

The lights dimmed and out came the two hosts for the night. First came host Synai Maxwell in an outfit that could be described as a vintage outfit with a Western look. 

They instantly excited the crowd for what was to come before being interrupted by their co-host, Michael Soares. Throughout the rest of the show, the two hosts would banter back and forth belittling one another, with Soares coming out in a complete suit topped by a 1940s vaudevillian voice. 

The first production of the night was “Stick to the Script,” co-directed by Ash Prevost and Kaleo Astorga, which follows a new technician who must work inside the mind of a neurodivergent man and make it out of a first date. 

The show began with an audio excerpt from the episode “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” from the show “Community,” and the characters Troy and Abed being over the top normal. In contrast with the live act, “Stick to the Script,” uses this idea meshed with comedy while having a delicate look at how a neurodivergent person may act in public situations with a light-hearted attitude.

Students perform an original play “Stick to the Script,” co-directed by Ash Prevost and Kaleo Astorga. Photo courtesy of Kaleo Astorga

The character New Technician 707, played by Astorga, is repeatedly told to stick to the script by Technician 818, played by Quin Shaw, and in turn fights with knowing how to act or what to say for their human, Matt, played by Ron Rodriguez. 

Throughout the show, there were plenty of moments where I couldn’t hold a smile before going into laughter. At one point, 707 looks to break the mold of what you should or shouldn’t do within the universe, and walks out before suddenly realizing he’s being seen in front of a live audience, and quickly freaks out and runs back to the stage. 

Rodriguez, who played Matt, spoke on how the sensitive subject matter was taken into a light of comedy, while still being able to some commentary on autism. 

“I found that Kaleo was able to handle something that was both serious and sort of embarrassing in a lot of ways with a lot of care,” Rodriguez said. ”I think he did a very good job of being both empathetic while also handling a sensitive subject with very good taste.”

Switching formats in the next show, there’s “Heart of Memories,” a short film written and directed by Storm Bell. It follows a woman named Lola who, while friendly at first, seems to be hiding more than meets the eye when she befriends a college group of girls looking for drinks and fun. 

During the short film, there are clear comedic moments when it’s more tongue-in-cheek than in-your-face comedy. 

Think of your favorite slasher movie or psychological thriller where you want to yell at the screen for the character’s dumb decision-making. Those cliches are played for laughs in “Heart of Memories.” 

Early on in the film, our mysterious woman, played by Gracie Sarrade, abruptly meets the college group of girls before suddenly inviting them over for drinks, where the women question if they think they’d immediately go over someone’s place when they just met the person before cutting to them downing a couple of beers like nobody’s business. 

Storm Bell, a sophomore theater performance major, spoke on the film’s inspiration leading up to the film being made. 

“I was very inspired by the movie ‘Ma,’ starring Octavia Spencer,” Bell said. “I’ve always loved psychological thrillers ever since I was a little girl, and I knew that I wanted to make something very similar to that but make it on a college campus.”

The last segment of the night took us up, up and away to Cleveland. The audience is suddenly transported back into the 1980s in “BalloonFest,” “A Musical Embellishment,” directed by Justin Magallanes, Amira Temple and music done by Thomas Webster. 

The musical focuses on a woman retelling her reported experiences being involved in the real events of the record-breaking balloon release in hopes of catapulting the city of Cleveland into new heights. 

Nearly a dozen actors accompanied by a stand of lyrics, music and their singing voices provided the scenery and obscure nature of the balloon event. 

Magallanes sat down in front, acting as a narrator, while music was overlaid during the performance. The feature character, Pare Easton, was played by two actors. Kaia Podd played the older version of the character, while Catelyn Thomas played the 1986 version of Paire. 

Other notable performers included Dante Nathaniel, who played Ric Sleaze, the culprit who duped Paire into never having any stardom, and took the idea for the Balloon release for himself. 

Magallanes, a second-year film and theater production major and director of the musical, spoke on integrating the event into its musical production, rather than the story being told through film or a play. 

“I love musicals as a genre, it’s incredible,” he said. “I compare it to when you’re reading a novel, and all of a sudden they start giving you narration, you can do that on film or on stage by having someone read their thoughts, but I think it’s more compelling if it’s sung. We’re immediately suspended in disbelief.” 

The show ended with dimmed lights once again and all creators and team of each production joined in a final bow, and thank you before holding a Q&A afterward. 

“Comedy Tonight,” is a thoughtful, well-produced and well-made production. I never felt bored and was more entertained by the flurry of ideas and constant jokes that came after another, with much positive reaction from the audience. 

Rodriguez spoke on the impact of student-run productions, and what students who attend shows like it can take away from supporting shows. 

“Creativity can take a lot of different forms and a lot of spaces,” Rodriguez said. “I want students who view this to internalize the idea that creative endeavors can take place in different spaces.” 

About the Contributor
Roman Aguilar
Roman Aguilar, '24-25 Sports Editor, '23 -24 Sports Editor
Roman Aguilar (he/him/his) is a second-year journalism major with an emphasis in public relations from Stockton, California. Since he was little, he loved watching sports and being able to tell a good story out of an exciting game matchup. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022 as a contributor and staff writer for the sports section, covering a multitude of sports including football, men's basketball, and water polo, before moving on to sports editor. Aguilar is also a blog writer for KCR College Radio, attending concerts and having the opportunity to cover shows and interview artists. When he isn't writing articles related to music or sports, you can see Roman going to local concert shows on a near-weekly basis and watching his favorite horror movies.