8A - Wednesday, March14, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Sketches are written by students every Friday for the monthly show.v
bri g sketch to 'U
Do a crazy dance.
The hidden musical
merits of Disney stars
inspired by 'SNL'
By JOEY STEINBERGER
For the Daily
The weekend begins on Fri-
day for most college students.
For some, this means meeting
up with a friend or a chance to
catch up on a book you're read-
ing for fun. For the cast and crew
of Th'Undergrads, Fridays are
a time to pitch a flurry of ideas,
draft the best ones and film some
Th'Undergrads is the Univer-
sity's first televised sketch com-
edy group. Last summer, School
of Music Theatre & Dance senior
RJ Brown and some of his friends
who act decided they wanted to
do a sketch-comedy show. Brown
approached LSA senior lecturer
Terri Sarris, who connected him
with two groups of students who
had the same idea. In an inter-
view, the show's five producers
gave their thoughts on the pro-
"Everyone had the pieces that
everyone else's group was miss-
ing," said LSA junior Billy Finken-
Students in the Th'Undergrads
come from a wide variety ofcome-
dic backgrounds, including those
who come from improv groups,
others who are actors or stand-up
comics, and even those who were
not involved in these pursuits
before Th'Undergrads. Because
of this mix, LSA senior Joey Ber-
gen believes that the group has a
"wide range of different styles of
humor and different approaches
"I was really worried that
we weren't going to mesh,"
added LSA senior Jacqueline
Wilton."But I think its been OK."
The producers cite "Saturday
Night Live" as the group's big-
gest influence. Sketch-comedy
shows that use many camera
angles, such as "The State" and
"Mr. Show," also play a part in the
group's artistic decisions.
Unlike other sketch comedy
groupson campus, Th'Undergrads
films sketches and uploads them
to YouTube. They don't perform
their comedy live ... yet.
"That was the initial goal,"
Finkenstaedt said. "It became a
goal for the end of this semester."
Part of the problem keeping
Th'Undergrads from live audi-
ences is their filming schedule.
Th'Undergrads films in the base-
ment of North Quad, and because
the building is owned and oper-
ated by the University, the group
has to conform to a restrictive
"If we could film later on Fri-
days it would be easier to ... secure
an audience thatcouldstay for the
length of shooting," Finkenstaedt
Though the Th'Undergrads
film schedule is less than ideal,
the group does feel as though it
benefits from its relationship with
"We get to use these awesome
sets and these incredible cameras
that are not usually afforded to
people with our experience level,"
For now, fans of the show are
able to watch the group's antics
online. The show releases a
new, roughly 30-minute episode
every month. In the first episode,
sketches include a divorced game-
show host whose cheating wife
appears as a contestant on his
show, and University President
Mary Sue Coleman dressed as a
dominatrix hosting a fireside chat.
They haven't heard anything
from the University about that
At the writers' meeting this
month, sketch ideas included an
upbeat sitcom with the cast of
"The Silence of the Lambs" and
a lounge singer who forgets her
song mid-verse and is forced to
awkwardly improvise. All the
writers were conscientious of
keeping the sketches original.
Some ideas were noted as too sim-
ilar to a sketch in "SNL" or a scene
in "Family Guy."
Th'Undergrads hopes to have
members of football team on the
show in an upcomingepisode.
"We're not so closely tied with
Michigan but ... we are trying to
represent (that) we are Michigan
students and we put this togeth-
er," said LSA junior Nick Drew.
As students, the producers dis-
cussed how it has been difficult to
juggle course work with involve-
ment in Th'Undergrads. While
a few individuals are receiving
independent-study credit for the
project, others have classes that
"We have to ... stay up real-
ly late nights," Brown said.
"Th'Undergrads has now become
a primary engagement."
"Th'Undergrads is more impor-
tant to me ... a lot of my classes
are just theory, and this is actual
hands-on working with people,"
Furthermore, the show's pro-
ducers have had to learna lot from
scratch because they're a new stu-
"A lot of it is on-the-fly learn-
ing," Drew said. "It can be a clus-
ter-mess at times."
"(For) the first episode, we shot
eight sketches in one day," Brown
added. "We finished at 4 p.m. and
had all eight sketches shot ... we
learned that this is a machine that
is going to be oiled and it's only
going to get better."
Students interested in becom-
ing involved with Th'undergrads
should look for them in the fall.
"Hopefully, next semester,
auditions will be held, writers'
applications submitted and crew
applications submitted," Brown
said. "We're hoping to open this
up now that our name is out
By GREGORY HICKS
Daily Arts Writer
It doesn't surprise me in the
slightest that so many albums go
unnoticed when they come from
a Disney artist. Perhaps it's the
titles like Can't Be Tamed or Guilty
Pleasure that really do it for music
shoppers at a glance. Or maybe it's
the general attitude that Disney
kiddies are just spoiled brats who
get whateverthey want-- in these
cases, a record deal.
But I'm sure most of us would
agree thatthe world wouldn't be a
better place withoutHilary Duff's
Metamorphosis, which to this day
- almost 10 years later - isn't
considered "So Yesterday."
So stop thinking so hard about
the politics of it all, and check out
these albums with your ears, not
Jesse McCartney -
Right Where You Want Me
Jesse McCartney, this musi-
cal style is right where I want
you. Regardless of what his
other albums lead one to believe,
McCartney was born to be
a pop-rock singer. All of the
album's tracks are composed of
little more than voice, guitar and
This combination of rock and
pop gives McCartney an automat-
ic maturity boost without hav-
ing to sacrifice his radio-friendly
quality - let's not forget that
"pop" stands for popular. In fact,
you're probably more familiar
with the song "Right Where You
Want Me" than you think.
track, "Anybody," might also
strike some familiarity. This song
and a few otherswere written and
produced by hit songwriter Kara
DioGuardi, who - as you might
recall - became despised on mul-
tiple levels merely for existing as a
judge on "American Idol."
Unfortunately, with his follow-
up album, Departure, McCartney
jumped onto the R&B bandwagon
which all male artists seem to ride
nowadays, in an attempt to sound
as indistinguishable from Justin
Timberlake as possible.
Ashley Tisdale -
own stage name Porcelain Black.
The track will possibly feature
Joe Jonas - Fastlife
out a d
Guilty Pleasure I give Joe Jonas and the person
managing his career a lot of praise
1 I repeat - not surprised for how they handled this album.
bum wasn't even given a Unlike albums like Guilty Plea-
hought. From the risque sure, on which the absolute mini-
d cover art to the rebellious mum effort was put in to promote
ngle "Acting Out," I can't the project to a general audience,
ut feel that Ashley Tisdale a lot of work went into giving
r record label were trying Jonas a serious career.
ke it as difficult as possible When production of the album
hase this album. first began, Jonas collaborated
with the incredible Danja, notable
for his work on Britney Spears's
rhy not take a Blackout, which was named one
of the most influential pop albums
azychance?' of the last decade. This connec-
tion gave Jonas the opportunity
to promote the record by opening
for Spears's Femme Fatale tour
if you manage to survive in Europe. Having Danja pro-
h the first single - which duce almost half the album really
ts rebellion at a point that strings the work together as a
mewhere on a scale rang- whole.
tm zero to Disney - you His promotional single "See No
scover why listening to this More" received the most atten-
is my guilty pleasure. tion of any song on the album,
majority of the tracks partly for its unexpected sound
ective in terms of getting from a Jonas brother and partly
renaline flowing. "It's All for its songwriting credit goingto
It's Okay" and "Overrated" Chris Brown.
tty classic spirit lifters for The official remix of the sin-
kenhearted. gle "Just In Love" featuring Lil
song "Masquerade," with- Wayne will easily remove any
loubt, stands out the most qualms regarding Jonas's capa-
album. It's another high- bility to rid himself of his Jo-Bro
song, but with a touch of image. "See No More" was a sat-
y that isn't immediately isfying debut for simply showing
rable to any other artist's what Jonas was capable of, but
"Just In Love" could've done the
ile "Masquerade" is the sty- same while also becoming a big
masterpiece of the album, hit.
If" has an unbelievably Joe Jonas wasn't born to sing
il melody. As much as I dark, electronic pop, but it works
her, this song deserves bet- and keeps things interesting.
n being on an Ashley Tis- Despite poor album sales, Joe
bum. And sure enough, it Jonas's future is looking bright.
'itten byeveryone's favorite Based on this lack of success, it
sonality, Kara DioGuardi. might be time for Disney to start
lently, Alaina Beaton putting their artists on record
it the song she wrote on labels other than their own,
e's album, "How Do You as they did back in the Britney
Someone?" was also too Spears era. These days, a Disney
r it, because Beaton herself image provides more hindrance
leasing the song under her than assistance.
IS YOUR GOAL TO BE
... WOULD YOU SETTLE FOR
e YOU MAY BE PERFECT TO WRITE
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