Columbia High's Friday Night Live Show Cancelled, Then Moved

Friday Night Live, a comedy sketch club, saw their performance cancelled then relocated

The Saturday show went on for (FNL), Columbia High School's comedy sketch club, though the performance was first cancelled by school officials, then moved to the . Still, confusion lingers. The performance is the subject of a lengthy MaplewoodOnline thread, and considerable social media speculation on the part of students.

FNL is a performance group based on Saturday Night Live sketch comedy, explained Grace Gifford, who graduated from CHS in 2011. Gifford, a FNL member, was , and described the group and its activities. The group meets throughout the year to write a series of sketches that become the annual June performance. In recent years, the June performance has taken place in the Black Box Theatre at CHS; shows generally sell out.

The sketches spoof life at Columbia High School and beyond, Gifford explained in 2010, poking fun at well-known students, teachers, and administrators. Members of the group are regulars at CHS in Action Night.

This year, some school adults and students felt the comedy went too far, according to a student who contacted Patch. Students present at a performance earlier this week believe that an adult district employee asked a student to videotape a sketch that may have parodied her. According to three reports from those present, when that student began videotaping, despite requests from the troupe not to photograph or tape the performance, the student was asked to leave. However, this report has not been confirmed by authorities, and the identity of the adult was not released to Patch.

Others felt it was the content of the show that caused officials to act.  A junior at CHS tells Patch, "The shows were just very raunchy and innappropriate, their jokes were aimed mostly at homosexuals but they had a few jokes aimed towards Africans or people of African descent."  She continues, "I think students were truly angered just because the show was so innappropriate."

After performances earlier in the week, school officials told the group, which has two faculty advisors, that the final (Saturday) performance would be cancelled.  The group was able to obtain space at the Maplewood Tennis Club, where, explains a parent who was present, the venue sold out, with standing-room only.

The district has not yet made a formal statement on the incident.

Patch will continue to follow this story.

aimee willis June 15, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I must say, however, that I am very flattered to be lumped in with Janet, who is an extremely thoughtful and intelligent person!
Marcia Worth June 15, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Two comments were deleted by the editor. Please remember to keep your remarks civil. I know this has become a heated topic. Thank you.
STEPHANIE VOLIN June 15, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Aimee, you're acting like a bit of a bully here: bullying the Patch editors, bullying people on MOL (IF you are who I think you are) and also here. Quite tantrumy really. Ease off the exclamation points. Threatening lawsuits? What kind of lesson is THAT for the kids? I have no special knowledge of the situation, but I am willing to wait and listen to the facts as they emerge. Someone is covering their bum big time, and that will come out eventually. But in the meantime, you seem unwilling to believe that someone could have possibly been offended by this skit. The skits change every year, correct? So why is it so inconceivable that this is the first year in 40 that these kids stepped out of bounds and someone was genuinely wounded? Who are you to tell them how they should feel? Of course it would be nice if we could all laugh at ourselves in some sort of post-racial, post-gender, post-nerd etc. utopia. Possibly the atmosphere will need nitrous oxide. I don't know. I signed the petition because I think the punishment was overly severe and there were clearly other issues at play, and probably some miscommunication.
aimee willis June 15, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Stephanie, It is not my intention to bully. Yes, those of us with children in FNL do know what sparked the situation. I am not saying that comedy, including this FNL show, does not have the potential to offend people. I AM saying that there is a responsible way to react, whether that is not seeing the show, talking to the kids, etc., and that has not been done here. People can feel however they want to feel, but handle it in a mature way, not by implying kids are racist and homophobic, right next to a photo of the kids! The legal action you mention was me wondering if Patch releases names of people who post extremely slanderous comments while remaining anonymous only by subpoena. Patch removed the slanderous comment. What the school is doing to our children is unconscionable, and as a parent, I take that seriously. I am sorry if I come off tantrumy. It is because I would like the things that are printed about this painful situation and these children to be as accurate as possible, and see them treated fairly, because that is a parent's job. If you were a parent in this position, and you could remain calmer, you are obviously a much better person than I. I am doing my best.
STEPHANIE VOLIN June 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM
sorry, Aimee, I should have been more clear. If it was my child, I would absolutely be pursuing this as vigorously as possible, including retaining a lawyer. My comment about the "threatening lawsuits" was in reference to the comments that have since been deleted (probably while I was writing). Here's a general thought, not aimed at anyone in particular: anyone who casually throws around the term "race card" should own all of the baggage that comes with it. It's a divisive and ugly term. It drips with contempt. People that use it probably don't drink their morning tea from an "I Heart My Black Neighbors" mug.


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