Temple students are writing, producing and starring in their own variety show reminiscent of SNL. The show’s second episode films this Thursday.
A group of Temple students is making like the gang from Saturday Night Live by writing, directing, producing and starring in its own TV series being filmed on campus this Thursday and airing online. The program, Temple Smash, will also be broadcast on Temple’s television station once it is up and running.
Temple Smash is a 30-minute TV variety show series featuring sketch comedy acts, musical performances and stand-up comedy, taped in Annenberg Hall’s Studio 1 in front of a live audience, a la the ever-popular Saturday evening variety show.
Scott McClennen, a junior film and media arts major and SNL intern, is co-producing Temple Smash alongside fellow junior FMA major Kim Burnick. McClennen had the idea of putting together a student-run variety show last year, and completed a pilot episode during the Spring 2009 semester to show at the Diamond Screen Film Festival in May. The upcoming episode is two months in the making.
“There’s a lack of unity between SCT departments, but they are all related,” McClennen said. “One of the missions of Temple Smash is to get students to come together and put their media skills into practice. It serves as a platform for students to showcase their talents.”
The project currently has independent extra-curricular status, but McClennen said he hopes Smash will become university-sanctioned.
“Trying to do this takes money, and fees keep popping up for costumes and props,” he said.
Funding isn’t the only issue Smash faces, however. The show could also use more support from fellow students. There are roughly 35 cast and crew members, but volunteers are needed to lend a hand, specifically with performances, writing, advertising and marketing.
McClennen reached out to the Temple Reel Society for volunteers, and sophomore philosophy major Lauren McEntyre was one of the several society members who obliged.
“Scott came to one of our meetings for set-up help. I don’t have any film experience, and I thought it would be fun,” she said at one of two tech rehearsals held last week.
The first act to practice was a short comedy sketch titled, “Who Invited Her,” written by Ryan “Toast” Dadalski, about a girl who shows up to a typical college party and ruins it with her incessant fact and statistic dropping.
“When I was applying [to Temple], I asked if there was something like this that I could get involved with,” said sophomore BTMM major Emily Diego, one of the actors in this skit, “and they were like, ‘No but you can start one.’”
Diego, who was part of the audience for the pilot episode, knows McClennen and several of her co-stars through Temple’s Improv Club. She acts in another one of the show’s sketches with Victor Gennaro, a junior theater major and host of Temple Smash, but hadn’t formally met him before rehearsal.
“I came late and just met him for the first time right before,” Diego said of the scene where Gennaro, playing an over-the-top movie director, is supposed to slap her backside. “That was like our handshake, if you will.”
Junior advertising major Aaron Miller acts in two sketches, including “Who Invited Her,” alongside Diego. He said he is glad to be involved.
“[This experience] provides something that wasn’t there before, and a lot of people at Temple, which I found out through doing this sketch, have very similar interests,” he said.
Frank Sauerwald is the staff supervisor overseeing the operation, but it’s the students who are in charge of pulling the show together.
“What’s cool about working with other students is we can sit down and talk about the scripts, like last night we went over to one of the writers’ house, and we went through the script, and we looked at things that might be good to cut out or things that might be good to add,” Miller said.
Performers aren’t limited to Temple students, either. David Ray, a University of Pennsylvania sophomore, was invited by McClennen to deliver his stand-up on Temple Smash.
“I wanted more experience doing stand-up in a new environment,” Ray said of why he accepted.
Ray met with McClennen at Temple during rehearsals to do a test-run of his four-minute stand-up act.
“He’s not sure about one of my jokes,” Ray said. “And it’s my best joke.”
Other acts include a song by Boxcar Children, a folk band that uses guitars in concert with a banjo, a ukulele, a harp and other string instruments, and a performance by four of the Bell Tower’s Freestyle Friday MCs, Verbatum Jones, Mic Stewart, Faze 2 and the Alien Architect.
Temple Smash is showing Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8:15 p.m. in Annenberg Hall. Admission is free. The episode, as well as the pilot, will be available at templesmash.com.
Michelle Provencher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.