Cat Mafia Comedy puts out hit with new show

Sam Ergina, Online Arcade Editor

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Tulane’s sketch comedy group Cat Mafia Comedy, formerly known as Etch-A-Sketch Comedy, has come a long way, at least name-wise. When the group isn’t worrying about copyright laws of children’s toys, Cat Mafia is killing a crowd with jokes that are simultaneously outrageous and well-grounded.

The crowd crammed into the tiny black box theater of McWilliams on April 3 for the group’s fifth and final showing of its show Orange Julius Caesar Salad. Whatever nooks and crannies the audience could fit into, they did, creating an intimate, albeit somewhat uncomfortable, atmosphere, which encouraged laughter and set a communal mood to the show.

The atmosphere didn’t need much of an effect. The sketches were hilarious and varied in their types of humor. Many of them took a mundane situation and added one absurd element to the mixture for a creative and comedic cocktail.

“We have vastly different styles,” Cat Mafia member and Tulane senior June Murphy said. “So we try to figure out different ways to approach writing sketches in a way that kind of tickles all of our brains individually.”

In “Office Breakroom,” Cat Mafia spoofs usual water cooler conversation with the premise of a coworker being a lizard person. “Jogging Friends” answers the question of what happens when you finally reach the end of the chap stick. The funniest moments of the show weren’t in the absurdity of the situations, but how seamlessly Cat Mafia Comedy emulates real life under these crazy conditions.

Other sketches were great in their simplicity. “Air Band Practice” only needed 15 seconds to hit its punchline, but the moment the music turned off and you could hear each band member grunting what they think their instrument is supposed to sound like, the audience exploded with laughter. Even something like folding laundry as a prank can be funny when it pops up sporadically throughout the show and the actors are fully committed to their characters. It was clear that the camaraderie formed from the arduous process to get to the final performances built natural chemistry between Cat Mafia’s members. 

“I have like a family, so just to be onstage with all them was really special.” Murphy said.

Essentially, it was the commitment and the talent of the people involved that made this show as strong as it was. In “Tail of Lobsters,” the doomed shellfish were incredibly dramatic and the people wearing the goofy lobster hats immersed themselves into those roles. That acting and a simple, but well thought out, premise — plus maybe a good pun or two — build the framework Orange Julius Caesar Salad followed perfectly for another successful show.