PROVO — “Feel free, if you hear something funny, let it out,” said Stacey Harkey, a member of BYUtv’s “Studio C,” to a crowd at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo last week.
“If you don’t, you can just boo.”
There weren’t any boos, though. Quite the opposite. BYUtv treated “Studio C” superfans that day to a live table read of possible sketches for the popular TV show’s next season. It’s a new undertaking for “Studio C”: They usually host these table reads among themselves, without an outside audience, as a way to pitch and refine new sketch ideas.
It’s a different dynamic with a room full of fans — ultimately, a far more forgiving one.
“I think per sketch, you can get an idea of where the audience is sometimes, if they’re with you, and if it’s helpful or not,” Harkey told the Deseret News after the table read. “We’re a little harder on ourselves than our fan base would be.”
Still, certain sketches landed better than others that afternoon. Cast member Whitney Call said the live audience didn’t really change the way she and her cast mates read the sketches, even if the collective reaction differed.
“If it’s a good sketch, there’s lots of laughter; we’re all just kind of having fun,” she told the Deseret News. “If it’s a bad sketch, there’s lots of nice laughter. Then afterward, usually by our own admission, we’re like, ‘OK, let’s chuck that one.’”
So, what kind of sketches is “Studio C” cooking up these days? Well, they involve messy cars, wistful ballads and lying roommates, among other things. And these new sketches don’t shy away from gross-out humor — gags included skeletons with nooses around their necks, licking chocolate pudding from one’s armpits (really), and lots and lots of vomit.
Will all of these sketches make it to air? Time will tell.
“Not all sketches deserve life. That’s worth thinking about,” cast member Matt Meese told the studio audience during a post-reading Q&A. “But really, though — sometimes you know it’s bad, and you should abandon ship and work on something new.”
“Studio C” members discussed the show’s origins that afternoon, and it’s likely future. Beginning as an outgrowth of Brigham Young University’s longtime sketch comedy troupe Divine Comedy, “Studio C” pulled from Divine Comedy’s existing cast, Call explained. Much of that cast has remained the same since the show’s premiere in 2012. According to Call, the casting focused not only on comedic chops, but overall friendliness.
“Like, could I see myself spending 12 hours straight with this person and not wanting to go crazy?” she explained. “Because that’s what we have to do sometimes.”4 comments on this story
The current season of “Studio C” features some new cast members, including Dalton Johnson, Tori Pence and Aaron Fielding. These newcomers followed in their forbearers’ footsteps as members of Divine Comedy. They also took Meese’s sketch writing class at BYU.
“We really want ‘Studio C’ to be something that can continue, but it’s just a slow process. It’s taken a long time for us to get the machine running the way it is,” cast member Mallory Everton told the audience. “In the future, hopefully we’ll have some kind of system that opens it up to a larger group.”