Preview: Sphinx: A Sketch Show

Sphinx: A Sketch Show Preview
Tiffany Chi and Hojung Lee

April 21-23, 8:00 p.m., April 23, 11:00 p.m.

Loeb Experimental Theater

Directed by Tyler G. Hall ’11

Produced by Matthew J. DaSilva ’12

A good comedy writer never laughs at his own jokes. “Is [the script] still funny to you?” “Sphinx: A Sketch Show” staff writer David A. Brescia asks director Tyler G. Hall ’11. To which Hall responds, “It’s not funny at all!”


“Sphinx” is a student-written and produced show with contributions from members of On Harvard Time, the Lampoon—a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine—Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and various improvisational comedy groups on campus. “We’ve assembled a Harvard Comedy All-Star team, with minimal steroid use,” staff writer and cast member Molly O. Fitzpatrick ’11, also a Crimson arts editor, writes in an email. In truly collaborative style, many different people were responsible for coming up with ideas for sketches. Writers would “throw around ideas until someone [said] something funny,” Brescia says.

“Sphinx” was born out of the desire to create a sketch show with a continuous theme. In the end, they decided to make a sketch show about life itself. “[‘Sphinx’] started out amorphous, but towards the end we became a lot more driven,” says Hall.

The inspiration for the show comes from the Sphinx’s Riddle: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs at night? The answer, of course, is man. In accordance with the riddle, the show consists of sketches about all walks of life, ranging from weddings to funerals, from classrooms to family homes. In one sketch, an elementary school child presents a book report on an erotic novel. In another, a man is confronted by his daughter’s stuffed animals about his alcohol problems and pathetic life. Hall promises surprisingly intricate sets and props for such short scenes.

Despite its basis in mythology, Hall says, “It’s not as highbrow as we make it sound.” According to Hall, “shows should just be about jokes and no pretension.” In order to avoid confusion, he adds, “we’re advertising all these Egyptian sphinxes, but the show has nothing to do with Egyptian sphinxes.” He continues, “We’re flying on the seat of our pants over here.”


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