Student Director: Michelle Kuchinsky

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

March 6, 2012

Michelle Kuchinsky ’12 is the director of Brandeis Ensemble Theater’s latest production, Fuddy Meers. The play, which debuted at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1999, follows protagonist Claire, a woman with amnesia who wakes up each day as a blank slate, à la “50 First Dates.” Unlike the Adam Sandler comedy, however, Claire’s condition makes her an easy target. The play will be staged Thursday, March 15 through Sunday, March 18 in the Carl J. Shapiro Theater.

JustArts: How did you hear about this play, and why did you decide to propose it to Brandeis Ensemble Theater?

Michelle Kuchinsky: I was looking for a show that had a little bit more intrigue than just your straightforward linear plot. I was in “Suzuki” last semester, and I asked one of the TAs for the class (he used to be an MFA grad student, but I think now he’s assistant teaching for theater in the area) and he recommended the author [David Lindsay-Abaire], and I don’t know, the play just really called out to me.

Obviously it’s not the most well-known play, and the title is kind of obscure, so I think it’s hard for people to conceptualize what they’re about to watch or what they might spend $3 to go see, but I think that the play has a lot of intrigue and mystery [and] in the end has a lot of depth and moving moments to it.

JA: Have you ever seen Fuddy Meers performed before?

MK: Nope, never. This is my first time.

JA: So where are you right now in the rehearsal process?

MK: This is basically our last week of rehearsing. This week the actors cannot commit to any other clubs aside from us. Next week we start building the set, and that’s pretty much what we do all week except for maybe one of two dress rehearsals, if we’re lucky.

JA: What are, in your opinion, the main themes of this play?

MK: On the surface it’s about a woman who’s trying to uncover the truth of her past, but a lot of the characters are looking for ways to change and to search for forgiveness. It sort of blurs the lines between what it means for someone else to forgive you and for you to forgive yourself. [It’s about] just trying to uncover what those differences are and what really is the essence of forgiving yourself and moving on.

JA: There’s a lot of physical action in the play, as well as several twists and unforeseen revelations about who the characters really are. What was that like to direct and choreograph?

MK: There are various moments when you find out something totally new. It was definitely cool for me, at the first read-through when all the actors thought that everything was one way at the beginning, and they themselves [were uncovering] each piece of the puzzle as they were reading. That was really cool to see them all gasp and [say], “Oh my God, I can’t believe that.”

But we always have to remind ourselves at every stage, what does the audience know now versus what they knew before. And it also follows the main character, so the audience knows exactly as much as the lead character knows. It’s a very clear reminder of where the audience is in understanding the piece and the greater mystery.

JA: Have you directed previously at Brandeis?

MK: Yeah. Last fall I directed White Liars/Black Comedy, and then I also did Quickies once.

JA: What other theater experience do you have? Have you acted before?

MK: My freshman year I was in The House of Blue Leaves, and I’ve acted in Quickies a couple of times after that. I did a couple of 24-Hour Musicals, and I also teched a couple of shows. I did the board operating, the light and sound [operation] and run crew and behind the scenes things.

JA: This cast only has seven characters. What was that like working with such a small group of people?

MK: Well, I guess it was the same for White Liars/Black Comedy. That was the same, one half of the performance also had seven characters [White Liars/Black Comedy is two plays combined into one performance]. So for me it was pretty much the same. Ironically enough, I could never get them all in the same room, because we just happened to pick very over-committed people—well, I think everyone at Brandeis is over-committed.

Yesterday was probably the first rehearsal that the whole cast was at for more than five minutes, and this is our last week of rehearsal. So it would be nice to say, “Oh, a small cast, they were all there and got to know each other really well,” but unfortunately they always kept missing each other.


Brandeis Basement

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Feb. 14, 2012

brandeis memes

“Hey man, I’m sober. Let’s go to Ollie’s.”

By now, this satirical quip has become ubiquitous on campus, thanks to Paul Gale ’12, Adam Lapetina ’12, Aaron Sadowsky ’13 and Joshua Seiden ’13. The four students released their first video through the website Brandeis Basement, titled “Shit Brandeis Students Don’t Say,” last Wednesday. The video, which follows the “S­hit Some Group Says” meme format, quickly went viral. It has accumulated over 16,000 views by press time. For non-math majors, that’s five times the population of the student body.

“We were like, ‘We’re starting this website online,’ … and people could share it on social networks, and that would be the end of the day. Or we could do something that people would really want to share and would get our name out,” Gale said.

Campus Basement, Brandeis Basement’s parent site, is a platform for college students to broadcast humor relating to their individual schools. Seiden originally contacted the site to create the partnership. Now that their first video has proven to be such a success, a sequel is the first thing the guys are working on: The second “Shit Brandeis Students Don’t Say” project will be “a combination of both [new and previously shot footage], but mostly new things,” said Lapetina. Seiden added, “We made some allusions to the first video in the second video.”

Sadowsky said, “We established some really strong characters which we’re going to carry over to the second video.” The students cracked up as Gale mentioned perhaps the most-well known joke in the video, “J. Scott Van Der Meow.” This crack refers, of course, to Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid. Van Der Meid has apparently taken the joke in stride, even posing for a picture with the four video creators. “For the next video, we should just have a cat, … a cat studying abroad,” Gale offered.

brandeis memes 2

The Brandeis Basement team is hoping to increase the number of campus celebrities in their next video, including University President Frederick Lawrence. “We’ll tone it down for him, … make it as tame as possible,” Lapetina joked. Though it’s unlikely that University policy makers will show up in the next video, “Shit Brandeis Students Don’t Say” has clearly made an impact on campus.

Many people, both students and professors, have complimented Gale, Lapetina, Sadowsky and Seidenon their work and encouraged them to create more content. “It’s been fun to have such a high response. It’s cool to see something that pretty much everybody at Brandeis liked, and that’s a unique thing,” Seiden said.

“Except for four people,” Gale interjected, referring to the four dislikes the video has gotten on YouTube.

“Yeah, well, those four people can fuck themselves,” Seiden teased in mock-anger.

All kidding aside, the video has had a real positive impact on its creators. Lapetina, who has not worked in front of the camera previously, remarked, “It’s been nice, because I’ve become a little more confident in my acting ability as a result of this. Working on [my] delivery and workshopping it, it’s been a really fun experience, and I’ve learned a lot. I think it will maybe lead into some other opportunities down the line.”

Students are already eagerly anticipating the new video, which, along with the creation of the Brandeis Memes Facebook page, has ushered in an surge of online student-created humor.

The memes page takes the popular picture-and-caption formats that have been on the internet for years—including Forever Alone, the Most Interesting Man in the World and Awkward Penguin— and alters them to apply to Brandeis life. One example is the page’s take on the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme, in which a picture of Ryan Gosling is covered by a cheesy pick-up line. The caption on the Brandeis picture reads “Hey girl, is your name Rabb Steps? Because you just took my breath away.”

The Memes page includes several GIFs from the “Shit” video.

As more and more humor goes from print to the web, and videos can go viral in a matter of hours, it will be fun to watch a group of Brandeis comedians gain a bit of cyber celebrity. Look out for the team’s second video, which will be posted after February break.

Jackie Theoharis

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Jan. 24, 2012

Theoharis (bottom, center) in the Woodland Theater Company’s “Cabaret.”

College is a time to explore interests, pick a major and prepare for a career. For most of us, the subject we thought we would choose to study at the beginning of our college career is not the one we end up picking in the end. For Jackie Theoharis ’14, however, theater was a passion that she never thought twice about.

“I love sharing things with the audience. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to perform, to bring such enjoyment to all these different people,” said Theoharis in an interview with justArts. She has been performing all her life, and although she is only a sophomore, Theoharis is already branching out into professional theater companies in addition to performing on the Brandeis stage.

In a few days, Theoharis will be appearing in the Woodland Theater Company’s production of Cabaret. The musical takes place during the early days of Nazi Germany and centers around the Kit Kat Klub, a sleazy Berlin nightclub, and its performers and patrons. Theoharis plays Fräulein Kost, a prostitute who lives in a boarding house along with the Klub’s performers.

“She is … [an] interesting one,” said Theoharis of her character. “She’s supposed to be a lot older, so I was surprised and a little nervous when I was cast, because normally she’s played by a 30- or 35-year-old woman, but the director [Doug Hodge] had a different take on it. She’s a prostitute, and she loves sailors. She’s so funny; … there are so many scenes where you see me coming out of a man’s room with three sailors at a time, it’s ridiculous.” Kost is a German character and has some ties to the Nazi party, though this connection is rather understated in the play. Theoharis says that knowing some of her character’s subtler motivations made Kost more interesting, both to her and, she thinks, to the play’s audience.

Acting professionally and going to school full-time is not an easy task. “It’s busy,” says Theoharis. “It’s been crazy. Specifically for Cabaret, we’ve been rehearsing every day, so it’s a lot. I have classes all day and then rehearsal at night. I’ve been exhausted from dancing and everything. But it’s all definitely worth it, I think. You just get such a great experience.”

Theoharis has been involved in professional theater before. This summer, she performed with ReagalPlayers, a company located in Waltham, and she appeared in Turtle Lane Playhouse’s The Drowsy Chaperone. And this past fall, Theoharis sang and acted her way to a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for F.U.D.G.E. Theater Company’s Spring Awakening.The nomination comes from MyTheatre, a subset of My Entertainment WORLD, a website that covers arts performances and programs in Toronto, New York, Boston and occasionally other cities. In Awakening Theoharis played Ilse, a sexually abused student who runs away from home in late 19th-century Germany. My Theatre named 40 nominees in four divisions—National, Regional, Student and Other. Theoharis was nominated in the Regional category on Jan. 12.

Theoharis plays a Nazi prostitute in the production.

Theoharis has also performed at Brandeis. Her most recent role was Hope Cladwell inTympanium Euphorium’s Urinetown: the Musical. Fräulein Kost is quite a departure from the overly cheerful Cladwell, but Theoharis is prepared to encounter all types of roles in her theater experience. “Obviously [acting is] something that I’m so passionate about and something that I’ve been doing forever,” said Theoharis. “I definitely want to at least try to make it a career, but I know that it’s very difficult. In the theater business, … it’s all very emotionally intense, if you live your life auditioning and constantly getting rejected. It’s basically a career you have to go into knowing that you’re going to be rejected. But really it’s something that I would at least want to try to do.”

Theoharis has already proven herself to be a competent and committed performer, both at Brandeis and in the Boston theater scene. It will be exciting to see what she ends up doing in the future. Maybe someday we’ll even see her name in lights.

Cabaret is playing at the Lowell Mason Auditorium on 88 R South, Medfield, Mass. Jan. 27 and 28 at 8p.m. and Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Student Musician: Yoni Battat

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Jan. 24, 2012

Brandeis Music majors are required to perform a recital their junior year. Violist Yoni Battat ’13 explained to justArts how he came to learn the viola, what went into creating his recital, and what other musical projects he’s involved with on campus. The concert will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Slosberg Recital Hall.

 JustArts: How did this concert where you’re doing your own performance with a few people come to happen?

Yoni Battat: I’m a performance major in the Music department. … I’m a viola performance major, and one of the requirements is that you have to give a junior and senior recital. It’s kind of a culmination of the work you’ve been doing with your private teacher.

JA: How did you decide which pieces to perform at the recital?

YB: They like the junior recitals to be a little shorter and then the senior recitals are on the longer side, so I had time constraints. But [the pieces are] really just what I was working on with my private teacher, Prof. Mary Ruth Ray (MUS). … She’s the violist of the Lydian [String] Quartet, so I’ve been working with her a lot, and I really just chose pieces that I really like and that we’ve been working on together. I also tried to keep the program really practical, because I’m also playing a concerto with the orchestra in April, so I wanted a lot of time to prepare for that, too.

JA: Did you compose one of the pieces you’re playing?

YB: Yeah, I like to try and program some of my own music, just because I don’t have a lot of motivation to compose a lot, and when I’m the one who’s playing the music it gives me a really good excuse to write something. … I called [the piece] a “Fantasy Sonata for Viola and Marimba.” … I wrote it to play with a good friend of mine, Josh Goldman ’11, who graduated last year. He’s part of the [Masters in Arts and Teaching] program right now, so he’s still around. … He plays marimba, and we’ll do that piece on the program also.

JA: How did you first get into playing viola?

YB: Well, I started violin when I was 4 and I played all throughout elementary school and junior high, and in high school, I switched to a supplemental music program called [Educational Center for the Arts] in New Haven, Conn., and I was kind of put in a position where I needed to play viola, because the violist they had couldn’t make the concert or something like that. So I had to try playing the viola part and I really loved it. … So in about 10th grade I switched to viola, and it’s been working out.

JA: Have you played previously at Brandeis?

YB: Well I’ve been playing in the orchestra since freshman year, and I’ve also been taking … a course that’s offered every semester in Chamber Music. … It’s just small string groups or piano sometimes, wind instruments, just small ensembles and there’s a lot of repertoire written for that kind of small ensembles. Usually it’s run by either Prof. Judy Eissenberg (MUS), who’s also a member of the [LydianString] Quartet, or Evan Hirsch (MUS) who’s a really great pianist … on the faculty. And so I’ve been taking that course pretty much every semester that I’ve been here, and … you get put in with a group. One time I did a trio with a clarinet and stand-up pianist, one time I did a quintet, I did another trio with cello and violin. Every semester it’s been different. So we get to prepare a piece of chamber music at the end of the semester, so that’s been really fun and I’m doing that this semester, too.

JA: Are there other styles of music you are interested in or involved in?

YB: Yeah, I strongly believe that the most talented classical musicians have to be well-rounded and worldly, … especially in the modern day you see performers like Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O’Connor orItzhak Perlman, all of whom work with world music genres and other genres, so I think that’s really important and can only add to what you’re doing. So … I am part of the Klezmer ensemble at Brandeis, called ‘DeisKeit, and along with Ethan Goldberg ’12, who’s a senior right now, we’ve kind of been the driving force behind that. We played on campus and professionally in the Boston area the past few years, which has been really fun. I’m also interested in Middle Eastern music. I took a course last semester with the new teaching fellow in the Music department Ann [Elizabeth] Lucas. I took her “Music and Culture in the Middle East” class last semester. She’s also going to be starting a Middle Eastern music ensemble that I’m a part of. I’m going to be playing violin and a Middle Eastern lute called the oud. So that’s going to be a lot of fun. Outside of that, I also sing in an a cappella group and I music direct my a capella group, Company B, and that’s a lot of fun. That’s a totally different kind of thing.

Student Directors: Jessie Field and Rachel Huvard interview

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Nov. 22, 2011


Proof won just about every award that it was up for when it was first staged in 2001, inclulding a Pultizer Prize and a Tony. The play, by David Auburn, is a tiny production with only four characters. Yet it manages to encompass a wide range of human experience. JustArts spoke to director Jessie Field ’13 and stage manager Rachel Huvard ’14 about their experiences working on the show.

JustArts: Why did you choose to do this play, or how did that process come about?

Jessie Field: Well, I chose to do the play; I was actually in my very first theater course at Brandeis, THA2A, which no longer exists. I was assigned Proof in a group to do a short project about it, and I read it. It was one of the only plays I actually read and actually gasped at parts out loud in real life, and I just loved it. We had a scene from it, and … the whole time I was just itching to direct it. And Free Play is a great group that I’m a part of, and … it seemed like a great match.

JA: What are the themes of Proof, and how do those get established in the play?

JF: There are a lot of themes in the play. The one I focus on a lot is sort of this philosophical uncertainty, because the characters in the play are dealing with mental illness or questioning their own sanity or the sanity of the people around them. The play is called Proof for a variety of reasons, but they’re constantly searching for proof of everything: of love, of friendship, that somebody has written this amazing thing, that comes to mind. … There are also gender themes, things about following your dreams, your passion. Family is a big thing too.

Rachel Huvard: I would agree with that, like obligations to family.

JA: So, the cast only has four people. What is it like working with such a small group?

JF: Wonderful, confusing, the best.

RH: Not only are they a small group, but they’re also incredibly talented and amazing people to work with who have great ideas and have contributed so much throughout the process that it’s just a pleasure to work with them.

JF: Seriously, it’s astounding how talented they are and how much they bring to the table. Working in a close environment, you can really get into things. I know people very personally, it’s great.

JA: So where is the play going to be staged?

JF: It is going to be staged in Schwartz Auditorium.

RH: It’s kind of both a bad lecture hall and a bad theater space, so it’s an interesting space to work in because of that. It doesn’t really fully serve either of its potential purposes. We wanted it to be a more intimate-feeling space because of the small cast and the nature of the show, so we ended up building our own platform to serve as the stage, and it’s on the floor right in front of the audience.

JF: It really limits the playing space.

RH: Yeah, and keeps everything really close and personal.

JF: Then we fill in the rest of the forward seats so everyone’s really close. Because it is a huge space.

JA: So are all the characters crammed onstage at all times?

JF: No, in fact they’re never onstage at the same time—all four are never onstage at the same time.

JA: Have the stage or screen adaptations of Proof influenced the way the play is going, have you seen the movie?

JF: I have seen the movie, but it didn’t help at all. They had all the people in the world [to work with], and I wouldn’t want to base it on that anyway; Rachel has seen it too. A lot of people have seen it and hated it. It’s not a good representation. I don’t like how they [portrayed] some parts of the story. I think we tried to find out our own interpretation.

RH: I didn’t see the movie until halfway through the rehearsal process. After seeing the movie I was disappointed. Proof [has] such an amazing script. … The film was compromised by how many resources they had. I like our version, not that I am biased.

JA: This being such a small group, has the cast influenced the way you thought about directing, has it been a collaborative experience?

JF: I tried to make it a collaborative experience. We are all peers, and it is difficult for one person to take a leadership role. I do have ideas I’ll stick to, but most of the time I look at what [the cast is] going to do and try and make it work.

RH: Because we have such a small cast we have been able to devote a nice amount of time to the discussion and what we think of them

JA: Is this your first time managing/directing?

RH: I have stage managed before. I stage managed at my high school, and I was an assistant stage manager for Jessie during Margaret: a Tiger’s Heart.

JF: This was the second show I have directed at Brandeis.

Student Organizers: Sriya Srikrishnan and Jasnam Sachathep interview

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Nov. 15, 2011

This Saturday, the South Asian Students Association will put on one of Brandeis’ biggest cultural festivals of the year, MELA. JustArts spoke to two students deeply involved in the festival: SASA Co-presidents Jasnam Sachathep ’12 and Sriya Srikrishnan ’12. Sachathep and Srikrishnan are both international students of Indian descent, though Sachathep currently lives in Thailand. These passionate students explained just how they bring a night of their native traditions to campus each year.

JustArts: How does the entire MELA production come together?

Sriya Srikrishnan: We start over the summer. There are defined roles each [executive] board member takes on [for MELA], besides their normal position. We have various committees: food, decorations, charity, organizing the after-party, publicity and there are two event coordinators who are in charge of all the acts. The basic committees take care of everything. Over the summer we also begin thinking about different themes.

Jasnam Sachathep: we try to start as early as possible.

JA: How do the different performers become involved in MELA?

SS: At our general [SASA] meetings we have sign-up sheets, and anyone can sign up for the standard class dances. People can sign up to be a choreographer. There are also individual acts, so whoever wants to do it can just come up and ask us. Once we have the list of acts we send it out on the listserve so that people can sign up for what they want to do.

JS: We don’t limit it. Anyone can perform.

JA: What is this year’s theme and how did you come up with it?

JS: The theme is “Pehchaan,” which means identity. Well, that’s one of several meanings/connotations of the word.

SS: Normally the e-board members come up with different themes. The theme has to be educational but broad enough that you can do a lot with it.

JS: It also has to be conducive to the structure of the show. How can we pick an overarching theme that ties everything together?

SS: We have lots of different acts, a slideshow, etc. We want a theme that can bring everything together.

JA: How will the theme be incorporated into the show?

JS: Voice recordings add a touch of non-South Asian opinions from people who have connections to our culture.

SS: Our slideshow will definitely be based on the topic. There are some acts that specifically address identity, in the form of poetry and dance. Our decorations on the outside of Levin [Ballroom] will be images of things that people in the club think identity or South Asian means to them.

JA: How is MELA 2011 different from other years?

SS: This year, we really reached out to the faculty and staff. We asked them to do voice recordings about what South Asia and MELA means to them. We also have some new acts and more individual performances.

JA: How many countries do SASA and MELA represent?

JS: Eight: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. We try to have a dance from each country, even if students aren’t from that country. We’ve had Afghani dance and Nepali dance, though a majority of [Brandeis] students are from India and Pakistan. But we do make a mention of all the countries in the slide show. We may not have cultural dances from each country, but we try to include them.

JA: How do you feel in the days coming up to this year’s event?

JS: I feel really bittersweet because it’s senior year. You look forward to it but you don’t want it to end, because this is it, this is the last time.

SS: I’m a senior as well, so it’s really exciting and I feel the anxiousness. It usually goes by really quick, so I’ve just been trying to enjoy every moment of it. I’ve been trying to convince [Jasnam] to perform since freshman year, and now she’s finally doing it, so I’m also really looking forward to that.

JA: What do you hope the audience will get out of the performances?

JS: In the show there are performances that are the same every year, but there’s always that cultural touch that comes out to the campus. We don’t get to show our culture throughout the year, we don’t wear our traditional garb or do our dances normally. This is the one time when we’re educating and showing the community what the South Asian culture is really about.

SS: Also, with this particular team, we want people to focus during the show on their own identity and what identity really means to them. That is something we would want them to take back from MELA.

Josh Gondelman comedy album

Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice

Nov. 8, 2011

josh g

The 2007 graduate jokes about baldness and being a male preschool teacher on his first comedy album.

Brandeis is a pretty funny campus. It seems as though at least one of our five improv-comedy groups (Bad Grammer, False Advertising, Crowd Control, To Be Announced and Brandeis’ Premiere Improv Comedy Club) or two sketch-comedy groups (Boris’ Kitchen and Little Hands) always has a performance coming up, and the Blowfish and Gravity Magazine publish regularly. For a small school, we seem to have more than our fair share of people willing to make fools of themselves for a laugh. So it should come as no surprise that a Brandeis alumnus is making waves as a professional comedian.

Josh Gondelman ’07 started performing stand-up at comedy clubs in Boston while he was still a Brandeis undergrad. Now he has released his first album, titled Everything’s the Best.

Everything’s the Best‘s 20 tracks showcase Gondelman’s skill as a humorist and an entertainer as he describes his life as a former preschool teacher, a Jew and an all-around nerd.

Gondelman considers “Everything’s the Best” his capstone project celebrating his time doing standup in Boston.

In an interview with justArts, the comedian described where he gets his material. “I try to reflect the things that are happening in my life on stage. I talk about the kids that I taught, I talk about relationships that I’m in. I talk about stuff that I like, like minor league baseball and Encyclopedia Brown.” Gondelman elaborated on his love for the boy detective, a bit that he also performs on the CD. “Encyclopedia Brown could have turned out in one of two ways: He either could have become a tights-wearing vigilante weirdo with a name like The Librarian and a catchphrase like ‘Justice is Overdue!’ … Or, worst-case scenario, which I think is far more likely, Encyclopedia Brown grows up to be Dexter,” referring to the serial-killer Showtime show. He adds that this is a “high-brow” joke because not everyone in his audience could afford the premium cable channel.

Bits about nerd culture pop up throughout Everything’s the Best. After all, Gondelman honed his routine while he attended Brandeis. He performed at bars and comedy clubs off-campus, he was a member of TBA for four years, and he also formed a sketch-comedy group, Friends Like These, with several roommates his junior year. They weren’t an official university club, but rather a self-contained group that performed original sketches weekly. Gondelman recalled one eventful evening on campus: “Once [mashup DJ] Girl Talk played at Brandeis, and our show was scheduled to go on after his. So, we thereafter claimed that Girl Talk opened for us, even though the two shows were completely separate events.”

Since graduating, Gondelman has seen his career grow. He has performed throughout New England and recently moved to New York to pursue his career. He has also appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show. Everything’s the Best came about when, after performing at the Aspen Comedy Festival, representatives from Rooftop Comedy Productions approached him about recording a CD of his routine. Gondelman considers it his “capstone project” to “capture the material [he] had performed in Boston.”


“When you’re in Brandeis, things like Liquid Latex seem normal when they’re totally not. Shaving your body and painting yourself like a Ninja Turtle and dancing to Vanilla Ice is not normal, but at Brandeis people are just accepting.”

Gondelman has also written for McSweeneys and for several comedy websites, including and, and hopes to continue to write satirical pieces. “I am in a pretty fortunate position. I am looking to be on the road a lot in the coming year,” he said. “I would like to get a steady job writing books or for a TV show. I love stand-up, but unless you’re in the top one percent of stand-up comedians, you can’t really sustain yourself or have a retirement plan or anything. There’s no one watching your back. Stand-up is fun and rewarding, but the constant touring is tough on your body and brain, and I don’t think I could do it in 30 years.”

For now, however, Gondelman is continuing to tour and perform at bars and comedy clubs throughout the Northeast. And of course, you can follow him on Twitter at @JoshGondelman. But despite his success, Gondelman still has a soft-spot for his alma mater.

“Brandeis is an oddball place, in a really genuine way,” he said. “In [Friends Like These], there were people pursuing all sorts of different degrees, but they were all totally respected. When you’re in Brandeis, things like Liquid Latex seem normal when they’re totally not. Shaving your body and painting yourself like a Ninja Turtle and dancing to Vanilla Ice is not normal, but at Brandeis people are just accepting. At other schools, everyone streamlines into a ‘partier’ or a ‘studier.’ At Brandeis, everyone got to be a complete person.”