Those who noticed flyers for “Free Porn on the Yale Server” last week and subsequently visited the advertised Web site may have been disappointed. Instead of pornography, the site displayed something tamer — an introduction to Yale’s newest sketch comedy group, Red Hot Poker.
The idea to start a new group at Yale originated during the rush process for established comedy groups like Just Add Water and The Fifth Humor, where Red Hot Poker director Zachary Soto ’06 and performer Jesse Boateng ’06 met.
Ultimately, most of the current Red Hot Poker members were rejected from Yale’s established groups, leading them to form their own group. With two shows scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 1, Red Hot Poker will make its debut on the Yale comedy scene.
But in the first few months since the group’s inception, most of the original founders have left Red Hot Poker.
Now Soto, co-director Jon Hollis ’06, treasurer Nicky Nole ’06, and head writer Mathew Perlick ’05 lead the group.
“Some people either didn’t know what they were getting involved with or had other commitments,” Hollis said. “They didn’t realize the amount of work that you have to put into Red Hot Poker.”
With their inaugural show tentatively named “Blow Job,” Perlick said he is hopeful about Red Hot Poker’s prospects of establishing itself as part of the Yale comedy scene.
“The fact that there are several comedy groups already is going to make it tough, but we have a lot of funny people,” Perlick said. “There is room for another comedy group at Yale.”
Red Hot Poker member Allison Goldberg ’06 said she thinks the group will find its niche on campus.
“Yale needs another sketch comedy group,” Goldberg said. “[There’s] a lot of improv, a cappella, but not many sketch comedy groups. [It’s] kind of exciting.”
Soto said other comedy groups on campus have welcomed Red Hot Poker, offering advice to the group as it gets started.
“Wow, it’s been work, but honestly a lot of the big names at the comedy scene at Yale have been helpful,” Soto said. “It’s been real tough, but we have an extremely funny group.”
While Red Hot Poker may lack the experience and tradition that characterize the other comedy groups on campus, it has one distinct advantage — racial diversity.
“This allows us to make fun of a lot of people that most comedy groups on campus would be scared to make fun of,” Soto said. “I think that [the line between being offensive and being funny] has been blurred so much that I don’t know what the difference between being offensive and being funny is, but too often we are scared to be funny in fear of being offensive.”
How successful Red Hot Poker will be at penetrating Yale’s comedy scene remains unclear, but for their first show, the members are reverting to the sexual advertising campaign that attracted students’ attention last week.
“We might call our first show ‘Blow Job’ because it’ll make people come,” Soto said.