Sherman Ave Reviews: The Blackout Fall 2017
This past Saturday, The Blackout kicked off its third year as Northwestern’s premiere student-run variety show, with third-year student Grace Dowling gracing the stage of Harris Hall in front of a packed crowd.And while The Blackout delivers high-quality entertainment, the fact that I was kept from talking out loud during the event was an insult to the talk show format.
Numerous times throughout Ms. Dowling’s performance, I was asked by various Blackout team members to curtail my side conversations and comments. While I fully respect the time and effort the production and writing teams put in, one must ponder what Johnny Carson would think of the treatment of a long-cherished form of entertainment, renowned for the opportunity for audience engagement and interruption. How am I supposed to enjoy the show if I’m not allowed to have a chat during the various sketches and performances? What happened to my First Amendment Rights?
I particularly enjoyed a sketch that hyperbolized the eagerness of Medill students. What I did not enjoy was being threatened with removal from the venue for audibly sharing a story about the time I lost $500 on a GoFundMe for edible balloons. You blow them up then chew them up. Isn’t that incredible? I sure thought so, enough to talk over the first guest interview about my failed investment.
The show’s organization and delivery were fantastic, and I made sure to tell everyone exactly how I felt about it mid-monologue, but not before sharing my thoughts about love, war and the recent charges against Michael Flynn. Lock him up.
Anyone in attendance at Saturday’s show knows how impressive a feat The Blackout is. But for any true connoisseurs of talk show television, the fact that there were no tangible opportunities for audience members to share their thoughts and feelings during the event was a major letdown. You can shush and hush me all you want, but you will never take away the importance of unsolicited audience participation in a talk show.