Some years ago, the ComedySportz New York team also had a sketch comedy team, The Bert Fershners. I suspect that they wanted to stretch their comedic talents and try their hand at sketch. They were making a name for themselves, and even had a show on Comedy Central.
As it always is in the ComedySportz family, we were all very, very proud of this group. You see, there are over 22 ComedySportz teams internationally, and when one of our own makes it, we all know. To this day, when I see one of my fellow CSz peeps on TV or in a movie I pretty much jump up and down, just shy of hitting my head against the ceiling.
One of the sketches the Bert Fershners performed in their televised show was a parody of The Sound of Music. I love The Sound of Music and this parody equally. Actually, on days when I’m feeling really down, I don’t sing the Rogers and Hammerstein version of “My Favorite Things”, I sing the Bert Fershners version. And each time I do, I start to smile immediately; then soon, I’m laughing like a wee little child simply by remembering and singing the song.
The lyrics to the parody are simply delicious; and I mean that in more ways than one. They are and I quote:
“Veal Chops & Dill Sauce”
That’s pretty much it. Just keep repeating the above lyrics.
Some day I hope they put the clip on Youtube. The Comedy Central show opened with Mike Rock in a night gown saying his prayers by his bed, much like the prelude to the song in the play or movie version of SOM. Then two of the Bert Fershners run onto the stage through the door feigning fear, and Mike/Maria consoles them. Soon, all the Fershners are gathered around the bed as Mike/Maria tells them to simply sing about their favorite things when they get nervous or scared. Then, of course, they burst into song. I’m laughing now as I remember this sketch.
Recently, I had a chance to return to Center for the Arts as guest artist. The class I was teaching was a combination class of both the Musical Theatre and the Theatre class juniors. It seemed like a good day to sing and play. I asked how many knew the original song “My Favorite Things”, and all the Musical Theatre students raised their hands, and only a few of the Theatre students raised theirs.
After sharing the lyrics to my favorite version of “My Favorite Things”, we were good to go. Using our imagination we pictured a living room on the stage, in need of holiday decorations. The students where siting in the audience as I acted out climbing to the attic to gather boxes of lights and goodies. Quickly, the students realized that they needed to help take the boxes down from the attic, start “decorating” and start a scene, start to play. The game was on!
After working with the students over the week, and over the years, the CFA students are ready to improvise a scene. With minimal instruction they knew what to do, how to A.C.T.T., how to share focus and how to make the scene pop.
Stephanie announced that a letter found in the mailbox stated that Christmas was canceled and there would be no Santa. We all boo hoo’d as Tanner stepped up and said “Well, we should sing about our favorite things”. Trent added, “I don’t know what my favorite things are”…and soon, we burst into song, dancing around the “living room” decorating with our imaginary garland, ornaments, wreaths and mistletoe.
The scene was pure joy, and tons o fun! It was our own musical number and scene right out of Glee. Thank you CFA students for sharing your time with me this week, but mostly, thank you oh best beloved Bert Fershners, for you have provided in one sketch alone, so very many memories of “My Favorite Things”!