FCLC’s Comedy Club Lands Pope Auditorium


Dylan Penza, president of Stove’s Cabin, is standing with Jennifer McNary, a member of Stove’s and Chandler Dean, secretary of Stove’s. (HANA KEININGHAM/THE OBSERVER)


What does a popular club get when they sell out the student lounge? A coveted spot in Pope Auditorium. Stove’s Cabin Crew, the comedy club at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), will be performing in Pope on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Since its establishment in 2013, Stove’s has consistently housed two shows per semester in the student lounge. Performance styles have varied from standup and sketch to improvisational comedy.

However, due to overwhelming attendance at recent shows, audience members were forced to stand throughout the duration of several performances. As a result, Stove’s felt they needed a larger space to accommodate the Lincoln Center community.

“Stove’s was able to get the Pope Auditorium because we have consistently sold out the student lounge,” Chandler Dean, FCLC ‘18, secretary of Stove’s Cabin Crew, said. “That is to say, we have had enough people attend our shows to get it dangerously close to breaking fire codes.”

Generally, the Pope Auditorium is reserved for Fordham Theatre’s Main Stage productions. When it is not in use, however, the space is available for reservation.

“[Certain] dates are open to anyone in the university community and are used for conferences and other large lectures,” Dorothy Wenzel, director of the Office of Student Leadership & Community Development (OSLCD) at FCLC, said. “OSLCD reserves the space when there are available dates for a few clubs that have performances that are larger than we can fit into McMahon 109 or the student lounge.”

News of the larger space has prompted Stove’s to challenge their previous comedic standards, allowing them to come up with bigger and better sketches.

“It’s going to be hilarious and really high quality,” Dylan Penza, FCLC ‘16, president of Stove’s Cabin Crew, said. “We have a great club this year, and I have a great board behind me. [This is] going to be the funniest show at Fordham, without a doubt. ”

The themes embedded in the performance will predominantly focus on Fordham-specific topics. “We like to keep things current, and we do like to focus on very Fordham-specific stuff,” Penza said. “Our sketches tend to be more broad, [but in general] we like to keep things geared towards the Fordham audience so that hopefully more people will show up.”

Along with the FCLC-inspired skits that are reminiscent of a typical Stove’s show, special appearances are in the works. The club plans on including notable Fordham staff, including Dean Vincent DeCola and Dean Joseph Brady Desciak, as well as former Stove’s President, Sara McDonough. “We’re writing stuff to involve them, and hopefully they’ll say yes because we want them in it,” Penza said.

In addition to special guests, what would a comedy show be without a few impersonations? “We’re going to have Father McShane,” Penza said. “Or more accurately, we’re going to have [a student] perform as Father McShane.”

The club’s weekly Thursday morning meetings are now being spent in preparation for Dec. 3. Decisions concerning the show are made during this time slot, and all aspects of the performance are currently being solidified—this includes final scripts and rehearsals.

On helping write Stove’s sketches, the amount of time it takes “often depends on the level of inspiration. If I come up with a really good idea, I can work something out within a couple of hours,” Dean, a fan of comedic legends such as George Carlin and Stephen Colbert, said. “Once I have an idea and I know what I want to do, it’s like an hour per page.”

“We have certain members that write more than perform,” Penza said. “We also ask [club members] in the beginning of the year whether or not they want to perform and what type of comedy, which is why we have the improv and sketch show.”

Future performances at the Pope Auditorium are completely contingent upon the reception of the Dec. 3 performance. If the club is unable to fill the majority of the theater and fully utilize the space, it’s possible that Stove’s right to use Pope will be revoked.

“We are a young and growing club on campus, and I figured we’d give it a shot,” Penza said. “If not, we can turn around and go back to the student lounge. But that’s not going to happen, because we’re going to fill up Pope.”