Fordham’s Comedy Club Stove’s Becomes a Bakery to ‘Get That Bread’

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ZOOM

Stove’s Cabin Crew held a virtual end-of-semester comedy show with the theme of a bakery opening.

By MADELINE KATZ

What happens when you put 15 comedians-turned-bakers for a night in a Zoom box? They break the mold and bake some bread. 

On Dec. 4, Stove’s Comedy Club held a bakery-themed end-of-semester comedy show resulting in a night filled with laughter, well-constructed puns and enough joy to get viewers through this rollercoaster ride of a year. 

After the show, three of the head chefs and masterminds behind the show got together and dished out all of the baking secrets you just can’t find in the cookbook. Club President Natalie Grammer, Treasurer Casey Brennan, and Vice President Julianne Holmquist, all Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’21, rallied to share the ins and outs of executing a successful and fully virtual Zoom comedy show. 

Reflecting on the show’s ingredients offers a glimpse into their comedic process and what antics students may expect from them next semester.

Prep Time

The prep time and process of creating a set is entirely dependent on the individual performer’s preference and the type of comedic act they will be performing come showtime. For some, they tend to draw on events that happened to them that week while others rehearse and plan their acts long before the date of the performance.

This board and this year has really been born out of chaos and we kind of already were chaotic as a club to begin with. Natalie Grammer, FCLC ’21 and Stove’s president

This was the case for Juliana Castello, FCLC ’24, who pitched her musical standup early in the semester. Prep time can also vary due to the chefs being scattered across the globe rather than creating from the same kitchen.

Like any good baker knows, the proofing stage is vital in the creation of delicious bread. For these comedians, the proofreading stage is just as important in developing a successful show as it offers a space for the exchange of feedback between peers.

“It’s definitely collaborative. We always run our sketches through the meetings,” Brennan said. “Same with standup, it doesn’t have to be exactly how it’s going to be in the show but we always try and pitch everything and have everyone give feedback before.”

Given its improvisational nature, some things happened last minute, but that’s all part of the magic of theater. 

“Within the board, a lot of things happened in the last week before the show so I wasn’t really sure how everything was going to plan out,” Grammer said. 

Despite last minute uncertainties, Grammer’s steadfast faith in her fellow performers and the quality content they had been producing throughout the semester enabled her to lead Stove’s fearlessly through the trials and tribulations of a bakery opening. 

The club, like many others, has had to continually adapt and improvise to meet the challenges of the Zoom-universe. “This board and this year has really been born out of chaos and we kind of already were chaotic as a club to begin with,” Grammer said. However, as bread is known to do, this bakery rose to the occasion.

Choosing the Perfect Recipe

When opening a bakery or putting on a comedy show, it is essential to plan ahead and develop a signature menu early on. While there were a variety of show themes proposed, the dark horse of the bunch was the baking show theme. 

“The theme itself, I think it was actually a throw-away joke theme by Charlie Friedlander who is our satire liaison,” Grammer said. The joke in question? “What if it’s Stove’s Bakery and all we do is we just say ‘Let’s get this bread’ over and over again. And then we all laughed about it and then it became the actual theme,” Grammer revealed about Friedlander’s artistic process. 

Therein lies the danger but also the beauty of joking with comedians: They take their jokes very seriously.

Another contender for this semester’s show theme was Moonstruck. It even included lunar puns like calling everyone “Lunar-tics.” In fact, the club was so over the moon about the celestial theme that they “even looked up the moon cycle the night of the show,” Holmquist said. It was a waxing gibbous.

With the theme decided, one must then wonder about the signature dish of the bakery. If the Zoom performance was a type of bread, what kind would it be?

“My gut reaction is to say sourdough,” mused Grammer.

In true improv style, Holmquist eagerly jumped in to add, “Well, Natalie, here’s why it’s sourdough. It was such a process to get it to where it was,” she said. “Like that starter, we were taking from our previous form from our last semester show and we were turning it into something that was our own and we had to take care of it and feed it. It was just fresh baked and warm that day.”

“I feel like it was some sort of seasoned sourdough,” added Brennan. 

“Like an herbed sourdough. Like dangerously close to being over proofed so at the last minute we were like ‘ohmygosh ohmygosh’ and threw all of the herbs into it and got it in the oven,” continued Grammer. 

“And then we were really committed to having homemade jams and butters on the table too, we had to do that day of, so there was a proper presentation and there’s something for everybody,” Holmquist summed up.

Comedians (and Chefs) Unite

A bakery is not complete without a roster of chefs to stir up some laughs and fresh-baked insights on life. Although not written explicitly on their flyers, Stove’s Bakery feels very much like a family-run bakery. 

The rapport between the performers on the night of the show was warm, goofy and had just the right amount of zany energy that you might find at a family reunion. “We really try to make it a welcoming community and that’s what sets us apart. That’s our claim to fame as a comedy group. We have no auditions,” Grammer said. “We don’t require you to have any experience. It’s just about trying to create a space where it’s fun to experiment with new things.” 

“The show was focused around bread–but you baker believe we had a good time with it.” Charlie Friedlander, FCLC ’22 and Stove’s satire liaison

The Zoom format of their shows this semester offered new opportunities to dabble with virtual backgrounds and a variety of editing techniques to spice up the show.

“We definitely had some use of interesting backgrounds in my sketch, the fight sketch. Casey’s virtual backgrounds, they always go right onto her face,” Holmquist said. “I had a character as a lion so we put that as Casey’s background and she was able to talk as a lion.” 

The trio also praised the digital prowess of Hanna Bowman, FCLC ’21, who worked on the opening baking video which introduced the performers, and Siddarth Raj, FCLC ’22, who edited the show’s final video.  

Feeding the Fordham Community 

In a time when many of us are craving the level of human connection we used to have, Stove’s bakery stepped in to nourish us with comedy and an increased sense of connection with the Fordham community. 

The chat section of the show was lively, and audience members were able to make suggestions for various skits that the performers would incorporate into their act. Former Stove’s President Maddy Casale, FCLC ’20, suggested trash cans (to be or not to be) as the subject of a Reddit forum skit. What ensued can only be described as a searing critique turned into a supportive dialogue surrounding the work of “Trashspeare” and their visionary foray into the realm of garbage theatre. 

The audience continued to engage with each other throughout the whole performance and even rallied together to donate $1,121.54 to the New York Common Pantry

According to Stove’s Satire Liaison Charlie Friedlander, FCLC ’22, “The show was focused around bread–but you baker believe we had a good time with it.” This is a dish best served hot and with friends, even if they may be virtual for the time being. After all, we knead a little laughter these days. Bon appétit.