NSTV members collaborate for premiere that features sketches with feminist tones, political perspectives


Source: Lizzie Frieder

Students film a sketch for Northwestern Sketch Television. NSTV will air its annual premiere this Friday at Ryan Family Auditorium.

Amanda Svachula, A&E Editor


Northwestern Sketch Television will premiere a school year’s worth of sketches on Friday, with several of them embodying feminist themes.

“We find humor in what it means to be a woman in the world and a woman in comedy,” said NSTV head writer Jackie Quinn. “Half of our writers’ room is female and the director is female and this is the first time NSTV has had a female director.”

NSTV functions as a year-round collaborative group that produces sketches, said Communication junior Lizzie Frieder, the group’s executive producer. She added this year’s premiere has no one overarching theme but features a quirky cast of characters, feminist tone and varied political perspectives.

During 12 weekends each year, Frieder said, NSTV produces a variety of sketches that are compiled to make up the premiere. These are produced by writers and an art and production crew that sometimes travels off campus to film, she said.

Writers bounce around ideas for sketches in a writers’ room that meets twice a week throughout the year, head writer Ben Gauthier said. Because there are a variety of writers who participate, Gauthier said the type of humor NSTV embodies often varies from sketch to sketch and from year to year.

“It’s kind of like a big family that makes sketches together,” the Communication junior said. “It’s a huge collective effort.”

In the end, writers find ideas for sketches in unexpected ways, said Quinn, a Communication senior. Some of their content is inspired by watching comedy TV, while other sketches are influenced by simple everyday occurrences — “extraordinary in the ordinary.”

The head writers and other members of the leadership team ultimately decide what sketches will actually be produced and included in the premiere, Quinn said.

During the year, the sketches are filmed on campus and even in different places, such as real doctors’ offices and movie theaters, Frieder said. She added that once the sketches are shown at the premiere in Ryan Family Auditorium, they will be put up on YouTube.

As for participants in the group, Frieder emphasized NSTV’s role in serving as a “comedy conglomerate” in the NU community. Students who participate in groups such as Comedy Forum and Mee-Ow are often involved in NSTV as well.

She said she’s excited to finally show off the work the group has been working hard on for the entire year.

“It’s super, super funny,” Frieder said. “ (On campus) we’ve seen a lot of improv and stand up, but it’s cool to see all kinds of things … and no other group is like NSTV.”

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