Point Park Globe

Point Blank Live fills GRW, unites talent

The acting troupe of Point Blank Live’s official picture taken in the CMI photo studio.

The acting troupe of Point Blank Live’s official picture taken in the CMI photo studio.

Photo by Kari Dettorre | Point Blank Live

Photo by Kari Dettorre | Point Blank Live

The acting troupe of Point Blank Live’s official picture taken in the CMI photo studio.

Written By Nick Horwat, Co-A&E Editor

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It started with the idea of something big, and ended with an arrest. Not a literal arrest, though the show was closed by an entire cast in handcuffs.

Alexander Popichak had plans of doing something big on television that was not news-focused, and Copen was in from the beginning.

“Popichak asked me to do this a long time ago and he just said he wanted to do a TV show and to make it big,” Copen, a freshman cinema major, said. “So I took that at his word and made it really, really big and kind of stupid.”

Four months of writing, planning and recording had gone into the production of Point_____Live all leading up to the live show that was seen with great reception.

The long process of putting the show together began in January when a group of writers and performers were collected. What the final product would look like was only known by the cast and crew until March 25 when it was finally all put live on stage.

“We have never seen the full show until this very moment,” Copen said.

Point_____Live was inspired by the weekly sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL), and its influence is clear. From a host monologue, to the live and pre-recorded sketches and even to the saxophone -focused music, the whole thing felt “live from New York.”

Pioneer Records recording artist Gabe Reed was there for a live performance and unexpectedly got to appear in a live sketch himself.

“They threw that at me totally last minute,” Reed said.  “What you saw is what you got, I had no idea what I was doing.”

Reed did enjoy his time on stage, and the show overall. He was able to watch a livestream backstage and stated that the sketch “Babyhands” was his favorite.

“I was not sure what the set up would be, I just brought my acoustic guitar,” Reed said. “I think it went well.”

The show was performed live at the George Rowland White (GRW) Theatre, at a viewing party at the JVH Auditorium or live on a YouTube stream. Through the different ways to watch an audience of around 300 people viewed the show live.

The GRW was sold out within a week, the livestream peaked at about 80 viewers and the viewing party had around 15 attendees. The recording of the show on the U-View YouTube page gained over 600 views in just under a day, making it already one of the most viewed videos on the YouTube page.

Some sketches were packed with comedy that relate to everyday life in Pittsburgh and on Point Park’s campus, such as elevators, the Starbucks saga or a two part skit on the feud between Pizza Fiesta or Genoa’s, titled “Blood and Ranch,” were greeted with much praise from the audience.

The jokes were not just centered around Pittsburgh and Point Park; a lot of the live sketches could be found funny by anyone. Some of the standouts were the Ouiji Board Slumber Party and the News Night Tonight Now which was a remake of SNL staple Weekend Tonight.

“The team of writers really worked hard to make sure that we had a mixture of local content and just general content,” Popichak said.

It was more than just a sketch comedy show, however, there was also an overarching story arc between the sketches. One example is in sketch performer Ben Herdman was crushed by a wall, and the rest of the show is played without him.

“I think overall it was really successful,” Popichak said. “I said repeatedly, if we get this thing on the internet, people can see what is going on on the stage we’re successful. And it was beyond that.”

Point_____Live was described as a once in a lifetime show but when asked if he would want to do the show again, Copen had this to say.

“Absolutely! I know the cast wants to do it again, I know the writers want to do it again, so if Paul Hennigan is reading this newspaper, which I know he does, please let us do this again!”

Disclosure: Alex Popichak is the USG beat writer for The Globe.

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