Next week’s arrival of the seventh “Star Wars” movie, “The Force Awakens,” seems poised to recapture the cultural zeitgeist the original film had in 1977. The comedians and performers who comprise Buffalo Sketch Comedy have definitely noticed, as they prepare to launch their new revue, “The Farce Awakens,” this weekend at the Arena in Amherst.
Founded in 2009, Buffalo Sketch Comedy is a collaborative of comedians, actors, filmmakers and writers who have produced sketch for both live shows and short videos. Executive Director Chris Scherr is the only original member of the troupe, but it has found a consistent core group of talent over the past three years.
“The continuity helped us to move to the next level with bigger themes and bigger shows,” Scherr said. “On top of the regular (performers), for this particular production we’ve had an open casting call and included even more outsiders for the largest cast we’ve ever had.”
This is the first themed show for Buffalo Sketch Comedy, as the group had been looking to implement more parodies of pop culture. Scherr had spent the summer at Chicago’s iO Theater Training Center improv intensives, and implemented the knowledge he learned there into the Buffalo Sketch Comedy workshops. With the hoopla surrounding the release of the newest “Star Wars” film (and a potential return to respectability after the much-derided prequels), the theme for the new revue was obvious.
“If you ask most people, it’s not just some minor sci-fi series, this is the sci-fi series,” Scherr said. “I’ve loved the movies from when I was a kid. Growing up with the Muppets, seeing Yoda, Chewie and other fascinating characters hooked my curiosity.”
Bryan Patrick Stoyle, a co-director and producer of the revue, joined Buffalo Sketch Comedy last year. He’s got his “Star Wars” bonafides. As a member of the fan group the North Ridge, he wrote and directed many of the “Star Wars” night shows after Bisons games.
“ ‘Star Wars’ is what I’ve lovingly referred to as ‘my favorite sandbox to play in,’ ” Stoyle said. “ ‘Star Wars’ has always had a strong element of whiz-bang fun to it.”
“We’re not there yet, but we can see aspects of the technology featured in ‘Star Wars’ today,” said Anthony Mangano, a performer on the show. “I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t want a genuine lightsaber as a gift this Christmas.”
While Buffalo has experienced a boom in local comedy not seen since the days of “The Phantom Menace,” Buffalo Sketch Comedy is currently the only sketch-focused group in Western New York. Scherr hopes revues like “The Farce Awakens” draw both a loyal audience and other sketch enthusiasts.
“It helps if you’re a Star Wars fan, but it’s not a prerequisite,” Scherr said. “If you’re a fan of comedy, you’ll enjoy it just as much.”
Who: Buffalo Sketch Comedy in “The Farce Awakens”
Where: The Arena, 4476 Main St., Amherst
When: 9:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 10:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 12.
Tickets: $12 advance and if you’re dressed in a “Star Wars” costume; $15 at the door.