Garrens vs. Broadcast Sequence Board

I recently had the extreme pleasure of performing in a television show for Cougar Cable, and I must say that when I look back on my freshman year at BYU, one of my most vivid memories will be of the night a few weeks ago when I went into the bathroom on my floor in Deseret Towers, and I noticed that there, in the toilet bowl, were the following items: an orange, an apple, and a sandwich (in a plastic baggie). I shudder to think that those things got into the toilet the way that things normally get into a toilet, but I also shudder to think of the other possibility, which is that somebody’s brain actually told them to PUT those things there.

Oh, and I will also probably remember the TV show.

See, I started a comedy troupe at BYU last semester called the Garrens, and we were pretty successful, thank you very much, so some students from the BYU broadcasting department (I like to call them the TV People) came to us and asked us if we would like to film some of our sketches in the studio and put them on TV. Naturally, we said yes, not realizing that by “TV,” they actually meant “Cougar Cable,” which I suppose is technically TV, in the same sense that Al Gore is technically an important political figure.

So we gave them scripts to all the sketches that we wanted to do, and they in turn gave them to the Broadcast Sequence Board. The Broadcast Sequence Board, I should point out, is composed of the crustiest old sticks in the mud that could be found at BYU. If you want to be on that board (believe me, you don’t), they put you in a room and tell you really funny, time-tested, scientifically proven jokes, and if you laugh, you cannot be on the committee. We are dealing here with people who quite possibly have never laughed. At anything. Remember on “Mary Poppins,” all those old, stodgy men who worked at the bank? Those guys are circus clowns compared to the Broadcast Sequence Board.

As you may have surmised, the Broadcast Sequence Board did not approve of several of our sketches. In fact, the Broadcast Sequence Board did not approve of three-fourths of our sketches. They told us that we could poke fun at BYU, but the impression we were now getting was that it was, in their opinion, OK to poke fun at BYU as long as we didn’t poke fun at BYU. Most of the sketches they approved were the ones that had nothing to do with BYU. This is because many of our BYU sketches were — I’m rather hesitant to admit this publicly — funny. That’s right! Funny sketches! About BYU! Performed by a COMEDY TROUPE at BYU!!! Of all the wacky, nutty things!

Anyway, we did the TV show anyway, and we did a darned fine job, if I may say so. The TV People all did a great job, too. Whenever I watch the videotape, I will always think back to my freshman year, and how my friend Wyck had an unnatural affection for cologne, and how his room smelled of it constantly, and how it grew to the point where you couldn’t walk past the door without being overcome by an enormous cloud of cologne odors, enveloping you like mustard gas. Whenever one of us on my floor had a date, we would just walk by Wyck’s room, and we’d come back smelling like Wild Musk Ox Polo Stud Horse.

Oh, and I’ll remember the fun time we had filming the TV show, too.

(Eric D. Snider was a freshman at BYU, up until two days ago. Now he is a sophomore, waiting to get his mission call. He lives in Lake Elsinore, Calif., where not enough people wear cologne, or even deodorant.)

This column marks the beginning of my nostalgic period. My last four columns were written just as I was preparing to leave BYU, or after I had just left, and I really felt wistful about the whole thing. I had loved living in Deseret Towers with my friends so much, and it was really very painful to leave. We'd had so much fun.

Don't get me started about the Garrens TV show. It was a good idea, but I was not terribly pleased with the way it turned out. (I had not actually seen the final product when I wrote this column.) For one thing, it was only a half-hour long, and 10 minutes of that was taken up by some guy accompanying himself on the piano as he sang a couple songs. The songs and the guy had NOTHING to do with the Garrens, or comedy, or anything, and the result was that the show lacked focus in a serious way. I won't even discuss the whole Broadcast Sequence Board thing.