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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

Pitt Tonight dedicates an evening of laughter to Women’s History Month

Logan+Caplan+%28right%29+interviews+Cindy+Haines+%28left%29+during+Saturday%E2%80%99s+Pitt+Tonight+show+in+Frick+Auditorium.
Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer
Logan Caplan (right) interviews Cindy Haines (left) during Saturday’s Pitt Tonight show in Frick Auditorium.

The Frick Fine Arts auditorium reverberated with the infectious laughter of a jubilant audience. In a celebration of Women’s History Month, female writers assumed full control of the March 23 episode of Pitt Tonight.

From the audacious kidnapping of the usual male host to the heartfelt dedication of sketches and performances for women, and even the addition of a period cramp simulation game, Pitt’s student-run late-night comedy show committed the entirety of its evening to spotlighting the writing and performing talents of its female members.

The evening kicked off with the women of the cast sneaking behind the unsuspecting host Nick Cassano, deftly covering his nose with a handkerchief and whisking him away from the stage, leaving the audience in giggles.

Logan Caplan, a junior law, criminal justice and society major and Pitt Tonight’s women’s show host, said women crafted and executed every aspect of the episode. They said this intentional approach aims to depict the female experience from women’s perspectives.

“Everything is usually presented by Nick — the difference with this show is we want to give the audience a twist,” Caplan said. “We’re starting the show with Nick, and it’ll be like a takeover. We had only women write and we chose from their pieces. We even wrote the intro for Nick to say and then everything for me when I took over as host was written by the women.”

Cassano, a junior psychology and religious studies major, said he appreciated the hosting spotlight shifting away from him.

“I’ve done plenty of shows, and this one is going to be a unique change of pace that highlights the different talents we have,” Cassano said. “Usually, I’ll get up there, crack some wise, introduce myself and be the host. This one is going to be very different from me, because I’m getting kidnapped and becoming a prisoner of all the female writers.”

Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer

Caplan said a show hosted by women creates avenues of opportunity for female comedians, a demographic often underrepresented in the male-dominated industry.

“The entire purpose of the women’s show is empowering women, especially women in comedy,” Caplan said. “This month is Women’s History Month, and comedy is a male-dominated industry. A lot of us girls in the group wanted an opportunity to showcase our work and make it about empowering women instead of the usual portrayal of women as ‘the girlfriend’ in a skit or something.”

Cassano said having an entire episode dedicated to and wholly operated by women is the epitome of authenticity in showcasing the talent of female writers.

“In the past, we’ve highlighted the women in our organization. But it’s really nice to have an opportunity to showcase them more explicitly and intentionally,” Cassano said. “We could’ve just said, ‘Hey, this is going to be our special women’s empowerment episode,’ but then had the rest of the episode been the same, it would’ve been hollow. I’m happy about the changes we’re making, and I’m happy to step aside.”

Caplan said the portrayal of women in comedy shows often relegates them to the sidelines, rarely positioning them as central figures. The women’s show episode aims to subvert this trend by casting women in the role of the protagonist, particularly embracing roles traditionally assigned to villains.

“A theme I’ve seen that even I’m guilty of is writing for the voice of a man,” Caplan said. “The female characters that we see are like the girlfriend of a guy or something in the background. The guys get to play the fucked up characters all the time, and our point for some of the skits is to let women be horrible.”

Maggie Packard, a senior social work major and a writer for Pitt Tonight, said the sketches aim not only to entertain, but also to resonate with women on a personal level. She said humor is certainly a key component of the skits, but each joke is crafted with an underlying message.

“One of the skits, written by one of our first-year writers, is about our host Logan making a wish to know themself better,” Packard said. “I come out as Glom, the character representing Logan’s masculine side, another girl is Glim who’s more the classically feminine side. Glil represents Logan’s inner child, and the Greacher is Logan’s intrusive thoughts. It’s all of us fighting to be Logan’s whole identity. The sketch is very funny but also has a lot of great meaning to it.”

Alex Jurkuta | Staff Photographer

The evening hit its peak when the original host Cassano returned to the stage, this time securely fastened to a chair. Over the next 10 minutes, cast members quizzed him on womanhood — and for each incorrect response, Cassano received electrical shocks simulating menstrual cramps. Caplan said the writers conceived the game in a playful manner to offer Cassano a humorous, painful taste of the female experience.

“We’re doing a period cramps stimulator on Nick — this is going to be run by our senior girls,” Caplan said. “We’re going to be asking him some health questions and general things about womanhood and we’ll zap him if he doesn’t get the right answer, just so he knows what it’s like.”

Packard said the entire episode holds personal significance for her, as it enables the appreciation of women’s talent and provides her with the opportunity to collaborate closely with her female colleagues.

“I love women, I love being a woman, and I love women getting their flowers and people seeing that they’re funny and just as funny as men,” Packard said. “This episode just really shows how beautiful and powerful a group of women working together can be.”

About the Contributor
Nada Abdulaziz, Senior Staff Writer
Nada Abdulaziz is a senior majoring in Philosophy and Biological Sciences. She loves spending her free time reading, hiking, and watching Studio Ghibli films.