Sometimes, three friends get together and say to themselves: “Hey, we should form a sketch comedy group.”
And then, all is right with the world.
Those three friends are Brett Melnick (BFA/Television Writing and Production ’16), Gregory Bordelon (BFA/ Television Writing and Production ’16), and Sam Wall (BA/Film Studies ’17), and I came across them when I heard they were shooting their sketches, called “Pitching History”, in the stages one weekend.
The initial sketch, called “The Wheel,” is about a character named Stuart who is pitching the idea of the wheel to cavemen investors. The original idea of the sketch came to Bordelon, and Melnick liked it so much, he wrote a second sketch about the lightbulb under the same banner.
“It’s a trope I thought we could explore, so we thought of different items that would fail miserably when pitched, in different time periods,” said Bordelon. Actually, while speaking to them when they visited my office not too long ago, they continued to brainstorm future ideas for the series, each one more hilarious than the last.
When setting up to film the Pitching History sketches, both Melnick and Bordelon loved how accessible and friendly Pete Vander Pluym, Dodge College’s resident stage manager, and Michele Kennedy, Dodge’s Production Manager, were in helping them secure the stages.
“They were both a huge help in getting those sketches done,” said Melnick. “Especially since we are TV guys, and technically don’t have a thesis. But, we wanted to make things, and we went from there.”
They shot both sketches over the course of a weekend, using a cast of four students; one alumni and three current. As for the crew, they reached out to film and TV students who were interested. Overall, they had 20 people on set to help out.
“For something that is independent, and not for class credit, we tried to be merciful with their time, not keeping them longer than 6 hours,” said Bordelon. “But it was warming to see all these people donate their time to us.”
Melnick spoke to how they stuck to the guidelines they were taught in class, such as the process of getting greenlight, and on-set protocols. Vander Pluym did have to be the voice of reason for them sometimes, though.
“He reminded us that a fire would burn down the stage,” joked Melnick. “But we had creative freedoms, and we limited ourselves to live within their own confines. We created a space where we could do whatever we wanted, but we didn’t do too much or too little….we hit the right balance.”
It was also a learning experience for them, as it was filled with many firsts; the first time renting a truck, first time getting props for their sets, and so on. Melnick and Bordelon were co-everything leading up to the production, but on the day of the shoots, Melnick took on the role of director, and Bordelon was the actor and producer.
“Lot of kids come into Dodge already shooting videos with friends in high school. This was a trial by fire for us. It was performing at high production quality, using all the skills we have learned, and conducting a professional set…despite the humorous subject matter,” said Melnick.
After filming the sketches, Melnick and Bordelon teamed up with Wall to form Cool Casual Comedy, a sketch comedy group that will post their videos on YouTube.
“There is a whole new quality to what YouTube is producing at this point, compared to what it was years ago,” said Bordelon. “It’s a great outlet for people to get discovered.”
Cool Casual Comedy debuted their first two sketches today on YouTube (one of which being “The Wheel”), and they plan to release more over the next few weeks.
“We just want to keep making more stuff, and putting it out there,” said Melnick.
You can check them out on