For all the work College seniors Bobak Parang (left) and Alex Livingston (right) do on campus, they really just want to make you laugh. Leading Without a Net and Simply Chaos respectively, both have equal command of Penn’s stage.
Street: There are two types of people at Penn…
Bobak Parang: Those who take orders from Sally Katz and those who run their own organizations. Take that jump-start-kick-in-the-ass-non-existent senior society rivalry!
Alex Livingston: Those who laugh at others, and those who can laugh at themselves.
Street: Most underrated thing about Penn? Overrated?
BP: Underrated: the women. There are many beautiful women on this campus. Overrated: My skills in the bedroom. I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s mostly guess and check.
AL: Underrated: Blarney on Tuesdays. Overrated: Smoke’s any day of the week.
Street: Least appreciated thing about Philadelphia?
BP: The murder and crime rate. Top five for four years running, people! Let’s appreciate and celebrate the consistency of this terrible, paralyzing social issue!
AL: The homeless guys with the signs that say, “I’m not gonna lie, I need a beer.” My friend and I saw one the other day and he gave him a few bucks. I was like, “Dude, don’t do that. He’s just gonna buy food with it.”
Street: Best thing about Without a Net/Simply Chaos that no one knows?
BP: In all seriousness, the younger members have a propensity to break out into impromptu dance numbers a la Stomp during rehearsals. This all happens when I, the director, am talking about important matters. Directing this bunch, especially the sophomore girls, is like coaching a group of talented 12-year-olds — they want constant attention and refuse to do the simplest of tasks. But shucks, I love the little rascals anyway.
AL: Laughing at our awkward lives will make you feel better about your own.
Street: What is one of your guilty pleasures?
BP: Shamelessly plugging Without a Net shows: Thursday, April 23 and Saturday, April 25 in Houston Hall, 8:30 p.m.
AL: Chapstick. I’m always moisturized.
Street: Who is the coolest person you have ever met?
BP: Hayling “The General” Price.
AL: I met professional comedian Mike Birbiglia before I opened for him. While I was performing, I could hear him laughing backstage — it was awesome. Then he left to take a dump.
Street: Wawa or 7-Eleven?
BP: Wawa, but only because I used to live above Wawa. Freshman year was indeed a magical year. Mediocre sandwiches and lukewarm coffee were just a flight of stairs away.
AL: Crown Fried Chicken.
Street: Improv or stand-up?
BP: The style of comedy aside, I prefer improv because of the team aspect. The bond you form with your teammates is unique. I have made lasting friendships during my time with Net.
AL: Stand-up — it’s way more intense. Have you ever seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? They’re sitting for like half the show.
Street: Are you as funny in real life as you are on stage?
BP: The thing is, I play myself on stage. So your question just blew my mind. [Ed. note: Maybe you should look into Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.]
AL: People are usually disappointed. I’m only funny with a microphone and two months to prepare.
Street: Best Van Pelt alternative?
BP: There is no alternative — you must accept it and move forward. Tightly packed tables in dimly lit rooms await you. Tread lightly and expect to be scolded, perhaps berated, by the lady at Mark’s Café for reasons unknown to you or me. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
AL: My room. I don’t get any work done in either place anyway. And they make you wear pants in the library.
Street: You just arrived at your 10-year college reunion. What would people be most surprised to hear about you?
BP: That I am now 6’5’’, blonde and not obnoxiously loud.
AL: I invented Post-its.