Sitting in the Roost, excitedly awaiting UPC’s first comedy act of the semester, I took some time to speculate on what kind of show Dakaboom was going to be. Since hearing it would involve some sort of musical comedy, my thoughts immediately drifted to beloved acts as Dimitri Martin, Flight of the Conchords and, a YouTube favorite of mine, Garfunkel and Oates. However, what I wasn’t expecting, and what I doubt many of us were prepared for, was the caliber of musical prowess and invention this “best friend duo” had at its disposal.
Dakaboom, made up of Ben McLain and Paul Peglar, wowed the audience with a varied set-list, including a slick, pun-filled riff on “cheesy love songs,” a myriad of a capella medleys, and a live- recorded solo a capella performance of a song one could only assume was called “I Am A Bat.” Ben and Paul are both clearly accomplished singers and actors in their own right, and while the two worked in comedic concert to create some of the more hilarious moments of the show, each “did their own thing,” and were very talented while doing it.
Like most good comedy acts, Dakaboom made use of audience interaction, as in their song “Liz,” a romantic ballad about Denison Senior Liz Educato, and were very adept at working the crowd into a supportive frenzy. Though they weren’t as gut-bustingly hilarious as some of the previous comedians UPC has brought to campus, the musical talent and style they brought to the table more than made up for the fact that they were not, to be fair, a stand up comedy act. That said, whether he believed in his talent or not, “Paul’s Stand- up,” a non-musical segment of the show, killed (figuratively of course) quite a few of us who were in the front row.
Considering the previous comedy musical act that graced our campus was Singer’s Theatre Workshop’s exemplary performance of Avenue Q, I think that Dakaboom did an admirable job at making musical comedy funny, yet again.
Interestingly, one of their songs, “Single Song” (which is on ‘Get Awesome,’ the CD they were selling after the show) makes use of some distinctly Avenue Q-esque melodies, but as they say, “Bad artists copy, great artists steal.” And great artists they were. If there’s one thing our a capella ensembles could take away from Dakaboom’s performance is that a capella is as much about style as it is about vocal talent. It’s fairly easy to arrange a song if you’re playing it safe, but if you want people to clap and cheer with sincerity, you’ve got to take some risks.
From what I could tell of audience reception, Dakaboom was received with decent amounts of approval. With me being in the front row, and a huge fan of musical comedy, I got the brunt force of Daka’s boom, and was already prone to hyperbolic praise. So when some of my friends, such as sophomore Conner Toth, expressed that
they were just “Okay,” I was somewhat surprised, and a little disappointed.
Fortunately, I had an ally, a senior and also UPC’s executive director Gary Fleisner who said: “They were really talented singers, I didn’t realize how good they were.” All things considered, I think many would agree with me in saying that UPC has brought its season of comedy off to a great start.