Behind the Scenes of Six Gents: Providence College’s Comedy Club

by Kendall Headley '26 on May 30, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

“What if Willy Wonka led tours at Providence College?” This is a question that would never cross the minds of most Providence College students. But to the members of Six Gents, PC’s sketch comedy club, creativity never ceases to surge. 

Six Gents is composed of around a dozen students of all grades, and includes both men and women despite the name. Auditions occur after the first show of the year, a system designed to let incoming freshmen experience a production first. Auditions require an original two-to-four page sketch performed with existing club members, as well as participation in a “cold read”—reading through the script without prior rehearsal—of a predetermined club sketch. 

“I had no idea if Six Gents would take me when I auditioned. I saw their back to school show and thought ‘Hey, I grew up watching SNL. At the very least, the audition sounds like fun,’” said member Claire Dancause ’26. “So I did it with no expectations and zero sketch writing experience before my audition. The moment I got the email that I was accepted, I was so excited, and honestly, the excitement hasn’t died down since.”

The group is structured democratically, with an executive board, with a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary,” said Anthony DiSpena ’24. “These people are chosen by the club at the end of the year, and they have some extra responsibilities to maintain structure in the club whether it be facilitating meetings, scheduling shows, buying props, and creating graphics.”

In between meetings, members focus on writing sketches. Dancause draws inspiration for sketches from nearly every corner.

“Life experience, random conversations, TV and movies, books, stand-up, social media, you name it, I’ve probably pulled from it for a sketch,” she said. 

While Dancause maintains a notes page of ideas, she also tends to begin writing directly after an idea hits, later presenting the sketch in the next meeting to receive honest reactions and subsequent feedback.

Club president Aidan Benjamin ’23 commonly searches for ideas in his audience. After solidifying the concept, he favors writing with a partner, finding that bouncing ideas off of each other is beneficial to the writing process. 

“I tend to write sketches first looking at recent events that our audience can relate to,” Benjamin said. “If that doesn’t work, I try to think of experiences that our audience may have in common. For example, a popular children’s TV show or something based around Providence College, and formulate an idea around that.”

Producing a sketch from scratch isn’t always a clear process, said DiSpena. Although he has no shortage of out-of-the-box ideas, “The hardest part for me is always the beginning, writing how the characters get into the plot,” he said. “But once I get a good start, I just go on autopilot. Either that or I write some funny lines into a Doc and try to fill the gaps wherever I can.”

The club meets every Sunday in the Smith Center for the Arts, where they read through sketches or develop them further.  As they near a performance, they take a blind vote, DiSpena said, picking six or seven sketches to include, and add weekday rehearsals into their schedule. 

Participating members in each sketch are chosen by the sketch’s author, and can be solidified after the first  read-through. Parts are then adjusted in order to provide each member an equal amount of stage time. 

 “A sketch will have as many people as it needs to have. Sometimes with a larger cast it gets difficult to balance out lines without the sketch running long, but we have done sketches with all 12 of us,” said member Brendan Phaneuf ’24. “When I write, I try to have at least five parts with a decent amount of dialogue. And if I need someone for just a line or two, adding some extra people helps.”

Six Gents plans to have six performances a year, either every month or every other, and aims to theme each show seasonally or around timely events. While most of the content is scripted, DiSpena improvises lines or physical comedy playing off of the audience’s emotions. Dancause also integrates elements of improv. 

“I’d say our ‘inbetweeners’ are the most unscripted part of any show, because it’s meant to be a short gag or bit to get the audience involved and be ourselves,” she said. 

Member Santi Najarro Cano ’24 is thankful for his fellow members.

“Six Gents is the club I didn’t know I needed to be a part of. It was something that to me I initially felt very uncomfortable doing, but I grew to love it so much over time,” he said. “Getting to collaborate with creative, funny people and also calling them my friends is a blessing and I’m very thankful for that. The shows are electric, but what makes it all worth it is the funny constant collaboration.”

To DiSpena, the club is an outlet, allowing him to reach his maximum creativity and authenticity and share it with the world, he said.

“Despite being new this year, I felt welcomed immediately by everyone and the club and truly value the relationships we have built over our love of comedy, acting, and the arts,” DiSpena said. “Most importantly, I love our audience. It makes me so proud to have others laugh at the sketches I have written or characters I played. We really do it for you all. Thank you so much for watching our shows.”

A Course in Girlbossing and Curious George 

by John Downey '23 on April 22, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

A Course in Girlbossing and Curious George 

Six Gents Delights With Another Hilarious Show

By Grace Whitman ’22

After postponing their Thursday, March 30 show, Six Gents was back and better than ever on Monday, April 11. Given that the group also moved the show from its typical 11 p.m.. start, to an hour earlier at 10 p.m., it should come as no surprise that the Angell Blackfriars Theatre was almost completely filled with students eager to see Providence College’s best—and only—sketch comedy group deliver a highly-anticipated performance.

The packed house made for the perfect opportunity for the club to introduce their three new gents. To do so, the group headed to Hogwarts. However, because the sorting hat was unavailable, Jack Grosso ’22 filled in and determined the characteristics that new gents Trish Nee ’23, Santi Najarro Cano ’24, and Dom Dasilva ’24 would bring to the club by placing his hands on their heads and “reading their minds.”

After this hilarious opening, the first full skit of the night commenced. Titled “Da Boyz,” it saw Dasilva and Abbie O’Connell ’22 play husband and wife. Dasilva and some of his guy friends “watched football” at the couple’s home—and by watching football, viewers soon realized, they meant doing things that were very decidedly not watching football, such as making plans to attend a Big Time Rush concert, discussing how to perfect charcuterie boards, and debating whether they were team Cassie or Maddie from Euphoria. Aidan Benjamin ’23 told O’Connell that she needed to get her hearing checked when she questioned what they were actually talking about, but at the end of the skit, she caught them red handed, having a dance party.

Another memorable sketch was called “Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss.” Written by O’Connell, it follows her as she teaches a few of the other female Gents what it means to gaslight, gatekeep, and girlboss. Analisa Pisano ’23 expressed concern that gaslighting someone is a form of bullying, but O’Connell reassured her that as long as she throws up a peace sign and sticks out her tongue while she does it, it is perfectly okay.

The skit “Curious George,” was one that Grosso, who created the sketch, had been wanting to perform since his sophomore year. However, until now, the other gents vetoed it. Grosso played the iconic Man in the Yellow Hat from the beloved PBS Kids show and had the audience in stitches when they realized that Curious George was the man’s imaginary friend and not an actual monkey.

Emma Harrington ’22 stole the show with some improv stand-up comedy. Asking for two volunteers from the audience, stipulating that they must be okay with “being roasted,” her quick wit was truly incredible, with hard-hitters like, “sorry I’m running low on content, just like those socks” and “did you wear that outfit on the first day of middle school?” The chosen audience members were great sports about coming up on stage and helped make the show one to remember.

One of the final skits of the night was based on Harrington’s on-campus job as a resident assistant. The audience watched as in the span of one night, she had three separate groups knock on her door with absolutely bizarre scenarios. The situations were meant to be exaggerations of some of the real problems that RAs have to deal with, but in reality, they were not too far off, which made the entire sketch all the more hilarious. From a fight between roommates about one of them having her boyfriend over too much to there being poop on the dorm stairwell, Harrington saved the day with her special RA skills.

Six Gents’ final show of the year will be on May 4, and, as such, will be Star Wars-themed. Make sure to come down to the Smith Center for the Arts to support the group!

Laughing Their Hearts Out

by John Downey '23 on March 3, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Laughing Their Hearts Out

Six Gents’ Valentine’s Day Show

Grace Whitman ’22

Even though many students stayed up late last Tuesday night for the Providence vs. Villanova Men’s Basketball game, an impressive number of them came to the Smith Center to enjoy the Six Gent’s Valentine’s Day show at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

For each four shows that they have put on so far this academic year, the Gents wrote mini-acts to fill the transition time between different skits, ranging from mad libs that get the audience involved to some “top trending” Google search questions about each Gent. The Valentine’s Day show was no exception, featuring a few rounds of speed-dating, similar to the Celebrity Dating Show, in which a “mystery Gent” was paired with an audience member and both students were asked questions testing their compatibility and whether they would like to go on a second date. For example, the “contestants” were asked questions like, “what’s the most embarrassing text you’ve ever received?” and “would you be open to relocating to the Chicago suburbs for love?”

One of the night’s crowd-favorite sketches was written by Christina Charie ’25. The skit followed Coach Cooley as he lost Huxley somewhere on campus. “Cooley” (Aidan Benjamin ’23) is frantic about finding Huxley before the next game, but then finds out that Friar Dom let Huxley get hit by the Friar Night Life Shuttle out of spite because Cooley allowed Huxley to steal his spotlight as a new mascot five years ago. The most shocking plot twist, however, came at the end of the skit: “Cooley” and the audience learned that Huxley actually had not gotten hit by the Friar Nite Shuttle—he was just drunk at Brad’s.

Another memorable sketch was 50 Shades of Love. Written by Andy Belotte ’25, it starred Benjamin as Ben, a man hoping to win over a girl named Carla (Analisa Pisano ’23). When Ben is too nervous to shoot his shot with Carla, “Nate Watson” (Belotte) is brought in to give Ben his best tips for winning the girl over. “Watson” explains to Ben that he uses his TikTok fame as a selling point to impress the girls he’d previously struck out with. Abbie O’Connell ’22 enters the scene as Doris Burke. She, like “Watson,” tries to help Ben but fails, as Ben finally builds up the nerve to tell Carla his feelings only for her to confess that her true love is Watson.

The Family Restaurant sketch, written by Emma Harrington ’22, was yet another highlight of the show. It followed Benjamin and Sydney Cahill ’22 on a date at a family restaurant that takes a turn for the worse when they realize that they are in the middle of a Kitchen Nightmares episode starring Gordon Ramsay, played by Harrington in a spot-on impression. Over the course of the skit, the restaurant family and their strong personalities come out of the kitchen, yelling at one another. Pisano’s Italian accent, in particular, left the audience in shambles.

This past week, Six Gents had their spring auditions, so be on the lookout for new members at their next show!

Recap: Six Gents’ Thanksgiving Show

by The Cowl Editor on December 11, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Recap: Six Gents’ Thanksgiving Show

Student Performers Make Audience Thankful for Laughter

Grace Whitman ’22

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Providence College students made the trek down to the Smith Center for the Arts for Six Gents’ second show of the semester, “A Six Gents Thanksgiving.”

Since auditions for the comedy group were held last month, the show started with personal introductions for the new members of the club. Instead of simply introducing them, however, the group performed a skit written in the style of an interrogation. President Sydney Cahill ’22 and Vice President Jack Grosso ’22 led the questioning, trying to figure out if Emma Harrington ’22, Christina Charie ’25 and Andy Belotte ’25 were ready to join the group and determine if they could get Six Gents more funding for their budget. Cahill, Grosso, and audience members discovered that, as a member of Student Congress, Belotte was perfectly positioned to obtain some additional funding from Congress. 

One of the most memorable skits was a play on the Lifetime show Dance Moms. On the show, dance teacher Abby Lee Miller regularly ranks her dancers, pyramid-style, based on their performances from the previous weekend. Harrington, who played Abby Lee Miller, ranked Maddie Ziegler (Aidan Benjamin ’23) on the top of the pyramid, per usual, and choreographed an interpretive dance for Maddie and JoJo Siwa (Katie Vennard ’22) to perform inspired by the wreck of the Titanic. When JoJo and Maddie’s moms didn’t approve of the number, Jill Vertes, played by Belotte, thought it could be a perfect opportunity for “her little Kendall.”

Growing up, most students probably watched Bill Nye the Science Guy’s videos on rolling TV carts in elementary school and smart boards as they grew older to learn about science topics ranging from the phases of matter to static electricity. The next skit played on the idea that as students grow up, Bill Nye, played by Benjamin, has some mature topics to teach them about in the new and improved Bill Nye the Science Guy program. 

Six Gents was originally created to serve as a Saturday Night Live-style sketch group so, for the Thanksgiving show, Cahill and Analisa Pisano ’23 paid homage to the show by doing a Weekend Update skit pretending to be Michael Che and Colin Jost. In the fictional news program, the hosts cracked some jokes about Dean Sears’ emails and “new Ray.” They also brought in special guest Grosso to play a game of Taylor Swift Trivia. With Red (Taylor’s Version) recently released, Pisano and Cahill asked Grosso to finish the lyrics of her songs. He was able to nail “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “You Belong with Me,” but the crowd let out an enthusiastic “boo” when he didn’t know the lyrics to “All Too Well.”

In between each of the skits, Six Gents members asked the audience for words to substitute for blanks in a story before reading aloud in a game of Mad Libs. When asked for a store, “PC Mart” was thrown out, and some funny nouns included “Jake Gyllenhal” and “bowling ball.” To wrap up the show, the gents read the hilariously random mad lib that the audience created together. 

Students looking for more laughs were able to enjoy Six Gents Holiday show last night, and the group is  sure to have more amazing performances next semester.