RNL 17: It's like SNL but at Rutgers and also Better

[lights up on a Rutgers Night Live rehearsal. John Lerman walks over to Katie Siegel]

JOHN: Hey, is the blog post almost done?

KATIE: The what?

JOHN: The blog post about RNL?

KATIE: I’m hosting RNL.


KATIE: I mean, I’m basically a celebrity now. I thought being the host meant you were gonna, like, hire someone to write it for me or something.

JOHN: No, you’ve still got to write the blog.

[Katie stands in stunned silence]

JOHN: And you’re not a celebrity.

KATIE: [sighs and takes off the Gucci sunglasses she was wearing inside] Fine.

[end scene]

Rutgers Night Live. The Saturday Night Live of Rutgers, some may say. RNL is–oh my god, I just got the name. It’s like SNL but at Rutgers. Holy shirt. That’s good stuff.

You’ll be pleased to know that the comedy doesn’t stop with the name when it comes to Rutgers Night Live. I’m hosting this show, so I can tell you from first-hand, insider experience that these people are some of the funniest folk I’ve ever met.

“How do eggs explain RNL? It’s all one big yolk.”
-Nishika Bagchi


This semester’s edition of Rutgers Night Live is RNL’s 17th show, as indicated by its title, RNL 17(76): Declaration of Sindependence (I elected for RNL 17 Again so we could try to get Zac Efron to guest star, but I was told that was “unrealistic” and “Katie stop coming up with schemes to try to meet Zac Efron and make him fall in love with you”).

I asked some of the cast members what they were doing in the year 1776:

“In 1776,” John Lerman recalled, “that was approximately four reincarnations ago, I was a mere dart frog resting on a lily pad, basking in a warm tropical sun, blissfully unaware of the impending devastation to my habitat brought on by the industrial revolution.”

Francesca Petrucci was having a less relaxing time in 1776. “I was actively trying to participate in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence,” she said, “but I wasn’t allowed to because I’m a woman who wouldn’t possibly be fit enough to make laws able to uphold patriarchal laws and institutions.”

“In 1776 I had just come up with the idea for the sketch I'm directing,” said Madhu Mohanmurali, “and put my quill to the parchment, though the concept of the sketch has changed a lot since then...I think I liked my original concept a bit more, as it had more men in wigs and stockings. But this is good too.”

“But this is good too.” -Madhu Mohanmurali

So, jokes aside, what is RNL? Nothing. RNL is nothing without its jokes. Jokes are literally the crux of RNL.

So, jokes included, what is RNL? Rutgers Night Live is a sketch comedy show with original sketches directed and performed by the cast and host. There is also a musical guest, Cabaret’s beloved angel, Nina Langhorn, and a monologue given by the host, Cabaret’s resident night troll, Katie Siegel.


Are there talking vacuums? Yes! Is there a sex robot? Yes! Creepy dude on a subway? We got you covered! Zac Efron? NO THEY WOULDN’T EVEN LET ME TRY

I asked Francesca Petrucci how she thinks audiences will react to the show.

“I think people will have to pee,” she replied. “Like maybe not during it but definitely at some point after just because that is like a necessary process the body goes through to excrete toxins. After that I think they will laugh and then riot, in that order.”

At the end of every year, RNL holds auditions for new cast members for the next year. This year’s cast has 5 new additions, so I asked John Lerman how the newbies seem to be holding up under the pressure of having to be funny all the time.

“The rookies are a rag-tag bunch of precocious ne'er-do-wells,” said John, “but they've brought a freshness and spice to this show we haven't seen in years. They are the future, we are the past, and I for one welcome the passage of time.”

So come see the rookies, the old folks, Nina, and the night troll in RNL 17, tonight (October 5th) at 8pm, tomorrow (October 6th) at 8pm or 11:59pm!

Buy your ticket now: https://sabo.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=4785

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/2211560792457471/?event_time_id=2211560795790804

Photos by John Hennessy