Medical school students know how to have fun.
For over 50 years, a group of students at the Perelman School of Medicine have put on an annual production, called Spoof, which allows students to come together and laugh at the incredibly competitive and intense nature of medical school.
Spoof, which is directed and produced entirely by the students, is a parody that includes musical performances and comical skits. These skits and songs lightheartedly make fun of every aspect of the Medical School including the hospital, doctors, individual lecturers and classes.
“We’re all going through this ridiculousness together, and everyone has the same feelings to some extent,” fourth-year Medical student Claire Nordeen said. “Spoof is an opportunity to use your humor to release your inner frustrations and be able to laugh at how absurd and crazy this whole process it.”
This year’s Spoof performance, which took place on March 23, was directed by three fourth-year Medical students Josh Kiss, Christina Pasick and Nordeen. It was entitled “Game of Crohn’s.” However, the title doesn’t reflect the actual content of the performance because each year’s script makes fun of similar aspects of the Medical School experience.
The musical scenes, written by students, take popular songs and reword them to make fun of specific aspects of medical school or the medical profession in general. For example, in this year’s production, the cast spoofed “We Built This City” and transformed it into “We Built This Titty,” taking a jab at plastic surgery.
Spoof has a very selective audience, mainly resulting from the grossly exaggerated and crude content of the show, as well as the medical terminology that may be difficult for any non-medical school students to understand.
According to Nordeen, Spoof is the only medical theater group on campus.
The cast of approximately 60 people generally consists of fourth-year and first-year Medical students. Second- and third-year Medical students are generally very busy with clinical rotations and cannot participate.
In order to accommodate them, the show is performed the week after the first big second-year clinical exam is completed.
The group also accommodates first-year students who have not yet begun their clinicals and therefore do not fully understand the humor. The first-year students put on their own skit within the larger production.
Spoof is not limited to students. Benoit Dube, a psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at the Medical School, recently performed in the opening skit.
“I have been spoofed in the past, but this year I was very happy to be invited to be involved in the initial opening skit,” Dubé said. “If you’re invited to join, it’s a testimony that [the students] kind of like you.”
Giffin Daughtridge, first-year Medical student and skit director, commented on this year’s performance.
“It’s a long tradition at the Medical School, so it was cool to be part of it,” Daughtridge said. “It was a good opportunity to do something with my classmates. It’s a lot of fun.”
Spoof’s budget, which Nordeen said is relatively large, comes from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the Medical Student Government and ticket sales. Some individuals also choose to donate to Spoof.
One such donor, Katherine Margo, director for student programs for the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, is valued for her funding and support.
Margo said that she supports Spoof because Medical students spend so much time studying that to “support something that they do that’s creative is very important.”
“I think that they’re amazing,” Margo said. “People should know that the students do this creative activity that brings [them] together.”
Dube also commented on the positive nature of Spoof.
“It’s an endless tradition, a bonding experience for students across all years of training,” he said.
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