It is hard not to laugh at a show that follows its opening fire escape directions with the reminder that there is an open bar in the back. It gets better as a room full of drunk Law School students start laughing, then howling, about all the things that normally keep them up at night: the stiff competition for BigLaw jobs, impossible school honors, and professors that just cannot seem to explain things clearly.
Last Thursday and Saturday in Roone Arledge Auditorium, Columbia Law Revue (spelled correctly) put on its annual spring show. This year’s production was titled “Robert Mueller’s Day Off,” referencing the special counsel looking into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russia as well as the classic film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
To spoof the legal writing that students are tasked with on a regular basis—and perhaps those that are over enthusiastic in their citations—the program for the production was heavily footnoted. Each footnote explained the CLS inside jokes and references spread out within the songs.
Each of the songs was an edited and satirical rendition of popular songs ranging from “Killing Me Softly” to “Shake it Off.” In this production, however, they were titled “Killing Me SofTest” and “Make It Up,” referencing their often glitchy testing software and their strategy for getting through unexpected cold calls, respectively.
Although the production was open to the public, many of the jokes and references within the production were either Law School-specific or tailored for someone with some legal knowledge. To their credit, however, just because the subjects of the jokes were niche, it did not mean that the production was anything less than outrageously funny for anybody who happened to walk through the door.
Interspersed among some self-deprecating musical numbers were skits that traced the story of a day in Washington, D.C. without Robert Mueller. Mueller, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses, was off in Southern California. Back in Washington, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who spoke in an exaggerated southern drawl, starred in a baking show. With Mueller on the other coast, Trump revealed his affinity for drug-laced “Special K” bars, and Hope Hicks choked on hard candy that might have been stronger than it looked.
As the unsupervised Trump administration continues its drug-influenced self-destruction, Law School students sing about how “NYU Law’s poaching all our good professors” and “bar reviews” that certainly aren’t affiliated with the American Bar Association. In their last number, however, they ultimately admit that “law school was pretty zany”—reminding the audience that no matter how much they complain about the professors, the work, or the printers, they embrace their “law-kholm syndrome.”
This week, those same students who were just onstage will probably once again lock themselves inside Jerome Greene Hall, worrying about bar exams, cold calls, and flaky professors. For that one brief instant, though, there was nothing so bad about law school that it couldn’t be laughed away.