Kobi Libii '07 from The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. I had a feeling I recognized him from something, and I remembered he was one of the few black characters in Alpha House, which was created by Garry Trudeau '70. But! I had a feeling I had seen him elsewhere, too--in some kind of...jumpsuit?--and that's when it hit me. Well, almost.
One day I was talking with an '07 classmate about The Opposition and how cool it was that my other classmate, River Clegg '11, who was my old boss at the Penny Dreadful, had recently announced he was drafted onto the writing staff for this new show. My '07 classmate then mentioned he was indeed familiar with the show, and that he had even seen his old classmate, Kobi, on the show! And then I remembered where I saw this selfsame Kobi--he was the host of the Winter Comedy Student Showcase! I had that distinct, nagging memory of seeing him a jumpsuit, but where would I have seen him dressed like that? And why? Where and why else but as a member of Just Add Water, a Yale improv comedy group!
Above all, I was and remain a big fan of The Purple Crayon, which does the Harold style of improv--meaning they improvise a whole hour-long story with recurring characters and stuff from a quick suggestion at the very beginning. But Just Add Water, which incidentally also had my classmate Allison Williams '10, was an improv group that focused on the more usual fare of Whose Line Is it Anyway? type short games you might more immediately think of when you hear "improv."
I must admit, I wasn't the hugest fan of JAW, so I didn't actually see them perform that much, but I do vaguely remember early on in my Yale days seeing Kobi in his standard-issue JAW jumpsuit. Each improv group had uniforms of some sort, and theirs were colorful jumpsuits. The Crayon had some splendid, purple t-shirts with their Japanese motto's kanji on the back. The Yale Ex!t Players had pretty cool uniforms, too--they were like sports jerseys with their nicknames on the back. It was frustrating that they never referred to these names in any way, though (at least as far as I could tell), so it always felt like you weren't in on a joke. Side note, The Ex!t Players tended to be the more "prestigious" comedy group on and off campus, and while I'm not sure what most of them are up to now, I do know that my other classmate--my old boss at The Yale Record--David Litt '08 (who I happened to have thought was the funniest member of his class) has gone on to do great things, including writing comedy for no less than President Obama! And--plot twist--he guested on River's show, The Opposition! How cool was/is that?!
And thus it all comes back to Kobi! The great Kobi! I only kinda-sorta remember him, unfortunately--it was super early in my Freshman Year, when everything was an utter blur--dude, that was my first plane ride, basically my first time leaving my home town--I got lost so many times, I couldn't even find Commons and missed meals! But I definitely do remember seeing Kobi MC the Winter Student Showcase at Woolsey Hall! He'd bring up and send off each student performer, and between acts he would often make a few funny comments about whatever with his co-host(s?).
I even remember one of his jokes! In one of these act breaks, he said something like, "You know, I'm going say [a crass word] five times because I think it's a funny word, here, watch." He paused and looked right at the audience and with a serious, matter-of-fact tone, began his experiment:
The crowd chuckled uncomfortably.
The crowd laughed comfortably.
The crowd laughed.
The crowd roared.
The crowd laughed and cheered and he moved on to the next act.
I hadn't heard of that word before, but I do recall thinking how funny language is in that way--we only know the bad words if we're taught them and that that's what they are, otherwise it's just a tongue flailing nonsensically between breaths in a clomping mouth.
Regardless of all that rando history, though, Kobi is doing excellent work on River's show and he's easily the correspondent to watch for. I know he's going to go far!