Welcome to Camp, Skits, and Other Things

Headed to a talent show or campfire, but don’t know how to perform a skit?  You’ve come to the right place.

With ten years of experience as a professional camp counselor, I’ve seen dozens of skits.  I’m here to share what I know so you can enjoy getting the whole crowd to laugh with you.

A skit has three parts: 1. The Situation, 2. The Set-up, and 3. The Gag, or Punch Line.

Like the three act structure of most movies, the three parts set-up the the rhythm of the skit.  If the rhythm or timing is right, the joke or pay-off at the end will get a bigger reaction.  Below is an explanation using a skit performed by some friends of mine who are professional camp counselors from Girl Scout’s Camp Scherman, down in Riverside County, CA.

Watch the video, giggle, then read on:

1. The Situation:  What is going on that the audience needs to know in order to follow the joke?  Usually, this is where we meet the person who the joke is on.

In the video, the situation is that someone chewing a piece of gum sets it down and walks away.  Now, we are preparing for the gross out section of this skit.

2. The Set-Up: This is setting up for the joke of the skit.  By itself, the set-up should be entertaining and humorous.  It also has a lot of freedom, because this is a filler section that can be added to or taken from as necessary.  If you have ten kids who want to do the skit, you can pair them up in this section, or have them perform separately.  This tends to be the part where everyone can participate, and everyone gets a moment of being the star on stage.

In the video, people interact with the gum in gross ways.   The remarkable performers in the video, , chose to have the 1. the gum thrown on the ground, 2. the gum peed on by a dog, 3. the gum stepped on.

If you choose to do a skit like this, you don’t have to do the same things.  Your kids are creative and can come up with anything on their own.

Please note that while this is a gross-out skit, the gross-out factor should be appropriate to the audience.   If you are performing at a retirement home, you may take out the part where the dog pees on the gum.  If it is a Boy Scout camp out,  that part will get the biggest laugh.

3. The gag or punchline:

Her, the audience should go, “Eew!” or laugh really hard.  If you’ve done the set-up well, the audience will be anticipating this, and will be on the edge of their seats, logs, or sit-upons, waiting for the pay-off.

In the video, the first person comes back and says, “My gum!” and picks it up and chews it.  Another variation is adding, “It tastes so good!”

And the audience laughs and says, “Eew!” all together.

And that completes a successful skit.

Thanks for reading this basic outline of the parts of the skit.  Come back later for types of skits, examples of skits, and how to reduce arguing while planning skits.