Jacob Jones’ 21
Ah, Libel show. A time to cast aside the serious, somber nature of law school in favor of the silly and the sarcastic. I was excited to watch this performance of a real-life meme, or as some people call it, “The Theatre.” I went into the show with high expectations, and they were surpassed. It was surprising and inspiring to see how talented some of my classmates are. From outstanding writing that managed to navigate serious issues while remaining funny, to the amazing dancers and band that were essential to every musical performance, to the stage help and lighting experts, and of course the singers and actors, each did their part to make the sum greater than the whole of its parts.
While every performance and every video were great, several of them stand out to me in my somewhat hazy memory of the Libel Show. For example, I recall The BlueBook sketch, which made fun of the unnecessary Latin phrases we’ve come to know and love to the tune of Dora the Explorer. I’d rave about how great this skit was, but I think the thing speaks for itself. Another sketch––a mock news segment featuring a stressed out 1L––felt a little too real for me, but that’s showbiz baby. I would much rather have been the carefree 3L, at least until he gets hit in the head by the bar.  Other sketches that felt far too real included the 1L who went around begging for outlines, even for LRW, and being a Band 3 for dating. I can’t wait until I become a summer associate and can relate to all those problems.
Plenty of jokes were made at the expense of faculty and professors as well. Sitting directly behind the Real Jennifer Hulvey made me somewhat uncomfortable about hearing her exaggerated Southern drawl say things like UVA being “better than a barn-tootin racoon on a midnight train to Dixie,” but J-Hulv seemed to find the portrayal funnier than I did. I think I’ll base my selection of classes next semester exclusively on “Professor Dungeons and Dragons,” which means taking Professor Coughlin’s class for sure.
The skit that had the simplest premise, a grumpy old donor groaning about changes in the law school, turned out to be one of the funniest. I have no idea why I cried laughing at this, but I did, and it was great. The old man’s makeup was just another one of the small touches that made the show great.
The last song titled “Under the Curve,” set to the theme of “Under the Sea,” gave great advice to us rudderless students who sometimes find ourselves drowning under the waves made by our gunner peers. After that, the show was dismissed, and the dancing lobsters were brought out. After the show, we all went to Bilt to prove our stereotype as a party school as true. You might have ideas about what skits were good and bad that differ from mine, but that’s showbiz baby.
M. Eleanor Schmalzl ‘20
As a 1L, I was absolutely blown away by the Libel show and the talent of all my classmates. Their ability not only to perform, but also to produce such an amazing show really made me question why some of my classmates were here instead of auditioning on Broadway or trying to make it big in Hollywood. This year, I was able to view the show from a 2L’s viewpoint, one with high expectations of the content and low expectations regarding the alcohol that was served. I found myself pleasantly surprised overall, but left with a few critiques for the show next year.
First, and most important, the beer: 10/10 better than last year. I know several classmates didn’t buy drinking tickets because of last year’s less than ideal beer selection. This year, I heard several upperclassmen wishing they had purchased drinking tickets to enjoy the IPA and PBR being served by the Libel crew. The only caveat: I didn’t have time to drink what my ticket allowed because of the “No alcohol in the auditorium” rule. Yes, the rule makes sense and wasn’t up to the Libel crew, blah blah blah, but I’m an economics gal. If I get four beers, I want my four beers (and don’t want to have to chug it like that one guy did on stage). Next year, Libel should definitely continue on this “good beer” trend and maybe advertise what beer will be provided so students can make informed decisions about what ticket to purchase. They should also try to start serving earlier before the show so I can drink in peace instead of having to #chug before the show and at intermission.
Next, the performance of the show: incredible. The live numbers were so well performed and the people who participated should be really proud of their hard work because it showed. My only critique is a desire to have screens of the lyrics on both sides of the stage so people can view it from multiple angles. I had to miss some of the incredible dancing because I was trying to see the words on the far screen, and was sad I didn’t get to fully take in all the wonderful choreography that the show had to offer. Overall, the live numbers were fantastic and far surpassed the memories I have of my 1L show.
Finally, the content: overall extremely strong. Several of the sketches had me #ROTFL, especially the portrayal of Professor Kordana, but a few parts seemed like unnecessary cracks that pushed a little too far. Namely, the portrayal of Justice Thomas was inappropriate and left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m all for making fun of the most prominent figures in the legal profession, but think we should spread the love a little and not unevenly make fun of those more conservative among us. Sorry, but portraying Justice Ginsburg as old and fragile doesn’t equalize to the three scenes dissing Justice Kavanaugh, in addition to shots at Justice Gorsuch and having Justice Thomas only speak in grunts. Overall minor critique, but I felt I couldn’t give a review of the show without mentioning this, in my eyes, big shortfall. Overall, the show has a lot to be proud of content wise––“Post my grades” was my favorite song and Old Man Wilikers had to be the best sketch of the night. This will be a tough show to beat next year, and I can’t wait to see what next year’s cast comes up with.
Daniel Grill ’19
Each year, Libel showcases the wide-ranging talents of the Law School student body, and this year was no exception. Over the show’s sixteen skits, the cast’s singing, dancing, acting, and writing abilities were on full display. The writers did a particularly good job of including new and timely material, like the Kavanaugh hearings, along with classic jokes on topics like the curve and professor impressions.
I particularly enjoyed the “Weakest Spouse,” in which a gameshow host decided which member of professor couples could continue to teach at the Law School. This was a funny way to talk about the seemingly high number of professor couples, and it is the first time Libel has touched on it in the last three shows. I can never go back to studying in the Gambini Room, but it was a great way to put an end to the classic Goluboff v. Schragger debate.
I also enjoyed “Butts R Us,” in which an attorney assigns a summer associate a big project that he is not equipped for. In the video, the summer associate seeks help from other summer associates and attorneys, who provide little help. The summer associate ultimately completes the assignments to realize that the attorney no longer needs the report. This caricature of life as a summer associate was funny and addressed fears that many hold before working for a big firm. The video also included great music and slo-mo effects.
The professors’ three-song response was also very impressive. While “We Will Stump You,” sung to to the tune of We Will Rock You, brought back repressed memories of 1L cold calls, the professors finished with their own version of Bohemian Rhapsody, with harmonization that would put Freddie Mercury to shame. The professors seemed to enjoy poking fun at the student body and the audience appreciated their funny outfits and air guitars. It will be a tough act to follow next year!
This year’s Libel Show was certainly a success. It was funny and well executed. It also felt a little shorter than last year’s which seemed to run a little long. I enjoyed watching such a talented cast put on a great show!
 Pronounced “Th-ee-ayy-ter.”
 A uniform system of citation.
 By bar I do not mean Bilt.
 I made this up but you get the idea.
 She even wrote into Libel to congratulate them on a job well done!
 Read: pretty dang awful.
 I like to pretend that adding a “#” before things makes me sound cool.