Laura Clark and Jackie Arko
Sketch-comedy group the Dowry has been making audiences laugh since 2007 with performances at ImprovBoston, Boston Comedy Festival, the UMass Amherst Comedy Jam, and at least one venue they wish they could forget. On Friday at 10 p.m., the six-member ensemble — Jackie Arko, Paul Barner, Natalie Baseman, Hannah Foell, Brian Goddard, and the group’s director, Laura Clark — will perform their last show, at ImprovBoston.
‘It’s sort of like our last episode, so it’s going to take on a little bit of a sitcom feel.’
Q. Your logo is a donkey stamped with “The Dowry.” Please explain.
Clark: We wanted to be called the Waitlist, and then we found out there was already a college sketch group in Orlando called the Waitlist.
Arko: We had an e-mail chain with countless names.
Clark: Someone suggested the Leaf Peepers. I’m glad we didn’t do that.
Arko: The Dowry was just random.
Clark: In the last year, they’re trying to outlaw dowries in India, and for good reason. We’ve gotten posts on our Facebook page like, “Please ‘Like’ and share this petition to end dowries.”
Q. What’s a performance you’ll never forget?
Clark: The Philadelphia Sketchfest. [Laughs]
Q. Why are you both laughing?
Clark: Because we don’t acknowledge Philadelphia as a place or sketchfest that we went to. We think of it as a really fun road trip with some [expletive] in the middle.
Q. What happened?
Clark: We did our time-tested audience favorites and the audience was —
Arko: Not digging it.
Clark: They were just not there to laugh.
Arko: There were certain things coming up, and I knew, like, “OK, this joke will get them.” Then that joke would happen, and there would be silence.
Q. What are your sketch topics? Keep in mind, it’s a family-friendly newspaper.
Clark: We have some dirty sketches where the focus is just being gross.
Arko: But we’re mostly silly and quirky.
Q. How so?
Clark: We have a sketch called “Dog Park” where we see different dogs that look like their owners, and we talk about their owners. . . . It’s much funnier in person.
Arko: One sketch we did was called the Munchburglar — like the Hamburglar from McDonald’s. It was a sketch about Dunkin’ Donuts trying to come up with an ad campaign. I had to make a Munchburglar costume where Paul had to dress up like a giant Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkin. I had to make this giant, puffy ball that his legs and arms came out of, made out of felt. It was a jelly Munchkin, so in the bottom corner was this gross-looking hole with jelly coming out that we put frosting in because he had to eat it.
Q. Four of your six members are women. Do you ever play male roles?
Arko: We have to play men a lot, which is usually denoted by a stick-on mustache.
Clark: We go through a lot of adhesive felt.
Q. So why is the Dowry ending?
Clark: We’re going our separate ways in the fall. Some of us are moving, some of us are getting married, and it feels like the right time.
Q. What’s in store for your final show?
Clark: It’s sort of like our last episode, so it’s going to take on a little bit of a sitcom feel. We’ll have a theme song at the beginning, but it’s just us all moving out of the house that we’ve shared for four and a half years.
Q. Even though you’re splitting up, will you keep performing?
Clark: Jackie, Hannah, and Natalie all do improv at ImprovBoston.
Arko: The Dowry is one of the many [comedy] things that the three of us do.
Clark: But if I find out you guys are with different sketch groups too soon after our breakup . . .
Arko: Are you going to buy us a one-way ticket to Philly?
Clark: Yes. I’m going to submit you guys to Philly Sketchfest.