Since its inception, Buffoonery has allowed MBA students to show off their talents and poke fun at themselves and their professors.
Francis Casale, MBA ’92, was there for the first Buffoonery. He sang in an a cappella group, played in a rock band, and wrote a skit about a not-so-typical dinner party.
Babson Magazine spoke with him about the beginnings of Buffoonery, and after that conversation, Casale felt inspired. Thinking of old friends in the MBA Class of ’92, the White Plains, N.Y., resident wrote up his recollections of long-ago days full of learning, camaraderie, and good times.
This is what Casale, who is now CFO at Hudson’s Bay Trading Co., had to say:
Robert Lofblad could imitate [former Babson professor] Roberto Bonifaz. His mimicry was so good, it motivated me to write a skit called Dinner at the Bonifazes and cast him as the lead. Students portrayed other Babson professors as well. Richard Bezemer played Bill Lawler, Taylor Kew played Bob Eng, and Jeff Packman played Michael Fetters. The idea was that all of these professors were participating in a potluck supper over at Professor Bonifaz’s house, gossiping with each other while putting the final touches on their dishes, with Mrs. Bonifaz, whom we had never met, intermittently screaming at them in Spanish. The professors and the rest of the audience appeared to enjoy it immensely even though it was a bit of a roast. They could tell that it was all done out of love.
I remember another act where a bunch of us played the Guns N’ Roses version of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door with Richard Bezemer on guitar. Richard looked like a rock star, so I liked our chances with that one. For a third act, I joined an ad hoc a cappella group formed by a classmate, John Treadway, called the Executones. John could really sing. I was by far the least talented member.
While at Babson, Taylor Kew, who passed away in 2007, lived with Richard Bezemer and Richard Schoeb in a capacious and comfortable carriage house on an estate in Wellesley. Along with those three, Brinley Porter, Eric Hudson, Bjorn Gulden, Robert Lofblad, Ted Farnham, Scott Sanborn, Peter Solomon, Jeff Packman, Laurie Ward, Julia Mirak, Janet Mee, Sheri Sencabaugh, Erin Lewis, Mike Gagnon, and I all seemed to orbit around each other. Roger’s Pub, the Bagel Nosh, Bertucci’s, and Taylor’s carriage house formed the perimeter of much of our geography. After graduation, Taylor married Julia Mirak. We were all witnesses to their courtship, and they were having fun and very much in love and great to be around—a central axis of our orbit. I was despondent to see someone so very much alive pass away so soon. God bless him and Julia.
Like so much good-spirited MBA DNA, we all would bond, break off, and bond again with different classmates in class project teams during the year. I suspect much of the fun and resonance of Buffoonery emanated from that type of camaraderie. By and large, we all enjoyed each other’s company so much, including the professors, that we wanted to work on teams with each other.
Babson did a great job demonstrating both the power of a team to complete an academic assignment and the emotional intelligence derived from team participation. I wonder if the administration is cognizant of how much you come to learn, appreciate, and admire (or not) about the character and talent of your team members on arduous assignments. It was certainly an essential part of what I learned at Babson, and I use it every day today.
Buffoonery was another chance to work with great people on a great team project, to share a little inspiration and foster a bit of creativity in each other. Only this time, instead of a marketing program or a policy decision, the objective was to spread some laughter and joy among a bunch of people we all really respected and cared about.
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