Arts comedy review

An eternal smile

Vanessa Bayer comes to MIT for an evening of comedy

On April 8, we had the pleasure of having SNL alum, Vanessa Bayer, take the stage in Kresge auditorium. Due to other commitments, John Mulaney wasn’t able to come to campus. However, we were very lucky to have SNL, old and new, come to share their most embarrassing stories to us.

Just to tell you how hyped people were for this event, there was already a line well before the 8 p.m. showtime. By the time that my friends and I arrived, all the front seats had already been taken. In fact, all of the seats in the first five rows were packed with people eager to see these comedians. I knew that it was going to be a good time.

Opening the night for us was SNL member Chris Redd. The audience erupted into cheers as Redd strided onto stage with a swagger in his step. He took us on a wild adventure through his childhood and all the mishappenings that take place when you don’t know any better. Very much into comedy with a physical punchline, Redd regaled us with how he didn’t know that his uncle was a crackhead.

We chuckled a little bit. He launched into the ever-classic tale of standing up to the playground bully. My cheeks started to hurt from smiling. Then, there was a little bit of heckling in the audience. Redd did what any self-respecting adult with compassion would do. He played off of that to tailor a joke that’s extremely relatable. “Are you his secretary?!” he yelled from the stage. At this point, all of us were mere millimeters from falling out of our seats. My lungs were working overtime to support how much air I was losing from laughter.

Of course, there were still two more comedians to grace the stage. We were in for a ride. Passing the microphone over to the next performer, Mikey Day, Redd exited with the same amount of confidence he had as he entered. Day’s approach to comedy was a little more unorthodox, “I don’t usually do stand-up.” Nevertheless, he did have very interesting stories to tell us about the wonders of modern technology.

He projected all of the prank texts that he and his sister had ever sent to his dad over the years. Like a “Best of” compilation on YouTube, he showed the audience the time he tortured his father with emojis. When he finished this bit, he proceeded to tell us about all the sketch ideas he had that never saw the light of day. They were, undoubtedly, strange. The most memorable of them was the bizarity of modern-day shooter games. Imagining how people would react to a homicidal maniac in real life, Day stoically crouched and hopped continuously.

Day also noted the uncanny ability of Marvel to turn literally any concept idea into a blockbuster. And thus, he spoofed Guardians of the Galaxy several times over. Each movie title was a ridiculous amalgamation of words chosen at random from the dictionary. My friend and I had to look at each other, revelling in how absurdly hilarious this all was.

With that, Day left the stage. Moments later, the announcer came on stage to announce the headliner. This was it. It was time. My friend and I leaned forwards in anticipation only to unleash a banshee scream when Vanessa Bayer walked on.

Having seen her on SNL multiple times, I was ready to let my sides hurt from laughter. In an attempt to connect with the audience, Bayer proudly announced that she would have been Course 7. “How exclusive!” she added. A light chuckle passed through the room. She commented on the insanity that is the college experience. She started off with biology, only to become a communities major, which she describes as studying bullshit. I recognized the style humor that I had come to love from her. There was a certain kind of endearing awkwardness radiating from her. Some sample jokes from her: “It’s interesting how we can name our kids ‘Christian’ but not ‘Jew.’” She even told us about the time that she was encouraged to try out for a part because she seemed just the right kind of ugly. Sitting in the waiting room, she noticed all the women around her. “I kinda realized then, that we were all there because someone thought that we weren’t pretty,” she mused.

In a throwback to one of her more famous roles on SNL’s satire part of the show, Bayer described what it’d be like to actually live in the world of Friends. When she pulled off an impeccable Rachel impression on air, Bayer caught the attention of the original actress, Jennifer Aniston. Aniston joined her fictional counterpart on the show in a very memorable Weekend Update. Bayer laid out, in excruciating detail, how painful a relationship with Ross must be. Noting that further episodes will force Ross and Rachel back together again, she commented on the amount of lives that have to be trampled to have these two happy.

This was truly an unforgettable night. Although John Mulaney never came to our campus, it felt like the SNL people have really stepped up to make us laughter. Commendations have to be said of the De Florez Fund for Humor, which have funded the event. Giving us the much needed break that we needed at this time in the semester, the performers really have made the end of the semester a little more attainable.