Comedian Erin Jackson delivered an introspective hour of standup comedy to a crowd of students at the Student Union Theater on Thursday night, generating laughs as she dug fairly deep into her personal life.
Jackson, who was a semifinalist on the 2014 reboot of the television show “Last Comic Standing,” was quick to poke fun at herself through the night. She touched on topics including her mother’s lack of technology knowledge, her dislike for working out and her bad luck participating in online dating.
She drew big laughs early on through a bit of audience participation: after jokingly pointing out that one of every four African-Americans can swim, she went through the crowd to humorously take what she called a “random sample.”
“You can’t swim, you can’t swim and you can swim. Well, I can’t swim,” Jackson, an African-American, quipped. “My hypothesis is correct!”
She continued to use race as a source of humor throughout the night, occasionally through the use of self-deprecation.
Like many of the standup comedians that come through Storrs, including Kathy Griffin a few weeks ago, Jackson poked fun at some of the campus’ oddities. When told that UConn had the biggest puppetry program in the nation, she alternated between bewildered looks into the crowd and off-hand cracks as chuckling bounced around the audience.
Jackson’s expressive body language was hugely important to her comedic success.
Jackson excelled when she transitioned into her dealings with her family. One hysterical moment came when she talked about her mother’s unfamiliarity with text-message language, saying that her mother thought that “BTW” stood for “Booker T. Washington.”
“Screw context,” she said. “Booker T. Washington, what time are we meeting for dinner?”
Jackson again moved into personal territory as the topic moved to working out, as she expressed her desire to lose weight. Realizing that she struggled to find suitable workout clothes at The Sports Authority, she said, “I need to workout to fit into workout clothes.”
Possibly the funniest moment of the night came when Jackson began to talk about her experiences with online dating. She relayed a story in which a man took her to a restaurant on a date, asked if she would pay the bill and then stopped to urinate in an alley on the walk back to the car.
Jackson observed that she should have left the date immediately, but the professional comedian inside of her was saying that she should ride it out for the sake of the story. “I did it for you all,” she said.
As the best comedians are, Jackson was wholly unafraid of turning her struggles into comedy, as the show became sort of an internal monologue at times. She navigated through her difficult single life and other personal topics professionally, keeping the audience laughing all the way through.
“I get to make other people happy,” she said when extolling the best parts of her job.