Famous for their performances on “Saturday Night Live,” Streeter Seidell, Vanessa Bayer and Pete Davidson each delivered an interactive, raunchy and irreverent show in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Friday night.
After a brief opening act by UConn fourth-semester student Pete Carcia, Seidell led the way for each of the “SNL” comedians to come on. Here’s how their sets went.
Seidell’s main theme was simple: Connecticut sucks.
“We got nothing to brag about,” Seidell ironically boasted. “We’re just the state that’s in the way.”
He also had plenty of UConn-centric jokes prepared, including a reference to a select few students who may have slept on the same bed his parents had sex in, as well as a reference to Spring Weekend, UConn’s most notorious part of the year.
“This is your spring weekend. What happened to this place?” asked Seidell to a crowd that approvingly roared in response.
While many of Seidell’s jokes were well-approved, some received a more mixed response. For example, when he followed up his spring weekend joke by saying “I heard you guys don’t even have a rape trail any more,” most people laughed, but others shook their heads or gasped. The same went for his joke that the UConn women’s basketball team made their sport boring, to which even a few people booed.
However, Seidell was frequently interacting with his audience, pausing between each of his bits to gauge the crowd’s mood. A quick pivot towards Foxwoods being offensive towards Native Americans, as well as a bit on stereotypes behind vaping and e-cigarette smokers closed out a boundary-pushing and topical start to the night’s show.
If Seidell was like that funny jerk in class who you laughed at, but didn’t want to do anything stupid around, Bayer was like the nerdy, lovable charmer who revelled in her own awkwardness and delivered a masterclass in anti-humor and self-critique.
For instance, when Bayer went on an extended Passover joke, receiving little response, she nervously quipped, “Okay, that joke went on for too long.” There were different little moments like that throughout the night, but the result was never uncomfortable to sit through - and maybe this was intentionally part of her routine, like when she lost track of her routine and hastily asked the audience what she was talking about.
Unlike her other SNL contemporaries, Bayer and her impersonations of famous celebrities were a huge part of her routine. Her impressions included the main cast from “Friends,” - yes, that means the audience got to laugh at a deliberately awful Joey impression - Miley Cyrus and even herself giving an impersonation of what it would be like for her to tell a sex joke in front of a college audience.
This didn’t mean Bayer couldn’t be ruthlessly funny. Along with ripping on a Vistaprint commercial for advertising a business card printing company, Bayer also made fun of children she once taught at a drama campus and made fun of communications majors like herself for studying “the history of bullshit."
In a night of comedians willing to push the boundaries of what was okay to joke about, Davidson was unapologetically controversial, including jokes about mentally challenged college students, AIDS and child molestation, along with bringing in an element of the absurd.
One especially memorable moment of the night was Davidson talking about his dream of prioritizing being a commercials actor and standup comedian ahead of television or film work. He said his dream, in particular, came from the idea of replacing Jared Fogle as Subway’s main representative, maybe even as “one of the kids Jared molested.”
“Connecticut is a great place to be a murderer,” Davidson said to confused laughter, before starting a story about masturbating on his top bunk during his one year in college, where he “was closest to God.”
Davidson’s aloof and strange persona shined throughout his night. Unlike Seidel and Bayer, who talked to their audience and often asked questions to them, Davidson frantically paced back and forth, often leaving long awkward silences between his jokes, often sounding slurred and quick in his delivery.
Although his set felt much shorter than Seidel and Breyer, Davidson and his final set was an appropriate closing note for a night of taboo, but entertaining comedy.