When it comes, good comedy comes in threes

I often complain about the fact that there are so few comedy events on campus compared to the overwhelming number of musical performances. So when I heard that three nationally known comedians would be performing at Goodrich Hall, I was excited. A comedy event did take place last year, but nobody showed up because it was during finals. This time the house was packed, and the show was a great success.

Joe Carroll opened the show, commenting on the fact that Goodrich was an old church and pointing at “God’s disco ball.” After a few minutes of heathen fun, he moved into his personal life, interweaving anecdotes with various complaints about the world in general. “My mom used to pour a pot of water over me in the morning to wake me up…I didn’t mind, because the time it took to boil meant I got to sleep later.”

He went on to talk about airplanes, a traditional favorite among comedians. Carroll put his own spin on things with a reference to a narcoleptic pilot and the USAir motto. “USAir begins with you…so does ‘U-Crash a lot.’”

Eventually Carroll revealed that his real strength was dead people, and went on to make fun of the reaper for around five or ten minutes. Starting with the Michael Kennedy skiing himself into a tree, a long list of famous deaths began, with some of the more notable names drawing boos from the crowd. However, Carroll won the room back over when he reminded, “All these people would still be dead if I didn’t do any jokes about them.” He later added that it would be a shame to let them go to waste. With numerous other anecdotes such as the time he gave out chocolate Ex-Lax for Halloween, Carroll certainly got the crowd moving.

Matt Malley, a red-haired comedian in a wheelchair, was next. The fact that he was handicapped allowed him to make fun of the subject and get away with it to a degree, although he was quick to test the limits of the crowd time and time again. Referring to himself as “Crippy,” he ridiculed many of the ways our society deals with the handicapped, from stupid labels like “handi-capable” to people who come up and poke him in the leg out of curiosity. His impression of a werewolf in a wheelchair was extremely amusing: “Head for the stairs, we’ll be safe!”

In a splash of observational comedy, a few thought-provoking questions were raised such as, “Why are eggs bad for you and chicken is good for you? Isn’t an egg just concentrated chicken?” and ruminations on whether Ethiopians would understand the concept of a food fight. Malley then moved on to the commercial realm and examined the new Barbie dolls, such as the handicapped Barbie that didn’t fit in the dream house or dream car (or anywhere in Barbie’s “Nazi dream world”), and the more realistically proportioned “Last Call Barbie.” Malley closed by mentioning Christopher Reeve and summing up his assessment of Superman with “I could take him.”

Tom Hayes served as the grand finale of the show, and came on stage proclaiming his cool “Jewish accountant look.” He complained that his appearance (old balding guy) has resulted in people accosting him in stores under the impression that he works there. He has developed numerous ways of dealing with this problem, from responding, “Yes I work here, now get the hell out of my store,” to selling someone a rug and keeping the money. Hayes then made a few jokes about marriage and divorce, while making fun of some parents that were visiting.

The comedy became even more rapid-fire as Hayes explained the economic situation of France. We used to buy their wine, he explained, but when we stopped they decided we’d buy water at a dollar a bottle with the name “Perrier,” which he said was “French for ‘we peed in it already.’”

After some hilarious true stories about his adventures in New Zealand, Hayes began the magic portion of the program with some cigarette sleight of hand. After showing off a flaming wallet of his own, he asked for a wallet from an audience member and proceeded to pull various embarrassing things out of it. Hayes’s high-pitched squeal was amusing throughout, and the applause of the crowd proved that they agreed with me.

All in all, I was very impressed with the show. The crowd was crowded, the comedians were comedic, and the experience at Goodrich was both good and rich. My only complaint is that wonderful events like this are too far and few between,. But when they do happen, it’s well worth your time to go see them.