‘Comedy in the Geodesic Dome,’ a small success
Jimmy Kemper | Tuesday, September 13, 2016
When I got an email from Student Union Board (SUB) at 10:30 p.m. Friday night announcing the location change for an event that had started 30 minutes ago, I realized that the crowd at the Stepan Center wasn’t going to get much bigger. However, that didn’t stop the 50 of us who showed up for Comedy on the Quad (except in the event of a torrential downpour) from having a great time.
Despite the location change, some clever attendees had the foresight to bring towels so they wouldn’t get covered in the dirt, dust and other grime that makes up the floor of everyone’s favorite ‘50s spaceship. Most of us, however, did not and were left wondering how many pre-med kids’ tears covered the concrete ground we were sitting on.
After everyone settled into the spacious venue, Comedy in the Geodesic Dome kicked off with Beth Stelling, a comedian based out of Chicago who has made the full late night circuit and has been featured in the indie film, “This Isn’t Funny.” It’s tough to perform in front of a crowd that small, but Stelling had the confidence and charisma to remove any trace of doubt that we’d have a great time. The highlight of her routine was definitely when she talked about her mom’s attempts to replace her aging flip phone, as all of us #millenials have also had to deal with parents battling the horrors of modern technology.
Next up was Chris Gethard, creator of “The Chris Gethard Show” and my favorite act of the night. Gethard is a very down-to-earth comedian. Not only was he able to make jokes about relevant topics such as Notre Dame #sportz, he also was willing to make some harsh, self-deprecating jokes about his appearance, going so far as to mock his self-described “misshapen head.”
Gethard ended his bit with a story about throwing ice cubes out of a bus back in high school and the old man who chased the bus down. It was a strange story with a lot of moving parts that could have gone either way, but Gethard kept the audience entranced for the whole tale and absolutely killed the punchline.
After Gethard, headliner Judah Friedlander took the stage in his trademark normcore aesthetic, rocking his signature patriotic trucker hat, shaggy mane and faded yellow “World Champion” shirt. When asked what he was the world champion of, Friedlander elaborated that he was the world champion of everything, having claimed the title in a North Korean karate tournament after snapping his opponent’s bones so loudly that everyone in the country went deaf, which is why his trucker hat for the night had “World Champion” written out in Braille.
Having grown up with “30 Rock,” it was great to see that Friedlander was just as funny, if not more so, in person than under the influence of Tina Fey’s writing. Friedlander is an extremely personable comedian with an excellent deadpan, and his passion for all things fighting is authentic enough to give anyone on the Bengal Bouts listserv the motivation to actually show up to practice.
After some time on stage, Friedlander walked down into the crowd for the most intimate stand-up session I’ve ever seen. Right there in the middle of the Midwest’s answer to EPCOT, Friedlander announced his intentions to run for president, transforming the stand-up show into a one-of-a-kind press Q&A event. He elaborated his viewpoints on every potential topic ranging from healthcare to drug legalization. Friedlander even took the time to shut down my inquisition into his stance on building walls, arguing that everyone should build whatever walls they want and I’m not that funny (he happens to be right).
SUB’s cleverly hidden Facebook page for the event (reaching a full 7 percent of ND and SMC students) told me that I would “ROFL, LMAO and LOL!” While not ideal, Comedy in the Most Uncomfortable Venue on Campus was, by all accounts, a great time. Here’s to hoping for better weather for Comedy on the Quad, and that it may one day actually be on a quad.