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Thumbs up for Legends stand up

Emilie Terhaar | Monday, February 11, 2013

“I was told you guys clam up when we talk about sex…but I’m gonna do it anyway.”

That was said by comedian Andy Haynes at Legends on Saturday.  Haynes followed comic Andrew Santino in the two-hour stand up night. Before I talk about their funniness or unfunniness, let’s go over what I realized sitting in the 18-person audience at the show. 

So comedy shows are sort of like concerts in the sense that the audience has the ability to set the tone of the room, performance, and even sensory experience.  A perfect example was last spring when Sam Adams came to St. Mary’s and the audience was neatly lined in auditorium rows, and predominantly composed of females. 

There was a definite difference between seeing Sam Adams that night, and seeing him with a crowd of rowdy drunk people in a Boston bar. 

So audience affects concert experience.  This principle is even truer for stand up comedy shows.  Whether a joke is funny or not depends on who’s listening.  Watching last Saturday’s show was a case study in understanding yourself and your peers. 

Both comics picked the low hanging fruit and went for sports first.  They made a lot of hockey and football jokes that were well received.  My favorite sports-related joke was Andrew Santino’s constant purposed mispronunciation of Manti Te’o (Manttito, Monit tuhtowow, Monteee titoooto). Then they centered in on sex and pot jokes, which was when it became apparent to me just how conservative we are at Notre Dame. That was not a secret, but I guess I thought of it as an exaggerated stereotype, or one of those things you kinda think about but don’t really believe.  Like how girls always say they’re fat when they don’t really think they’re fat.  

What makes us conservative is the fact that we aren’t openly lascivious, or casual when it comes to taboos.  Whether we like it or not we’ll always possess some shame because of our Catholic conservative surroundings. 

Anyway, they were both freaking hilarious.  Santino was better.  He’s the bigger star, he’s been on “The Office,” and hosts “Punk’d,” but Haynes, who’d been on “Conan” and “Jimmy Fallon,” was pretty lol-worthy himself. 

Santino was better because he felt the audience out.

He reacted to all his surroundings. 

When the fan turned on he made jokes about God turning the wind on, he fake freaked out on someone taking a picture, hit on females in the audience, and made up a mock TV show theme song about a group of two boys and a girl sharing a table in the front row that criticized one of the boys for being “the third wheel.”

Anything that happened he was ready for, and turned into a joke, or had a story that related to it.  The presence of a British boy in the audience started a ridiculous tirade on the disgusting Brits.

Haynes tried to bounce off the audience too, but he wasn’t quite as good at it.  There was a really nice bit where he asked a table of girls where they were from and the four of them said “Connecticut,” “Florida,” “I’m Chinese” and “Alabama.”  He took that into a bunch of jokes about Asians, China, and American inadequacy.  I applaud Haynes’ attack of a shorts-wearing male audience member: “What are you trying to prove?  You’re making white people look bad.  Are you connecting with your viking heritage?”  He finally publicly abused shorts-wearing in winter.

One of the regular comedians from Student Stand-Ups, Will Docimo, was a nice opener.  Very goofy guy, a little pre-rehearsed, and too normal for my taste, but he was funny nonetheless.

 All in all it was a really funny night, I laughed for about two hours straight, more laughs per minute than watching “30 Rock” or “Workaholics”which is huge in my book.  I left thinking they were too talented for the twentyish people who showed up at Legends.