Brainless College Comedy
Our host tonight was the delightful K-von, who wore his tie loose to let us know that he was a “laid-back” kind of dude, but carefully gelled his hair to show that he was also a classy guy.
K-von started the set with a thought-provoking statement: “I love Orange County because even the ugly girls are hot!” Several girls sitting in front of me heartily agreed, and announced their shared opinions by standing up and “woo”ing loudly, pointing vaguely at cocktails in their hands. After K-von warmed the crowd with a few articulate jokes about airport security and dance clubs, he introduced the first comic of the night.
Kyle Dunnigan, a regular on shows like “Reno 911,” couldn’t quite bring his energy to the same manic level of K-von. For crazy college crowds, the content is never as important as the delivery; the comics who succeed are those who pace around the stage and flail their arms, punctuating their jokes with violent gestures à la Dane Cook. Alas, Dunnigan, a regular on the comic circuit, was just too schlubby and calm for the ladies in front of me, who found their opportunities to “woo” were dwindling.
Thankfully, Skyler Stone, mastermind behind Comedy Central’s short-lived Con, rescued Dunnigan’s bombing set. Stone valiantly won the crowd back, asking us questions that would put comic and audience on common ground: “Have you guys ever had ecstasy? I had it once – 42 times!”
Stone announced to a flurry of exultations. A girl in a leopard-print dress “woo”d vigorously. “Do you guys want to see my Vince Vaughn impersonation?!” Stone asked, to which that same girl, blue glitter streaking down her face, affirmed that she would in fact like to see this impersonation, especially because she was fond of Vaughn’s acting abilities. Or, in so many words, “Dude! I love him!” Stone then belittled the girl’s drunken pronouncement, and repeated her slurred words several times until the audience laughed along with him.
Since Stone had sufficiently “pumped up” the crowd, K-von gleefully announced the next comic, Chris Porter, who strongly resembles UC Irvine alum Jon Lovitz (except perhaps more red in the face). Porter channeled the angry righteousness of Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks, except his social commentary wasn’t directed at “the man,” but rather, at the larger looming problem of “douchebags.”
He was full of insightful comments that combined pop culture allusions with the frustrations of the everyday man; at one point, he boasted: “If pussy was a currency I’d be Donald Trump.” Apparently, Porter would also have to file bankruptcy, since he, like Trump, would have all of his “currency” in stocks, bonds and property.
In all sincerity, the most impressive comic of the night was Theo Von; while he delivered an all-too-similar series of midget jokes, racial insults and more “douchebag” commentary, he did not need to prance about like a monkey on crack for our approval.
Instead, Von took the low-key delivery of Dunnigan, injecting it with a healthy amount of confidence, careful not to spill over into arrogance like Stone. It’s hard to believe a man who calls out a table in the front row as “full of douches” if it seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black, yet when Von made similar proclamations, it was easier to side with him, since he seemed in every way like a long-lost best friend.
K-von then brought out the headliner, Adam Richmond, to round out the night. Richmond was perhaps the schlubbiest guy yet: His red protruding eyes stared blearily at us from a pallid face; his body hung limp on the stage, as if his spine was replaced with a coat hanger.
Richmond professed an affinity for “ass” over “tits,” then proceeded to explain the different reactions men have to well-endowed women. He transitioned into an amusing anecdote about being too drunk to attempt having sex with one of the aforesaid well-endowed women. All of this was speckled with heckles, from and (mostly) to the audience; since the heckling had been going on all night, it naturally became stale after nearly three hours.
Richmond’s set was in the same vein as the previous comics, but less manic, less random, which paralleled the well-soused audience, tired and shifting in their seats well after midnight. The bros in front of me, who had hooted and hollered throughout the first four sets, became contemplative.
The ladies with teased hair and skin-tight dresses who accompanied them became restless, stumbling down the aisles in platform heels, which led to more heckling. The only people who were still running at full power were the two women behind me, whose braying laughs had created an annoying stereo effect throughout the night.
It must be said that these comedians weren’t entirely awful. Von’s southern charm was reminiscent of Mitch Hedburg at his most obscene, and Richmond had some of Von’s laid-back-yet-confident style. Porter, who was obnoxious and sometimes repetitive, had enough self-loathing to balance him out; even Stone, who emanates arrogance, had a few scant moments of groundedness.
All told, I must admit that the “College Juice Comedy Night” was a lot less disastrous than I had anticipated. Nonetheless, it might be wise to hold off for a more enjoyable night, like the Patton Oswalt show the Improv had in December. Unless, that is, you really, really want to hear exactly how hot the girls are in Orange County – especially when there’s lots of alcohol. Am I right, ladies?