Saturday Night Live star Vanessa Bayer and local Minneapolis comedian Brandi Brown brought hundreds to Ted Mann Concert Hall for a two-hour comedy show Tuesday night. Organized by Student Unions and Activities, the free event was a part of homecoming week festivities.
After waiting patiently in long lines, students filed in to claim their seats about an hour before the show was set to begin. As Minnesota-native Brandi Brown took the stage, the entire ground floor of the auditorium was full.
“It’s homecoming! Happy homecoming everyone!” Brown said as she began.
She started off testing the waters with a few cat jokes and giggled at her own punch lines. The crowd found them hysterical.
“Alright, you guys are fun… that tells me what jokes I can tell later,” she said.
Brown's set often contrasted her identity as a black woman with Minnesota’s whiteness. She touched on Minnesota sports, Minnesotan culture and the superiority of Minneapolis to its neighbor, Saint Paul.
Brown received her first notable applause of the night at the expense of Trump supporters — classic — and she joked lightheartedly about race and depression, both of which drew big laughs. Her casual demeanor and clever content was relatable for the college audience.
With the crowd warmed up, Vanessa Bayer strutted on stage from behind the curtains. She received an overwhelming welcome from the star-struck audience and began her show by talking about her own college experience. Bayer shared that she studied “the history of bullshit” and “the Catholic church of majors,” or what is academically known as communication studies.
Bayer, who recently retired from the cast of SNL, came across as honest, comfortable and personable throughout the course of her performance. She even strayed from her material at times, or so she said, to share little facts about herself and things that bothered her — like when TV characters eat Chinese food out of the carton and don’t use plates. Whether it was part of the material or not, the crowd ate it up.
As a matter of fact, the audience seemed to find just about everything funny — including Bayer’s pauses, quirks and weaker jokes. Perhaps free comedy shows make everything funnier?
Once in a while, Bayer’s SNL voice would ring out, usually when she was doing impressions. Some of these included civil war reenactments, an impression of herself telling sex jokes because, “you guys are in college and you’re all into sex-stuff,” and SNL favorite, Miley Cyrus. If the phrase “Daddy Fleck” makes you cringe, just imagine it coming from Bayer’s mouth in Miley Cyrus’ voice.
Bayer ended the show with an elaborate “Friends” scenario, and let it be known, she really does sound exactly like Rachel.
Freshmen Carolyn Rima, a nursing major, and Olivia Anizor, a retail merchandising major, had a few thoughts after the show.
“I had never heard of Brandi,” Rima said. “She was funnier than I thought she was going to be.”
“Me too,” Anizor said. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be an amateur comedian,’ but no, she was funny. There was a big difference between their comedic styles, but I was still gasping for air.”
The two comedians complimented each other well, and together provided a wide variety of comedy and content.
“We’re big SNL fans,” said Claire Wilmesmeier, a freshman and medical laboratory sciences major. “I thought the material [Bayer] did was really engaging… it was cool to have someone from SNL here.”