Neil Padover, a senior at Tufts University, jokes about Judaism and his unthreatening name at the first-ever Harvard Stand-Up Comedy Society (HSUCS) show last Friday night in Science Center D.
If you were looking for sheer comedy last Friday night, the place to be wasn’t with Stephen Colbert or John Negroponte at the Institute of Politics, but in Science Center D.
Sure, Colbert is funny, and Negroponte can talk a lot without actually saying anything, but where else can you sit in a room full of revved up undergrads, chugging malt liquor out of 40 oz. bottles in brown bags and hearing jokes about why it’s not so great to have a large penis? The punchline to that particular gag, by the way, is too risqué to be printed here.
The event was Harvard’s “first annual stand up comedy show,” and it took place at 8 p.m. in the Science Center. It was organized by Harrison R. Greenbaum ’08 and David W. Ingber ’07, and sponsored by Wis.Dm, an online social networking device with headquarters in Kendall Square.
Greenbaum and Ingber, who are in the process of starting an official student group for stand up comedians, performed in the show along with a number of Harvard students and some students from Tufts and Northeastern Universities. The results, though initially awkward, ended in a rip-roaringly irreverent time for all.
THE SHOW BEGINS
Before the show even started, the audience was worked up.
Despite the “no food or drink” rule, alcoholic beverages in various containers seemed to be prevalent. After allowing some time for the crowd to work itself into a Bacchic fever pitch, the MCs of the event—Joshua M. Brener ’07 and Warland L. “Trey” Kollmer ’07—graced the stage.
The first act of the night was by far the strangest. “Benjamin Sweet”—the stage name of Northeastern senior Chris Brit—hooked a device up to an amplifier, a distortion pedal, and his finger, and began to strum his lips, dancing and pantomiming like a grungy David Lee Roth.
The crowd was bemused but not quite on board yet.
In between acts, Brener and Kollmer performed brief skits together, including a sketch involving a spit-take in which Kollmer was thoroughly doused, and a sketch involving a gross misunderstanding that featured Kollmer, pants around his ankles, hopping around with a penis pump and a roll of toilet paper.
The next few performers got mixed responses from the audience. Performers Matthew K. Grzecki ’10, Tyler E. Spindel ’07, and Daniel Millstein, a freshman from Tufts, however, couldn’t quite get the show off the ground.
Spindel is responsible for the above insight into big dicks, but his shock humor didn’t seem to appeal to everybody.
THE TIPPING POINT
It was when Tufts senior Neil Padover took the stage that the show really picked up momentum.
Padover’s smooth transitions and provocative material were reminiscent of Dane Cook, and everyone laughed when he explained how he cracked the code on Judaism: comparing the faith to “a party you didn’t get invited to.”
Ingber and Greenbaum followed Padover, and both delivered uproarious performances.
Ingber juxtaposed stand-up bits with songs on his guitar—one of which was a drinking game that bashed non-conformity and every well-known philosopher since Plato.
Some of the alcohol was gone by that point, but Bud Light Tall Boys and 40-oz. bottles of malt liquor were liberally slurped down every time the word “fuck” or “douchebag” was sung, as per the rules of the game.
Greenbaum performed equally well, telling the story of his first pet: a hedgehog that affectionately foamed at the mouth and died two months before he noticed. “Apparently, hedgehogs don’t hibernate in July,” he quipped.
The final act, Nathan J. Dern ’07, had a delivery not unlike Mitch Hedberg’s, and was a good finish to a thoroughly rousing night.
The show itself was one of the first of its kind on campus. Demon Magazine has previously hosted a comedy show during stand up weekend, and earlier this year, Ingber helped organize a Comedy Night in Winthrop House, but this was the first appearance of Ingber and Greenbaum’s new group: the Harvard Stand-Up Comedy Society (HSUCS). Say the acronym out loud and you’ll get a sense of the kind of wonderfully low-brow humor we can expect in their future outings. Hopefully this promising debut paved the way for continued success.