GINNY LEISE| STAFF WRITER
Wednesday night in the Raptor Roost, five young men stood around discussing penises, abortion clinics, loneliness and more penises. Who were these uncouth ruffians, you wonder, and why were their testicular musings being amplified through the student center? They were Rutgers University employees for the night, brought to R-C by the Campus Activities Board and Residence Life, and paid for sharing their penis thoughts with the hard earned tax dollars of New Jersey residents. Oh, the glorious ironies of the life of a stand-up comedian.
The Philly Comes to Camden Comedy Show featured five of Philadelphia’s most promising up and coming stand-up comedians. Host Alex Grubarb, whose last name may or may not rhyme with rhubarb (there are some facts even the most sophisticated methods of journalism cannot uncover), kicked off the show.
Initially, I was concerned with the event set up; namely, the lights. The lights in the Raptor Roost are of the unforgiving fluorescent variety and stayed on throughout the show. With the limited experience I have doing stand-up comedy, I’ve learned that obscuring the performer’s view of the audience is for the best. In the dark, you can just imagine you’re performing to an empty abyss instead of a possibly hostile, or even worse, apathetic crowd. Fortunately, the guys, although being around college aged themselves, were complete professionals and proceeded undaunted by the brightness.
Perhaps even more importantly, the packed crowd gave up their laughs readily. “I would love to do a college tour because these audiences are right at my maturity level,” Alex said fondly after the show.
Two University of Pennsylvania students came next. First came Noah Goldstein who got among the biggest laughs of night with his acerbic, measured one liners. “I bought no tears shampoo so I would stop crying in the shower, but I realized that only works if it’s the shampoo that’s making you cry.”
Next, David Ray Agyekum, a finalist in this year’s Philly’s Phunniest Person Contest, killed as well with his nerdy black kid with an acid tongue stage persona.
When Joey Dougherty stepped onto the stage, the first thing I thought was RON WEASLEY, so when he acknowledged the resemblance two thirds of the way through his set I had to fight the urge to cheer. A fellow audience member actually shushed me when I cracked up at one of Joey’s set ups. “If an abortion clinic was haunted…” clearly everyone else was eagerly awaiting the punch line, “it would be adorable.” Alright, I’m pretty sure I’m messing that line up because I was laughing too hard to take notes. But it was great; you’ll just have to believe me. Like the guys who went before him, Joey has mastered the art of the one liner. Behold this gem: “Telling me to be confident is like telling a homeless person to have money.”
Headliner Dave Terruso, who I was surprised to learn has only being doing stand-up for two years, changed the tone of the show during the last set. Whereas his partners in crime delivered one hilarious set up punch after another, Dave took his time, building stories and characters. His eight year background in acting, sketch and improv is readily apparent on stage. A gifted storyteller and impressionist, Dave burst with energy. His best bit was about how he wishes he had lived in the dorms during college instead of living at home with his parents. The weekends just are not comparable, while he was watching Se7en on TNT with mom and dad, his average looking friends were… well he evoked an image of two squirrels chasing each other up and down a tree in reference to something mentioned three times in the first paragraph of this article.
Overall, the show was a massive success. The audience was thoroughly entertained, leaving the comedians happy to recall some less gratifying performances afterwards. Joey Dougherty once opened for a metal band in a pizza place for a crowd who thought he was a waiter. Likewise, Dave Terruso once performed sketch comedy in restaurant where 60% of the diners carried on conversations the entire time. Experiences like that teach a comic that there is nothing more important than an excited, attentive crowd. “We were more of a draw than the snacks tonight,” quipped Dave, “so we were all pretty happy about that.”