By Samantha Brandbergh
“Can I take a picture of your feet?” comedian Todd Barry asked a student sitting in the second row at his show on Feb. 13. “This is something amazing I’ve never seen before. This woman turned one of the empty chairs around so she could really put her feet up.” The flash of his camera went off as he declared he would be posting the picture to Instagram once he went off stage.
The Cavalla Room was filled with chairs, and although only about a third of the spacious room was occupied by students and comedy fans, laughter made up for the empty space.
The night began with a short set by comedian, writer, artist and America’s Got Talent season-five contestant Doogie Horner, who warmed up the crowd with semi-vulgar jokes comparing marriage to a boring breakfast food and being single to an “all-you-can-eat-sex buffet.”
“I remember being single. I didn’t go out to eat very often, let me tell you,” he said to the audience. “I made my own dinner and it was a sad little affair. Sometimes I just microwaved a burrito — if you know what I mean. Being married isn’t like eating oatmeal every day, it’s like eating oatmeal every couple weeks and that’s fine. It’s OK, put a little brown sugar on it — if you know what I mean.”
Horner also gave the audience some advice on small talk by detailing a situation at a party, where he told a joke about the difference between jelly and jam as an icebreaker.
Once Barry took the stage, he quickly made light of the small audience. “I’m not the hottest comic on the planet, clearly,” he said. “I can’t even sell out a free show in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.”
Barry had a somewhat sleepy tone to his voice, with each word leaving his mouth at the speed of molasses. He kept the audience on their toes the whole night, however, taking jabs at members in the front row and the university itself.
“What could possibly be going on outside?” he asked after loud noises were heard in the Bart Luedeke Center lobby. “Freaking out by the information booth? Why is there an information desk at this place? This building is closed, basically… You can’t go back to New York and tell jokes about Rider University’s information desk, those are custom written for you people.”
Barry engaged in casual banter with various students, including trying to make sense of one student’s comment about not liking “grainy” food. “Okay, so you don’t eat sand or anything? I just eat buckets of air every day, unless it’s grainy air,” he joked.
Tailoring his material not only to college students, but to students at Rider, made his set all the more fun and relatable. He took multiple digs at one student in particular, a popular music studies major.
“Do you like popular music? Do you wanna write papers about it all day and then leave with no job opportunities?” He added, “I’m being sarcastic, making fun of you,” for assurance.
Although Barry’s delivery might have seemed bland to some, his humorous set showed that deadpan comedy can easily relieve college stresses, even if it’s just for an hour.
“You know, I saw that poster for Todd Barry coming to Rider, I never thought it would happen,” Barry whispered. “Boy, did he give us a good show — this is you guys talking — boy, was he amazing — that was you talking.”
Printed in the 2/17/16 edition