Times New Roman mixes absurd, geeky stand-up humor

Times New Roman mixes absurd, geeky stand-up humor

By Kwame Korkor

Beneath the brightly colored lights on the afterHOURS stage Thursday night, several Times New Roman members showcased their talent through the art of stand-up.

The show, “TNR Stands Up,” was held to promote the Times New Roman newspaper and to recruit new writers. The night’s proceedings featured five performers from last February’s show, joined by four newcomers.

Emceed by ’06 alumnus Nate Larson, each comedian was given seven to 10 minutes to impress the crowd.

Times New Roman’s King, Steve Stites, a senior criminal justice and history double major, and sophomore undecided major Sean P. O’Reilly headlined the event. Stites showcased a rapid-fire one-liner style, and wowed the crowd with his “geek humor.”

O’Reilly seemed the most comfortable onstage, presumably because he had performed two stand-up acts before and had the most experience out of the group. He went with a concise self-deprecating style much like the late Rodney Dangerfield.

Freshman journalism major Tory Kilcoyne understood this brand of comedy was a difficult act to pull off.

“It’s a tough thing to do, and I think having a place like afterHOURS is important for that,” he said.

Sophomore communications major Sam Soloman, who lent her talent earlier last week at the NU ‘ Improv’d sketch comedy show, performed briefly after Larson’s opening.

Her performance mixed high- brow humor with the careers of ninjas. Soloman said she was nervous because she had little time to prepare, but still felt she performed well.

About half of the night’s performers were first-timers to stand-up comedy. However, freshman international affairs major Lauren Padgett thought each act shined, despite the neophytes.

“I think it showed that everyone onstage had at least one great moment. I’m interested in performing myself now,” she said.

After each person’s routine, Larson returned to playfully introduce the next comic. He used a running joke of forgetting what he wanted to say to weave throughout the night’s routines. A particularly interesting joke involved his disdain for the sound of wind chimes, resulting in his fictional account of killing the chimes’ owner.

The fifth routine onstage was middler music industry major James Whelan. A first-time performer, Whelan focused on lewd jokes about hangovers and “bringing sexy back.”

The audience particularly responded to his use of profanity and “yah-dude” persona.

“I kind of replaced saying ‘umm’ with cursing instead,” he said after his performance.

Following Whelan was Steven Brachmann, a sophomore journalism major. Brachmann attributed growing up in Buffalo, New York, as his main influence in crafting his routine.

“Buffalo inspires the act,” he said.

With jokes about NFL football teams and going to college parties, Brachmann got a good crowd response.

The crowd gave a warm reception to senior graphic design major Tim Jacques’ act, which was reminiscent of Stewart from Mad TV ‘ Napoleon Dynamite. Jacques was inspired by funny situations, and incorporated them into his childlike stage character’s way of telling comical stories.

He said his act started out as a way to insult people, but they found humor in it.

Freshman international affairs major Karole Fristensky said she enjoyed the informal environment around the performers.

“It didn’t seem like there was a lot of pressure on the comedians; everybody was there to have a good time,” she said.

Whelan said he was pleased with both this year’s showing and also the quality of the material the troupe used throughout the night.

“This year’s show was much better than last year’s,” he said. “I think Sean [O’Reilly] really stepped up in terms of planning.”

The Times New Roman plans to hold a second event later this year on January 13th, to premiere in their new, glossy magazine format.

“We’re just going to keep on promoting it and hope we pack the place.” Whelan said.

Afterward, the Northeastern metal band Bonehogg played a short set reminiscent of ’70s rock ‘n’ roll giants The Rolling Stones. They also covered a song by the band’s alter-ego, the Cassavettes.

Overall, Whelan said this type of comedy always elicits a good audience reaction.

“From the responses I got, the show went very well,” he said. “I mean, you can’t have a bad time with stand-up.”

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