Performing live (and really killing it!) at Beloit College, Wisconsin.
Beloit College is a brainy but relaxed sort of place whose students, I'm told, are typically the kids of writers and teachers and such. I enjoyed many stimulating discussions during a weekend spent on Beloit's pastoral campus, located about a 90-minute drive northwest of Chicago, just over the Wisconsin border. The good people of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance cooked me dinner at their house (in case you're wondering, I have no dietary restrictions). A popular Beloit major is psychology, and so it's not surprising that people got me.
The show happened on a cold Friday evening at the end of January 2014. The spring semester was exactly two weeks old, which is a happy time; people have had a chance to get used to being in school again, and yet that idea does not yet feel old. Learning still seems a fine adventure.
The venue was a comfortable, well-heated theatre, with perfect lighting and sound. The crowd would be large and enthusiastic, and students asked good questions -- to which I gave good answers. Most important, I had remembered to turn on my camera!
Heckling is unknown at college shows -- because it's called "academic discourse." And while we're on the topic, as a former academic myself, I feel there's a fine line between discourse, and constantly asking, "Is this going to be on the midterm?" But seriously, folks, I'm happy to say that many interactive moments spiced the Beloit show, some of them published here.
For your convenience, the ten-minute video above is broken up into fun-sized pieces. The accompanying captions might give you, at a glance, an idea of my thematic range. This material was developed over the course of innumerable appearances at comedy clubs, small theatres, coffeehouses, cabarets, youth hostels, and wherever else stand-up comedy happens in New York City. While some of the stuff bears a flourish or two meant for collegiate audiences, it pretty much works anywhere.
Q & A is a fun part of any campus show, as indicated by "Awkward Question" (bottom left). This portion of the show comes after I have told most of my jokes, conveyed most of my message, and gotten most of my laughs. I can relax, riff, and maybe even rant. I am reminded of some of the best moments from my teaching days, when a student's question would spark interesting and unplanned discussion. Once, a student asked me how to use a semi-colon, and somehow I segued into a lecture on the various factors that triggered World War One.
What's your major?
Coming Out to Mom