Students were treated to a night of in-house comedy on Saturday when Saturday Night Live cast members Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon performed at NYU’s Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life.
The event, organized by the NYU Program Board, featured 45-minute stand-up routines from both comics and an opening set by comic Nick Vatterott.
Meghna Rao, chair of the Program Board’s Lectures Committee, said booking the two SNL stars was a matter of contacting their agents.
“We knew Vanessa and Kate were available to do stand-up performances,” Rao said. “Most people have never experienced their work outside of SNL and other sketch comedy environments, so this seemed like a great opportunity.”
Tisch freshman Cullen Kuch said he enjoyed the chance to see the two performers in a different light.
“Kate was definitely a little raunchier than you ever see her on SNL, but it was great to see a different side of her,” Kuch said. “Vanessa was more similar to her SNL characters, and she even did a few impressions from the show, like her hilarious Miley Cyrus one.”
The subject matter of the two comics’ sets ran the gamut, covering topics from online dating and family dinners to the intricacies of the menstrual cycle and imaginary dates with the cast of “Friends.” They also, of course, discussed college.
“Being a communications major was great,” Bayer said during her set. “Because you didn’t really have to do much of anything.”
Bayer said she began her comedy career in college when she joined the all-female sketch group “Bloomers” at the University of Pennsylvania. Likewise, McKinnon spent her time at Columbia University, studying theater and performance.
“I ended up having a 10-minute conversation with an attractive guy in the hallway of my dorm while holding a piece of my own poop,” McKinnon said.
The show was held in GCASL’s C95 performance space, a venue with seats on risers that put the audience high above the performer, which is unusual for a stand-up show.
Tisch freshman Diane Kang said the arrangement made her initially skeptical.
“I think the show was mildly awkward because of the staging, but the comics used it in their favor to punctuate a lot of their jokes,” Kang said.
LSP sophomore Frank Costa said he was not fazed by the unusual location.
“I think both Kate and Vanessa have a natural charm when it comes to comedy,” Costa said. “They can feel the vibe of a room and base their routine around that.”
That well-handled awkward humor was especially prevalent near the end of Bayer’s set when McKinnon joined her on stage and invited a young couple from the audience for some motherly relationship counseling.
“So, uh, at one point, when, uh, was there a, you know, was there a feel?” McKinnon said while interrogating the pair on their recent movie night.
Kang said she hopes to see more comedy events in the future.
“I would like to see Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, who are all NYU alumni,” Kang said.
Rao also said Program Board would consider more comedy events.
“The response to this event has been really positive so far, and if people want more things like this, I am all for it,” Rao said.
Billy Richling is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.
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