Live from Brandeis University, it’s Colin Jost!
Review — On Friday night, comedian Colin Jost traded his seat behind “Saturday Night Live’s” “Weekend Update” desk for the main stage of the Spingold Theater Center as part of the University’s annual family weekend.
Comedian Mike Recine, previously seen on “Conan” and various Comedy Central shows, performed before Jost. Recine told mostly sex jokes, going so far as to reference bestiality with dogs several times. At one point, Recine joked that a father’s death would be far less tragic than a mother’s death, saying, “Moms are just special, and you can get a new dad any day.” The father in front of me sat completely stiff and seemed to be shocked, which mirrored the audience’s reaction for most of Recine’s set.
Throughout Recine’s set, audience members around me cringed; I heard whispers of “When will this guy go away?” and similar sentiments. Recine said, “I bet you all are wondering why you pay tuition to have your kids see me.” The audience was wondering exactly that, as Recine failed to give us our money’s worth with his cringeworthy and awkward set.
For his set, Jost took a different approach. He mostly joked about his college life and some interesting life experiences. His jokes were sometimes a bit edgy, but he came off as lighthearted, as opposed to barking at the audience like Recine had. Jost did not seem to be going for shock value, but rather for relating to his majority college-age audience. His openness about his life experiences made me feel that I could relate to him and that I was in a more intimate setting than a large auditorium.
Jost began with a “fun facts about Brandeis” segment — Brandeis being ranked 34th in U.S. News & World Report and having seven buildings named Shapiro were among the facts he mentioned.
He then talked about his college experience, including a bit about his two gay roommates and “the pressure” he felt to come out. Jost joked about his unbalanced sleep schedule and his roommates’ failure to stay quiet when he was sleeping.
Another segment was about the consequences of recreational drug use. Jost told stories of his own experiences, including believing that a girl had poisoned him with PCP-laced marijuana.
During that incident, Jost called his parents in a stupor; they drove an hour to his apartment and gave the girl a lecture about the dangers of drugs. Jost also told of a time he got high and bought a whole roasted chicken at a bodega for a late-night snack.
One of his stories the audience and I thought was especially hilarious was about accidentally walking in on a lesbian couple in a hotel. Jost had switched hotel rooms and was told that the staff would move his bag. However, when he went to the front desk to retrieve the bag, they did not have it. The concierge gave him the key to his old hotel room and claimed that no one was there.
When Jost got to the hotel room, he was surprised to walk in on the couple having sex, and looked around his old room in shock for his bag. Failing to find the bag, he went back to the front desk, only for them to discover that the bag had been there the entire time.
While Jost mostly joked about his life experiences, he did not forsake his regular “Weekend Update” character. Jost aimed several barbs at President Trump, covering subjects ranging from the crisis in Puerto Rico to his ever-loyal supporters and their beliefs. During his tirade against Trump, he quipped that Trump’s supporters cannot comprehend their white privilege.
In one anecdote, he described an outing on a boat with a Miami club owner. The man decried affirmative action as the reason for his son’s rejection from a college. Turning to the audience in disbelief, Jost said, “If he couldn’t get into that school, he’s just getting started,” jokingly referencing the censored Black Eyed Peas song “Let’s Get Retarded.”
In the last part of the show, Jost gave the audience a treat by listing several sketches he had proposed which never made it onto SNL, including a game show set inside of CVS pharmacy called “Who Works Here?” and a parody of the musical “Newsies” called “Fox Newsies.”