REVIEW — There was a full house at Cholmondeley’s Coffee House last Wednesday night for WBRS’ Fresh Comedy Night. The host — Josh Day, a man with more hair than head — opened with a painfully unoriginal joke about not having a joke and followed it with a lowbrow pun. After several more minutes of awkward comedy and uncomfortable laughter, Day introduced Jiayong Li. Originally from Beijing, Li took up comedy five years ago to force himself to “go outside and talk to people.” Despite his apparent discomfort speaking in front of a crowd, Li’s deadpan style and impressive timing generated the first genuine laughs of the evening. His material centered on his experience acclimating to American culture as a Chinese immigrant, and the audience was surprisingly receptive. It is also possible, however, that the Brandeisian crowd was won over by Li’s harsh critique of white liberals. Regardless of the reason, Jiayong Li’s stand-up was thoroughly enjoyable and undeniably funny.  

The next act featured comedienne Emily Ruskowski.  Her set was solid, though she spoke almost exclusively about the HGTV “Tiny House” franchise.  Despite her unconventional choice of set material, Ruskowski’s energy provided a refreshing change of pace. 

The headliner, Corey Rodrigues, followed Ruskowski after another disappointingly punny introduction by Day. 

Rodrigues hopped onstage and dove into a series of anecdotes, arriving at an uncomfortable description of an interview with a student newspaper regarding the production and cancellation of “Buyer Beware.” 

Most of his act ultimately focused on awkward roommate situations and other difficulties of college dorm life.  He called on several members of the audience and even invited some students onstage to tell a story.  

The last part of his set, in his own words, “turned into a TED talk.”  Drawing on insights from his life, Rodrigues offered genuine advice geared toward university students looking to enter the workforce after graduation: The first two years of a four year degree are for “fun” (although “fun doesn’t mean fail”) and the last two years should be spent planning for life after college. In retrospect, the latter part of his act seemed a bit like an after-school special. Still, it was honest and practical advice delivered with a great deal of humor.    

Overall, Fresh Comedy Night was entertaining and fun, leaving everyone with a smile.  It is likely, however, that those smiles would have been laughs had the host not wrapped up while saying “Hey — that’s the end of the show.”

 That’s almost as bad as ending a review with: “Hey — that’s the end of the review.”