As Jerry Seinfeld once said, the average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy. It is well- documented that many people fear public speaking and performing more than death itself, and rightfully so at any public spectacle, especially at the amateur level, the entire audience is quietly (or as was the case at Mr. U of R last Friday night, not so quietly) judging and critiquing.

Clearly, that aphorism doesn’t apply to the 12 shameless contestants at Mr. U of R either that or they drank away their fears before the show, I’m not sure which. Despite the dubious sobriety of the contestants, Mr. U of R made for a mutually embarrassing but very entertaining night.

The event, which was held this year in Hubbell Auditorium, is hosted annually by Sigma Delta Tau sorority, with all benefits going toward the charity, Prevent Child Abuse America.

The MCs were senior Meggie Hickey and junior and SDT Philanthropy Chair Johanna Fischer, neither of whom seemed entirely comfortable being serenaded by guys in Speedos throughout the night. They bravely steered the course through the three sections of the evening the introduction, where each contestant showed off his ‘evening wear,” a bathing suit competition and, of course, the talent portion.

Most of the contestants had a variation of the too-tight or too-feminine swimsuit, which they showed off by dancing suggestively or flat-out erotically. Senior Mustafa Rehmani added a bit of flair by shaving a member into his chest hair, which no one quite understood until he meekly explained, ‘I shaved a penis onto my chest.”

Junior Jake Gardner eschewed the feminine look with a Speedo, sweater and sailor’s cap ‘because a sailor always wears a sweater.” Senior Rohan Naik emerged from the back room in full Starbucks garb and handed out free Starbucks drinks to the judges, none of whom needed any more stimuli. As far as originality, nothing beat junior Josh Cohen’s onesie, with its neon dinosaur design that only added to his extended booty dance.

In the talent portion, sophomore JJ Gonzalez put on probably the best performance of the night with ‘Scenes from a popular 2004 film.” It is said that, in Shakespeare’s time, all female roles were played by men, and JJ proudly continued this tradition with a pretty decent rendition of Lindsay Lohan’s career-making dance to ‘Jingle Bell Rock” in the movie ‘Mean Girls.” When the song inevitably stopped short like it does in the movie, the entire audience recreated the movie and sang along.

Some of the contestants’ talent portions were surprisingly poignant. Junior Ian Auger left the audience speechless with a stirring solo viola performance – sans pants, of course. Naik went all out with an a cappella love song that might have gone on a little too long but was impressive nonetheless. Also, senior Elliot Dolby-Shields’ ‘A Whole New World” lent a whole new meaning to brotherly love when he brought down his fraternity brother to sing the part of Jasmine.

Junior Josh Lipman and Cohen both tried their hands at stand-up, with surprisingly good jokes about caribou and Bulgarians. Undoubtedly, the dud of the night was ambitious freshman David Levy’s multipart sketch- comedy routine outlining methods to prevent ‘Bro-Rape.” Dave, wait until you join a fraternity to make jokes about Lacoste shirts and Natty Light at least then you’ll have brothers to pretend that they’re funny.

After a short intermission and a performance by the Ballet Performance Group, the judges, who were comprised of the presidents of all the sororities, announced the finalists Lipman, Gonzalez, Rehmani, Auger, Dolby-Shields, Gardner and senior Mike Furlani. The night’s ultimate winner was Gonzalez, with Gardner and Auger taking second and third, respectively.

According to Fischer, the event grossed about $1,400, with nearly 300 people in attendance, making it much more popular than in recent years. Mr. U of R once again captured audience members’ attention, if not their hearts, and is most definitely an event to look forward to next year.

Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.

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