Any good comedian knows how to make light of a sticky situation. Foreheads dripping with sweat and slightly out of breath, Rory Albanese and Al Madrigal of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” were able to get a packed Strong Auditorium laughing long enough to forget the less-than-ideal levels of heat and humidity Rochester experienced last Saturday night.
Rory Albanese, Emmy-winning executive producer and writer for “The Daily Show,” entered the stage, eager to share all of his worldly advice — and then some — to a younger audience. Not only has he formulated a simple three-step guide to end the war in the Middle East, but he also knows how to have the most fulfilling college experience before entering the “real world.” But first, he did what any tasteful comedian would do when visiting a college: insult the school mascot.
“I’m afraid if you guys clap too hard you might kill your mascot. A yellowjacket? Really?” he said.
Luckily, the audience was clearly full of good sports, as his beginning remarks induced heavy laughter and applause. He went on to reform his opinion of the University. After chastising the infamously brutal winter, underground tunnel system and idolized a cappella groups, he recognized what all UR students secretly hoped someone eventually would.
“It’s inherently badass to go to school here,” he said.
Albanese continued his set with the discussion of a few serious topics, including gay rights, political involvement, and heartfelt advice for students to enjoy a carefree lifestyle, for which he definitely seemed a bit nostalgic.
“If the best four years of your life are spent under 14 feet of snow in tunnels four feet underground, well, something went fucking wrong somewhere,” he said.
He advised us that college may not be the best four years of our lives, but we should still appreciate that we are able to decide what to believe in and how to manage our time. He urged the audience to enter the “real world” with the same “fresh ideas and open minds” we are fortunately able to exercise now, and to travel — if at all possible — before getting a job.
Many students responded well to Albanese’s high level of energy and relevant topics.
“I really enjoyed Rory Albanese because he was excited about talking to a group of college kids and knew what to say to us,” sophomore Caitlyn Childress said.
Albanese then beckoned the newest Latino Correspondent of “The Daily Show,” Al Madrigal, to the stage, who was welcomed by thunderous applause. He immediately assumed an air entirely different from that of his predecessor. Contrary to Albanese’s energetic and confident style of stand up, Madrigal oozed calmness and authenticity. He immediately warned the audience that the show would soon become a sweaty wet t-shirt contest — although he didn’t seem too bothered by that — and proceeded to clue us in on the happenings of the Madrigal household.
His jokes primarily focused on his wife and two children, making light of the calamity that is sure to ensue when starting a family.
An audience favorite involved Madrigal’s quest to choose the most qualified Mexican laborer from a slew of Home Depot employees, in which Madrigal openly yet tastefully mocked his own Latino roots.
He also joked about his college cleaning lady, Lionesa, and the catastrophic yet hilarious story in which his roommate accidentally gave the devout Christian woman psychedelic mushrooms.
As for advice, Madrigal didn’t quite follow suit in the same sense as Albanese.
“Uh, ladies, don’t breastfeed. Just don’t… yeah, that’s my advice,” he said.
Madrigal also had some choice words to say about which drugs to take.
“Don’t do drugs, it’s a waste of time and money,” Madrigal said. “I mean, pot is okay and coke — everybody does a little coke, and if you’re going to do coke, you should try X…”
Evidently, Madrigal was much more concerned with laughs than relaying any serious sentiments of wisdom, which some students seemed to appreciate.
“I loved that all of Madrigal’s material was organic and personal,” sophomore Jonathan LoTempio said. “He was a true stand-up comedian in the sense that all of material was a piece of himself.”
When it was time for Madrigal to wrap up his set, the show wasn’t quite over. An intimate question and answer session followed, during which students could ask anything of the television personalities. Albanese and Madrigal were happy to answer questions about the writing and filming process, a typical day on the set, the political orientation — or lack thereof — of “The Daily Show,” and how to become involved in television.
“If you aren’t meant to be pushing paper and in a cubicle, then don’t do that. You will be miserable for a very long time,” Albanese said, leaving the audience with resonating advice. He encouraged each audience member to only settle for doing something they love.
Audience members left the auditorium eager to cool off and reclaim personal space but also newly equipped with an evening of laughter and a good amount of wholesome advice under their belts.
Kullman is a member of the class of 2014.