It may have been confusing to attendants of last night’s Winterfest performance, “An Evening with Pete Davidson,” that it wasn’t stand-up. But the Q&A session with Davidson hosted by sophomore Nick Jiang and junior Falisha Hola that ensued was hilarious enough… for everyone except Davidson himself.
I did question before the show why the Student Programming Board and WSCA were not more honest about what the performance would be. The thought of UR undergraduate students being treated with kid gloves crossed my mind once or twice before the performance. But in hindsight, I wholeheartedly agree with the decision to have a moderated Q&A performance, because the behavior of audience members was downright appalling.
If Pete Davidson’s mention of how he doesn’t do stand-up college shows at last night’s Winterfest performance didn’t clue the UR community into the upcoming event, there is a continuing discussion in the comedy business about booking college shows — and how comedians are steering clear of them. College shows can be a minefield for comedians.
Pete Davidson handled the rowdy and disrespectful crowd with class, and his performance last night showed he’s in a masterclass of comedy. Davidson gave honest answers, pulling punchlines out of some thin questions offered by the moderators, and while he may have not had slept in two days, his raw talent made it a memorable and entertaining experience. Props to Jiang for getting into the groove after a bit of a rocky start and hanging in there til the end.
Davidson tried to treat the audience like adults by respectfully addressing his recent relationship with Kim Kardashian, letting audience members know that it was going great and he didn’t want to talk about it. But some members of the audience seemed to forget that they weren’t in kindergarten and bombarded him with calls of “Kanye” regardless. Some in the audience went even further and called out despicable questions such as “How is your Crohn’s Disease?” and “Do you have AIDS?”
Davidson addressed the behavior of the crowd, noting that he could leave if he wanted to, but wouldn’t let the actions of some ruin the experience for all. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he walked out — the UR students in the audience deserved it. Davidson is a human being who came to do his job; there is no explanation or excuse for how people acted last night. The same people who yelled out degrading statements and questions may be the same people who act terribly with their friends and justify it as being “quirky.”
UR proved last night why comedians can’t perform at colleges anymore. I am glad to have had the opportunity to see Davidson perform. I enjoyed all the quips and jokes and appreciated the experience. However, I hope the Student Programming Board or WSCA issues a statement about the behavior of audience members because I was not proud to be a Yellowjacket last night. Students shouldn’t expect to always be treated like adults if they aren’t going to always act like adults.