By Stephanie Eng, News Staff
Northeastern students, faculty and guests laughed and gave Comedy Central’s Nick Swardson a round of applause every time he cracked a joke. Swardson returned to Northeastern Jan. 17 in Blackman Auditorium to do stand up after missing his scheduled Homecoming show with Sarah Silverman due to food poisoning.
Due to Swardson’s illness, Silverman performed last October and Swardson’s show was rescheduled. Those who attended the original show were offered free admission to Swardson’s show in advance.
Council for University Programs (CUP) President Brian Cantrell, a senior studying graphic design major said, “Tickets were available to people who attended previously to be fair to them, but there were also tickets for sale for the university and general public.”
Swardson took the stage with a string of profanity and sound effects. When referring to the cancelled show with Silverman, he joked, “Sarah is just filthy,” and said food poisoning, “is a blast. If you haven’t had it; get it.” His material spanned from the obligatory weather jokes — “I want to really challenge my genitals,” he quips on those brave souls who moved from California to Boston for college — to the idealization of Tom Brady – “He has the perfect life.” He mentioned Northeastern being a five year college, did some scarily accurate impressions of drunk girls, ranted about the heartlessness of cats and taught the audience a few ways to mess with waiters.
Swardson, an actor, screenwriter, producer and stand-up comedian, has appeared in movies such as “Just Go With It” and “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.” He also played Terry Bernadino in popular comedy Series “Reno 911!” He also worked with Adam Sandler on Happy Madison Productions, and has his own series on Comedy Central entitled “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time.”
“He’s not just an actor, he’s a comedian, and it’s great to see that range,” James Hussey, a middler history major who opened for Sarah Silverman at the Matthews Arena performance, said.
Because of Swardson’s prominence, the auditorium was packed and it was sold out. “I’m surprised we got such good seats,” said Trevyn Langsford, a freshman majoring in computer science and biology.
Swardson tested out some new jokes, too. “I really liked that he tried new stuff out on us. Usually it’s material they’ve done on YouTube before,” said Josh Plave, a senior business major. In the midst of a joke about interspecies love, in response to the audience’s obvious discomfort, Swardson retorted, “I’m not done yet; you can’t groan.” When asked if she was shocked by any of the content of the show, senior finance and supply chain major Megan Woodard said, “From him? No.”
When Swardson mentioned Minnesota, a few female audience members got unexpectedly excited, so he played off of it and heckled one of them to Annie Muske, a freshman studying Pharmacy, saying, “Did you know I’m from there?”
Muske responded, “Yeah, I did.”
Swardson then said, “Jesus,” and proceeded to make small talk with her. When she had a delayed response to one of his questions, he said, “She’s too involved with thinking of ways to kill me to respond properly.” Muske knew how to take a joke and was good-natured about the incident. “I’ve been following him for a while and was really looking forward to seeing him. So what just happened was pretty much the best experience of my life.” Audience members appreciated the give and take, which was unexpected and refreshing. “I liked how he interacted with the crowd,” said Matt Beam, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering.
The Student Alumni Association and the CUP work together each year to sponsor a Homecoming Comedian. “We do a lot of the major events, including Homecoming and Springfest, and we do a full range of events from smaller concerts in afterHours to the bigger comedians in Matthews Arena and Blackman Auditorium,” said Cantrell.
Amidst the sarcasm, lack of transitions, and facepalm-worthy anecdotes, Swardson managed to put on a thoroughly entertaining show. He wrapped up the night with, “Have a great five years, and good luck to the Patriots.”