By Jake Baum
For the Mitzpeh
On Thursday night, Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones had everyone in The Stamp Grand Ballroom laughing with her crazy, loud and hilariously-disjointed brand of humor. At the beginning of her show, she made sure to explain to the audience that it would be “nothing like SNL” – which made it that much better.
After noting how strange it was to be on a college campus (because she had never been a student on one), she yelled that we as students were all just too stressed, and made it her mission to make us have fun.
She explained when she was our age, she frequented parties in Beverly Hills, sharing a few stories from the parties she had attended. At one party, in an attempt to impress Prince, she danced with so much force that she accidentally “flung her weave across the room,” showing that she had always been crazy and hilarious, even back then.
Jones even made the Student Entertainment Events staff laugh. She danced on a security guard as the guard tried desperately to keep a straight face. When she realized that the ASL interpreter had unique and entertaining motions for all of her profanity, she began to whisper inappropriate words in the interpreter’s ear, desperate to learn the ASL translations of her worst words and intent on making the few deaf students in the room laugh as well.
Suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to act as a matchmaker to help us “de-stress,” Jones jumped into the audience. She began to play with various students’ hair, make small talk with audience members and distract herself with the details of everyone she came across. She took a few minutes to ask some audience members about their relationship statuses, trying to find a perfect match to fulfill her quest.
When she got bored of playing matchmaker, Jones moved on to asking about audience members’ backstories, even creating her own. In her trek through the audience, she had a laugh about the several people she met and signed an autograph mid-show. She even hid behind the lighting technician because the light was “too hot” and she was “too small” to be “moving that thing around.”
While some might say that taking time from the show to make fun of audience members could be seen as insensitive, I think it made the show more exciting and helped Jones accomplish her goal from the outset of the show.
In her monologue, Jones screamed several times that students needed to “have some fun” again. The lighthearted banter she had with the audience was not insensitive, but necessary for the audience to relax and get more comfortable with being as ridiculous as she was. The audience had to be open enough to play along. Jone’s spontaneous yelling, profanity, and hilarious stories and banter with the audience helped them get there.
We came into the show strung up and anxious, but we left loose, relaxed, and highly-entertained – all thanks to Leslie Jones.
Jake is a senior international business major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.