Three comedians made the Bryce Jordan Center roar with laughter and applause Monday night despite unfortunate weather conditions. “Saturday Night Live” regulars Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon, along with MTV’s “Pranked” host and SNL writer Streeter Seidell, brought high energy and a little touch of the weekly sketch show to Happy Valley, tailoring their jokes to the Penn State student crowd.
Seidell, who got his start with College Humor, opened the night with a joke about the fact that he should open a car dealership in State College because Penn State is the kind of place where “people love to burn a car when they win something.” He added that he also sold frat front porch couches, because people like to burn those, too.
After Seidell’s opening routine, McKinnon took the stage with enthusiasm, dousing herself and her oversized Penn State jersey with a water bottle in an apparent impersonation of a football player, after which she commented that ruining her makeup with the grand entrance was “fucking worth it!”
McKinnon too opened her routine with jokes aimed at both a general college and Penn State audience, echoing Seidell’s comment that State College is in the middle of nowhere, as well as offering a list of thesis topics she would write if she were to return to school. Her thesis jokes were accompanied by a powerpoint presentation, music, and an interpretive dance that had her rolling around on the stage floor.
In an apparent shining moment for a lucky fan, McKinnon invited a volunteer up to the stage, which she later revealed, unfortunately for the Sarah the Volunteer, was just a distraction so that McKinnon could grab her guitar from the back of the stage. The SNL star played two original ’90s era feminism soft punk rock songs during her set, one about an all-womens’ cotton farm (read: “Tampon Farm”), and the second about her “tiny dead friends,” a tale of all the pets she saw live and die as a child.
Bayer followed McKinnon, acknowledging her slightly awkward stage presence for the benefit of some of her jokes. After admitting early in the set that sex jokes were never her strong suit, Bayer did an impersonation of what it would be like if she tried to tell raunchy or inappropriate jokes. The hilarity that ensued included the comedian pretending to come up with ridiculous innuendos for common sex terms.
During her set, Bayer admitted she liked to perform standup because she could get a room of people to laugh, but also because she could get that same room to be completely silent, at which point she went on to tell jokes about her time in high school spent battling leukemia. After an initial lull during some of these anecdotes, the set picked back up as the crowed recognized that Bayer could laugh at herself, and the SNL comedian went on to finish her set with a perfect mockery of all six of the “Friends” crew.
Both McKinnon and Bayer delved into some of their “Saturday Night Live” repertoire, much to the joy of fans of the show. Bayer, showing an appreciation for her SNL fans and the State College community alike, performed her infamous impersonation of Miley Cyrus. The sketch drew the biggest applause from the crowd, in part because it is Bayer’s most well-known impersonation, but also because she believed Miley would “go to the Phyrst, and stuff like that, and get really drunk, and stuff like that.”
Even though their entire sets were not straight from an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” it was nonetheless enjoyable to see the famous characters from television in real life at the BJC. The jokes of both McKinnon and Bayer showed hints of their well-known recurring characters while suiting their natural humor perfectly.
All in all, the crowd was laughing for most of the three comedians’ acts, and fortunately there were no jokes that struck a bad chord with the Penn State community.