Laughter filled the Student Union’s multipurpose room as comedian Lee Camp took the stage to perform for students as part of the Activities Planning Board’s Welcome Week events.
Camp, a liberal comedian and activist, is best known for his stand-up comedy, in addition to providing comedic commentary on Comedy Central, SpikeTV, MTV, E! Network, PBS and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The Virginia-born funny man tailored his regular arsenal of opinionated comedy for his college audience Aug. 26. Gay marriage, managed news, poor economy, the BP oil spill and our nation’s questionable love for Ritalin were some of the issues Camp incorporated into his routine with fast, hard-hitting and witty humor.
“The other day my friend called and said, ‘Dude, I’m having a baby. It’s due in seven months.’ And I was like, ‘Dude, I’m having a hot pocket. It’s due in seven minutes,” Camp joked.
With a routine that blended humor and thought-provoking satire, Camp’s routine included a number of jokes that echoed issues college students are likely to encounter. The now almost obligatory comedic jabs at the Snuggie and Ramen noodles were included alongside his more original take on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“Ritalin took away all the cool kids,” Camp said. “We’ve pumped our kids with it so much that they can’t talk to humans anymore but, hey! They can do math while someone is punching them in the face.”
Camp employed a small notebook from his back pocket during intervals from one topic to the next. The one-liners from his notebook stood independent in context from his larger, opinion-charged segments. With a combination of skill that the audience greatly appreciated, Camp’s offbeat jokes were as well timed as they were surprising in content.
“I blame people over their 50s for the economy,” Camp said. “It’s like a bad bag of trail mix – they ate the peanuts and the M&M’s and left us with raisins.”
Audience engagement made up a significant part of Camp’s routine. The sound of a particular audience member’s laugh, which Camp jokingly said sounded like she had “swallowed a whistle,” became an unexpected topic in Camp’s stand-up. The cheers and the laughs from the audience doubled when a second girl in the audience began to make squeaky laughs. Camp joked that the former audience member was attracting squirrels to campus.
The side-splitting laughs and jaw-dropping reactions of the crowd opened plenty of opportunities for the comedian to improvise his routine. And the audience was more than willing to follow into whatever territory his humor traveled – save for a Power Rangers joke.
“I see how it is,” Camp laughed, “I can make a joke about the oil spill, but the Power Rangers is where this audience draws the line.”
The event, which brought together students of all academic years, continued APB’s record-breaking week in attendance for Welcome Week events.
The one-hour performance also marked Camp’s return to college stages after a four-month break, his longest break in six years of campus tours.
“These events are important because it promotes the NKU spirit,” said Christin Stoops, social studies secondary education major.
Camp hopes to visit 30 campuses over the course of the remaining year and, while he says the task is not as daunting as his usual aim of 100, he’ll be working hard to keep his jokes funny as well as relevant to national issues.
Story by Zach Grady