Last Friday, students – and a few of their parents – gathered for Rooftop Comedy’s National College Comedy Competition, presented by TBS. Twenty students competed for the eight spots on the Stanford team, which will go on to compete against San Francisco State University in this national tournament of laughs.
The evening featured comedian host Samuel Bane, who warmed the crowd up with charming, self-deprecating humor about his Middle Eastern background, unwittingly setting the tone for an evening filled with racial humor. Bane was, in a way, the star of the evening – opening and closing the competition with a consistently hilarious routine.
As students took their turn at the microphone, in the strong spotlight of the crowd’s attention, the amateur comedians of Stanford started off on a series of routines with strangely persistent themes. Dating topped the list; all but two of the student competitors were male, and so the audience was privy to a slew of funny complaints and comments on the romantic scene at Stanford.
The generally funny, but – in a few cases – distasteful, routines about Stanford men and women were tempered by three other dominant themes of the night: racial stereotypes, the Middle East and gross bodily functions. Most comics were able to elicit laughter from the crowd, and many were truly great – although it’s worth noting that, by the end of the evening, the one family that had brought children to the show had long vacated the premises.
After the routines had finished and audience votes were being tallied, Bane took the stage again and summed up the evening in a single comment, “Well, it’s been a weird night.”