Three self-proclaimed nerds performed at Union South’s Varsity Hall Tuesday night and proved that the best way to be a successful comedian is to have an awkward childhood.
Mark Little hosted the event, which was called Comedy Central on Campus. Little, a Canadian with a goofy smile and a preppy gray pullover, was like the smiley, awkward John Mulaney, only dirtier. His shameless jokes could have been uncomfortable if not for how casually he delivered them — even though there was one family in the audience among the sea of college kids and their pitchers of beer.
What he did best, though, was make a slightly dark topic hilarious. He pointed out how people are always nostalgic about their favorite childhood toys, no matter how crappy those toys were. This is only because people are nostalgic about childhood in general and how nothing painful has happened yet, Little said.
“Remember Pogs?” he said. Pogs were literally just cardboard cards you turn over.
“My favorite part of Pogs was that I’d never been cheated on in the time I played with Pogs.”
Thomas Middleditch is another delightfully awkward comedian from Canada. He’s known for his starring role in HBO’s new comedy “Silicon Valley” and for playing Dwight’s brother, Jeb Shrute, on “The Office.” He brought the same kind of deadpan, silly humor to Varsity Hall. It was more like having a conversation with your brilliant, oddball friend than watching a professional comedian.
Some of the best parts of his performance were his impressions, which included “Dawson’s Creek” characters, an old sea captain named Crusty McBarnacle and his own angry British father talking about scrambled eggs.
“Keep them separate!” his father would yell when Middleditch wanted to mix ingredients. “The cheese goes ON THE SIDE of the eggs!”
“I made no claims that I wasn’t an awkward guy,” he said near the end of his routine. He then laughed awkwardly.
Emily Heller, from San Francisco, was the third act. Her comedian rap sheet includes an appearance on “Conan” and in the “Lazy Sunday” music video. She also relied on awkward moments for humor. A lot of people assume she was a nerd growing up, she said, but that’s just not true.
Why wasn’t she a nerd?
“Nerds have other nerds to play Dungeons and Dragons with,” Heller said.
She illustrated her dorkiness further by describing how, after she discovered oregano in her parent’s cooking, she began to wear oregano around her neck at school for three months. Because her parents were from California, they just let her do it.
No one bullied her in person at school, but the cool kids did write backhanded compliments to her in the yearbook, like, “I love how you don’t care what anyone thinks!”
“I went to a private school,” Heller joked. “So maybe that’s just how rich kids bully each other?”
Heller’s act also included great one-liners.
“Have you ever been so high that ‘Law and Order: SVU’ got scary again?” she said, speaking to the perfect audience for that question: a crowd of college students. “Like, uh-oh, this isn’t just about Ice-T anymore!”
The three nerds brought their A-game last night and gave truly entertaining performances.