Colin Jost cracks up CWRU


Grace Johnson/The Observer

Last Friday, Colin Jost, Marcello Hernandez and Molly Kearney from Saturday Night Live took the stage in Severance Hall for UPB’s annual Spring Comedian show.

Noah Henriques and Shivangi Nanda

Classes, clubs, jobs and research—the stressors just seem to pile up at Case Western Reserve University, and sometimes we need some gut-busting laughs to help us forget about our endless responsibilities. The CWRU community got this reprieve last Friday, March 24 at the annual Spring Comedian event hosted by the University Program Board (UPB). Last year, students enjoyed a performance from famed comedian and actor Jimmy O’Yang. This year, UPB stepped up their game and brought Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) “Weekend Update” star Colin Jost and SNL rookies Marcello Hernandez and Molly Kearney to Severance Hall. Their unique stand-up styles made for a dynamic and entertaining show. 

First up was Hernandez, a proud alumni of nearby John Carroll University and Miami, Florida native. His laid-back attitude was reminiscent of the typical college student, with an outfit to match: a backwards hat, a short-sleeved Cleveland baseball jersey and jeans. His vibe immediately connected him with the audience, and he continued to hit it off with jokes that centered around his life as a biracial born to a “horny 5′ 6” Dominican dad” and a “hard-working Cuban mom,” a topic that resounded well with CWRU’s diverse student body. Transitioning into stories from his own college experiences, Hernandez regaled how Miami’s Hispanic neighborhoods were a far cry from the white college campus in Ohio. Two of his most memorable stories recounted a hilarious misunderstanding with his white ex-girlfriend mid-coitus and the time he showed off his native Spanish fluency in a college class. Coupled with an engaging stage presence, Hernandez’s stories packed a comedic punch like that of any seasoned professional—and he certainly didn’t give the audience a moment of rest.

Up next was Kearney, the first non-binary comedian to be featured on SNL. Their outfit was a perfect depiction of their energy—a comfy black jumpsuit and hat that screamed laid back and fun. If the outfit wasn’t enough of a tell, they opened their set with the question “Who here smokes weed?” This was enough to capture the audience’s attention. They were able to keep them entertained by poking fun at students’ career prospects, telling humorous childhood stories and acknowledging the awkwardness of being different. Their set was made special by honest and easy-going storytelling about growing up and the mishaps that occurred when they came out to their family. While not all students may have been able to relate to their experiences, they were successful in drawing out smiles and making people laugh. 

With the audience successfully warmed up by the SNL newcomers, Jost took the stage. 

As a writer, actor and comedian, Jost is a stand-up veteran. He walked onto stage with a calm confidence and took on a chaotic and improvised performance style that starkly contrasted from Hernandez and Kearney. Without missing a beat, Jost dug into some not-so-fun CWRU fun facts, mocking our “AI chatbot-generated name,” our “…great academics [that] come [with a] mediocre social life” and questioning our campus pride for a “notoriously committed D1 Ultimate Frisbee team.” Student’s responded in an uproar of laughter, which seemed to only encourage Jost to keep going. He asked audience members to yell out their majors, proceeding to politely but cruelly make fun of each and every one of them—neuroscience majors were hit the hardest. At the half hour mark he seemed to be losing steam, creating uncomfortable silences between jokes. However, the audience took this as an opportunity to call out their burning questions and comments. Jost’s experience as a comic shone through as he swiftly incorporated otherwise awkward heckles from the audience into lighthearted jokes. One audience member even handed him an orange “Tippit Tea” hat, which he graciously accepted to uproarious applause. Despite the awkward moments of his set, Jost ended strong with some out-of-pocket and morally questionable SNL sketches that didn’t make it to the live shows, along with new jokes he was “testing out.” 

With that, this year’s Spring Comedian event drew to a close. Starring some serious SNL talent, the performances garnered endless applause and laughs. Even though Jost was the headliner of the event, we believe newbies Hernandez and Kearney definitely gave him a run for his money. Regardless, this event proved to be the perfect comedic relief, and we are eager to see which performer UPB can secure next.