The Observer reviews Matteo Lane

On March 29, University Program Board’s (UPB) annual Spring Comedian returned to Severance Hall. This year, the Case Western Reserve University community welcomed Matteo Lane, who lit up the stage with humorous anecdotes, bits and significant audience engagement, telling students everything from where Yonkers, New York is to relationship advice for the romantically confused. But before Lane even took the stage, fourth-year student opener Lisa O’Brien started off the night strong with her relatable CWRU humor, which even included a shoutout to The Observer. Following O’Brien, comedians Marie Faustin and Sydnee Washington were up, giving the audience advice on how to navigate young adulthood with a massive dash of humor.

The Observer sent various members of the editorial team to review the openers’ and Lane’s performances.


Zachary Treseler, News Editor: 4.5/5

I have only seen three comedy shows in my life, and all three of them have been the CWRU Spring Comedian. As a result, because Matteo Lane was by far the best comedian that I have ever seen—it was an incredible experience.

Unlike CWRU’s previous comedians—for example, Colin Jost—Lane’s set was actually engaging and entertaining, mostly because it seems like he came prepared to do a standup comedy show—very radical, I know. His jokes were accessible, and when they were not, he provided the context and backstory needed.

Now I must address the elephant in the room: Lane’s audience engagement, which in my opinion was perfect for a college show. As one of those individuals with the (unfortunate?) pleasure of being picked on, it was still hilarious, and his ability to distill audience comments into comedic bits was amazing. It made him feel more accessible. My one hot take: stop asking if everyone is gay.

My half-point deduction came from Lane’s first bit, which consisted of reading from the CWRU information sheet that the UPB organizers provided. While not his fault, the sheet was the exact same one that Jost used last year, even down to the old logo appearing on the bottom of the second page. As a result, that bit left a sour taste in my mouth as it reminded me too much of last year’s disappointing show.

Lastly, I’d like to give a special shoutout to the openers for not only being beyond hilarious and funny but also being so real with the audience. And a double shoutout is owed to Lisa O’Brien for an excellent opening act, and I’m happy the Observer got some air time.


Kethan Srinivasan, Social Media Content Creator: 4.5/5 stars

Although Colin Jost is the only in-person standup comedian I have seen to base my opinion off of, I can confidently say that my experience with Matteo Lane was undeniably more entertaining and less cringe-inducing by comparison, despite a few personal gripes along the way that were no fault of his own.

The unnecessarily harsh information sheet of last year’s show made a reappearance, much to my chagrin, but Lane’s magnetism and capacity for empathy toward the maligned crowd was a refreshing change, as basic as those attributes may appear.

As for the humor, this may depend on your taste. While portions of Lane’s humor and audience interactions might be more niche to some, particularly to a queer audience, there is still much fun to be found in Lane’s anecdotes, from his best friend Nick to his apparently receding hairline.

Perhaps the awkwardness on the crowd’s part could be avoided by considering a more neutral source of information and leaving the brutal realism of life at CWRU to student opener Lisa O’Brien, who was truly a joy to watch. Faustin and Washington both provided a zesty level of humor that left many in stitches, whether you were a New Yorker or otherwise.

Overall, the show was an entertaining way to spend a Friday night, and perhaps an enlightening one if your name happens to be Aiden or Deb.


Shivangi Nanda, Executive Editor: 4/5 stars

As someone who can spend hours watching comedy specials, UPB’s Spring Comedian is probably my most anticipated event of the year. And I am happy to report that this year was a success. Student opener Lisa O’Brien was the perfect first act, warming up the audience with CWRU-centered jokes that were painfully relatable. The two guest openers who followed kept up her momentum, spicing up the atmosphere with raunchy jokes and a unique flair. Upon Matteo Lane’s entrance, I initially groaned at the sight of another reading of the CWRU fact sheet—the same facts from last year, might I add—but his charisma surprised me. After Colin Jost’s disappointing appearance last year, I think all of us needed a dose of Lane’s humor. And he came prepared, ready to knock the audience’s socks off with jokes, stories and characters who were actually funny. I even appreciated his Q&A session, which, in true CWRU fashion, was filled with oddballs. Still, Lane handled every query well. Naturally building one story off of the next, he created an atmosphere of togetherness where everyone could just let go and enjoy the hilarity of good comedy and audience stupidity—I don’t think I will ever forget being a bystander to Aiden’s gay awakening.


Serene Pierce, Copy Editor: 4.7/5 stars 

As someone familiar with the musings of Matteo Lane, it relieves me to say that the Chicago-born comedian did not disappoint. Admittedly, I did not have high hopes when I settled into my seat on the balcony of Severance Hall. It wasn’t his comedy that made me concerned nor his ability to connect with a CWRU audience. Instead, it was the lackluster showing of last year’s comedian Colin Jost, who, despite being a veteran on the iconic Saturday Night Live, was incapable of filling the entirety of his set and had little to no control over a college crowd.

Lane opened his set the same way as his predecessor: reading aloud the blurb of CWRU’s history and “fun facts.” However, the moment Lane took center stage, it became abundantly clear that the bit was the only thing the two performances had in common. Lane came out the gate hot, his delivery quick like his wit. The pace of his performance never floundered, and every quip was met with giddy laughter and thunderous applause. Lane commanded the crowd with the ease and affection of a seasoned comic, a natural storyteller whose performance was a testament to the nightclub cellars that crafted and refined him like a bottle of fine wine. No topic was off-limits, as Lane touched on the absurdities of international audiences, celebrity encounters, hair woes and the cartoon-like personalities of his inner circle.

Additionally, Lane showcased his infamous crowd work—and I think it’s safe to say that the CWRU community made a lasting impression. Side-pieces, swingers, boyfriend collectors and gay awakenings were a few of the highlights, and one bold audience member even called out his use of older material. Without missing a beat, an unphased Lane answered her question with a cheekily humorous response while also weaving in a callback to a previous question. Needless to say, last Friday’s performance was a night to remember, and hopefully, next year’s stand-up comedian will be able to match Matteo Lane’s operatic high note.


Shejuti Wahed, Social Media Content Creator & Video Editor: 4.5/5 stars

Having never heard of Matteo Lane before, I entered Severance Hall with no expectations, only the hope that this year’s show would be better than the last. I was there for Lisa O’Brien, the student opener whom I already found hilarious from her silly quips and antics in IMPROVment. Naturally, O’Brien did not disappoint, and her jokes about CWRU lit up Severance Hall. (I especially appreciated her comment about being misrepresented in The Observer). The following two openers, Faustin and Washington, also killed it—although they were at first taken aback by the uniqueness of CWRU life, they soon became accustomed to it and even played into the audience’s humor.

And of course, Matteo Lane. My one grievance was the UPB welcome email that made a reappearance and was read out aloud during the beginning of the show—already having heard it and similar jokes made during last year’s show made me very apprehensive about what was to come. Luckily, my uneasiness was proven unwarranted, as Lane went on to deliver an incredible set of jokes, meticulously integrating crowd work with bits about his friend Nick, other countries and theater.

At no point during the show was I wondering when it would end, which is an improvement from last year. Lane’s crowd work was exceptional, especially as he was able to bring a lot out of some of the awkward questions he was asked. One question was particularly uncomfortable: A student asked about how much of Lane’s work was repeated, and even after Lane generously provided an overview of the stand-up writing process, they doubled down on hearing his “Paris joke in the first three videos that popped up after searching his name.” This type of rudeness once again eerily reminded me of last year’s show, where students again asked unprovoked and uncomfortable questions. Luckily, Matteo never lost his flow, and his set continued to draw laughs from everyone in the audience. All in all, it was a wonderful performance that I am so glad to have attended.


Overall, The Observer’s Editorial Board greatly enjoyed UPB’s Spring Comedian. Even if small issues were raised with Lane, his overall accessibility and engagement with the audience made him shine bright on the Severance Hall stage. We cannot wait to see how next year’s Spring Comedians will attempt to live up to last week’s performance.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

In an effort to promote dialogue and the sharing of ideas, The Observer encourages members of the university community to respectfully voice their comments below. Comments that fail to meet the standards of respect and mutual tolerance will be removed as necessary.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *