When life's got you gloomy, rely on laughter to warm your spirits and work your abdominal muscles. Students all throughout RIT need a few chuckles, especially with the frigid temperatures and the building pressures of winter quarter's climax. Enter Freezefest, a white wave of hope providing students with a temporary reprieve from academics in the form of numerous wintry events. Riding along this wave of fun was the harbinger of comedy, Aziz Ansari. People flocked to the Gordon Field House, hoping for the
"Community" "Parks and Recreation" star's jokes to melt the final sheet of ice that encased their shivering hearts.
The night started off early with a voice eerily similar to Ansari’s echoing through the loudspeakers. After reciting the usual forewarnings, the voice ― which belonged to “Bomb Zamboni” ― began playing with the captionist by yelling out gibberish for him to write in the on-screen closed captions. After a few harmless insults, Bob Zamboni’s voice disappeared and Dan Levy walked on stage.
Levy’s stage presence was commanding. He wanted all eyes on him, and the enthusiasm behind his performance warranted the attention. With an opening the likes of “Every time I enter RadioShack, it looks like it was robbed,” you couldn’t help but sit on the edge of your seat, hoping for his next joke to be just as funny as his last.
As expected from a comedian living in L.A., Levy had numerous stories of awkward celebrity encounters. One he shared with the audience was his run-in with pop superstar Justin Timberlake. After a quick mention of Justin’s “Whateva whateva shoes” and his discovery of the most awkward line one could say to a celebrity — “congrats on your success” — Levy spoke of his childhood, which involved smoking marijuana, a desire to be a professional inline skater and a Kris-Kross’s concert he attended with his father. Yes, Dan Levy was very much your average 90's teenager.
Levy’s act truly shone when he read aloud a letter from his former roommate who unknowingly ate some cookies baked with marijuana. With each line, laughter echoed throughout the field house. Apparently, the roommate was high for nearly 30 hours and didn’t even know it. He described it as a “haze” and spent most of the letter arguing with himself about whether or not he was actually high. Without giving the audience time to recover, Levy recalled an encounter with a man who shared the spelling of his last name but didn’t see eye-to-eye on the pronunciation. The onslaught of jokes ended when Levy brought back the most awkward line, “Congrats on your success” and left the stage to a roar of applause.
After the applause subsided, Lil Wayne’s new single “6’7’’” began to play, and Aziz Ansari strolled onto the stage full of life and energy. As the song ended, Ansari started things off with a compromise: He would pose for pictures, allowing the audience to take as many pictures as they wanted, as long as they refrained from taking them during the standup. The audience gladly obliged, and flashes flared all over the room for minutes on end.
Once the photo shoot ended, Ansari immediately began his routine, ruminating about that single friend who always suggests you talk to girls. Ansari is not a fan of this friend, mainly because the one time he took his advice, the girl verbally assaulted him. In retaliation, Ansari stole her purse, because 'it looked good."
Aziz Ansari’s talent lies in his ability to interconnect his jokes, adding to the hilarity and weaving an outlandish story guaranteed to make people smile. When he compared having dinner with a girl to having a gift DVD player sent to the wrong person, he factored in the recurring theme of Brian, a friend who is supposedly there for support whenever Ansari is rejected by a woman. Brian’s name would occasionally pop out after a joke, and the crowd would respond with unadulterated laughter.
Ansari, like Levy, had a commanding presence. His vocal affectations, vulgar humor, and facial expressions all demanded the audience’s attention. No face was turned away as he transitioned from racial slurs to jokes about his chubby cousin, Harris. The Harris routine was especially great as Ansari pulled out Harris’ college application to read to the audience. The letter, while similar to Levy’s, was just as hilarious, especially once Ansari added his own alterations, making the letter what he truly wanted it to be.
Once Ansari’s routine ended, applause roared through the winter wind. The crowd shuffled out of the Gordon Field House, undoubtedly satisfied with the performance. Both Ansari and Levy captured the audience with the unrelenting grips of hilarity, and both were clearly having fun as well. It was truly a wonderful way to warm the hearts of Rochester — with drunk quesadillas and teaching 50 Cent about grapefruits.