Jay Pharoah, Matteo Lane charm crowds with deadpans, quips at ‘A Stand Up Comedy Show’ – The Daily Orange

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When asked to do an impression of Will Smith, Jay Pharoah, known for his spot on impersonations, replied, “I’m not a jukebox, motherf*cker!”

The energy at University Union’s “A Stand Up Comedy Show” was electric as Pharoah, alongside fellow comedian Matteo Lane and host AJ Foster, captivated the crowd with deadpans and quips. The show touched on a variety of topics, including politics, travel and video game decor.

The show began with Foster, who likened himself to an annoying YouTube ad.

“Except you can’t skip me after the first five seconds,” he said.


Foster then introduced Lane, who before deciding to do comedy was an oil painter and opera singer. Lane, an advocate for gay comedians, got right to the point about his identity in his introduction.

“Hey everyone, thank you so much! I’m obviously gay,” he said.

Like many, Lane found the pandemic a difficult time to connect with friends, so he turned to video game favorites Call of Duty and Fortnite. Lane applauded Fortnite — what he called the gay version of Call of Duty — on its special ability to combine action and aesthetics.

“It’s just like, you’re killing and decorating at the same time,” Lane said. “You’re like, ‘Cease fire! But could you add a bay window?’”

Lane detailed his new fascination with the Travel Channel’s ghost hunting-themed programming during his set.
Megan Jonas | Contributing Photographer

Another popular quarantine pastime for the comedian was flipping through TV channels. “The Great British Baking Show” brought Lane the revelation that American food programs are unnecessarily aggressive. He also joked that he discovered the Travel Channel somehow only plays ghost hunting shows.

He was particularly captivated by “Ghost Adventures,” specifically one clip of Zak Bagans announcing that he is a demonologist. Lane wondered which would be worse, coming out to his parents as gay or as a demonologist.

“Mom, Dad, I’m going into demonology,” he mimicked. Changing his tone to imitate a parent, he said, “‘We’d rather you … suck a d*ck. At least it’s there.’”

Immediately afterwards, Pharoah was heard cackling hysterically from backstage.

Since he is of both Italian and Mexican descent, Lane learned both Italian and Spanish. But he mastered Italian before Spanish, and now he can’t switch accents at will — when Lane speaks to Latinos, they often say that he sounds just like Mario, he said.

Some countries Lane visited aren’t very accepting of the LGBTQ community, which he said he found out on a trip to Italy.

“Italy can be kind of homophobic. You know, the Vatican,” he said as the crowd giggled. “It’s so funny, it’s just a bunch of men in dresses, with no women, and they’re like, ‘No gays!’”

After about a half hour, Lane gave the stage back to Foster. After making a few jabs at the time he, a Black man, lived in Whitesboro, New York, Foster introduced the “Saturday Night Live” alumnus. Pharoah, already beloved by the crowd, danced his way on stage.

This was Pharoah’s first college show since the pandemic, he said. Fortunately, he could keep comedy going amid social distancing guidelines; Pharoah did a few drive-in shows in the earlier months of the pandemic. While this sort of venue might sound like a great idea, the honking and flashing of headlights in exchange for applause was jarring to Pharoah as the performer.

“It’s one thing to walk out of someone’s show,” Pharoah said. “But when you drive out (of the venue), that’s a different level of disrespect.”

He followed up with, “Hope you pop your tire!”

Pharoah confessed to the crowd that his first name isn’t Jay and is actually Jared. While he made the name change, he still appreciates his birth name when making dinner reservations over the phone — he said he gets a better response when he sounds white.

“I knew what my mom was doing though,” he said. “She was setting me up for a beautiful white future!”

During the Trump administration, as Pharoah recalled, politics were extremely hard to ignore,
but this gave him the perfect opportunity to master impressions of prominent political personalities. Pharoah nailed Barack Obama’s effortlessly smooth voice, as well as the classic pursed lips and dramatic hand gestures of Donald Trump.

“I’ve never watched CNN more than ESPN in my life,” Pharoah said.

While he’s able to laugh — and joke — about it now, on April 26, 2020, Pharoah was wrongfully detained by the Los Angeles Police Department. They were looking for a Black man in sweatpants and a sweatshirt — “so, every Black dude in America?” Pharoah said — and so he was taken into custody. After police realized he wasn’t who they were looking for, and mistook him for Pharoah’s former “SNL” co-star Michael Che, they released him, he said.

Pharoah then made a few calls to family members, who all had differing reactions. His mom was worried about him and asked if he was OK, to which Pharoah replied, “I actually lived through the situation. I can talk about my story. You got Black folks who won’t be able to talk about it tomorrow; I’m good, Mama.”

His father, on the other hand, was hardly surprised. His grandmother, Gertrude, insisted on Pharoah calling her if anything happened again. When he asked why, she plainly said, “Imma f*ck. Them. Up.”

The show ended with the same vibrant energy it started with — the audience roared with applause.

In a post-show interview, Lane got real about being on tour. While he likes visiting new areas, trying new restaurants, interacting with the crowd and performing as a whole, traveling so frequently can be really cumbersome.

Lane attributed his background in comedy to his large family. Lane experienced trauma during his childhood — and everyone around him used humor to cope.

As a gay comedian working towards better representation in the industry, Lane always strives for personal authenticity in his work. For future LGBTQ comedians, he recommends the same.

“Anyone who is out, and themselves, is good,” he said. “Be out, be proud, and be yourself.”

As for Pharoah, “SNL” was instrumental to him mastering and becoming comfortable in comedy. He learned to produce material efficiently because he basically had to audition for his part every week.

For those considering going into comedy, Pharoah suggests returning to the basics and being genuine.

“Be yourself, don’t be afraid. Don’t restrict yourself,” he said. “Don’t feel like you have to censor yourself, and that’s how you find gold.”

Source: http://web.dailyorange.com/2022/02/jay-pharoah-matteo-lane-charm-crowds-deadpans-quips-stand-comedy-show/