Comedy Apocalypse at the Barn

Comedy came to UCR last Wednesday, Nov. 14. The Barn, in conjunction with KUCR, hosted UCR’s sixth Comedy Apocalypse. Five stand-up comics entertained a three-quarters full audience; the show was thoroughly entertaining throughout its two hour duration.

As the audience settled into the Barn’s green plastic chairs, the show began with apocalyptic, Baroque-era orchestral music, over which a voice from the sound booth announced the event in an ominous bass. First up were the hit-and-miss comedic stylings of the night’s MC Omar Nava. Nava’s first act was by far the least funny of the evening; the crowd’s reaction to him was, in turn, unenthusiastic. He opened with an ill-humored jumble of political jokes, and painfully continued through his set until it was time to announce to real talent to come.

Next up was the absolutely hilarious Jade Catta-Preta, whose set was 35 minutes of nonstop laughs. She opened by commenting on the breasts of women in the front rows, and continued to land one side-splitter after another. Nothing was off limits to this comedian. Everyone was poked fun at, from Steve Irwin to Anne Frank and even Catta-Preta’s own face.

Following Catta-Preta came the night’s funniest act, delivered artfully by Sydney Castillo. Castillo jumped into improvisation, exclaiming, “Where […] am I?” Without missing a beat, he proceeded to take fake bids from the audience on himself, throwing his voice into the typical, fast-paced auctioneer stereotype: “I see 80. Who’s got 95? 95 for this big, strong brother. 95, let’s see 100…” Castillo continued to deliver nearly an hour of pure hilarity in this fashion; his racially-flared style killed. He left the audience heaving and roaring for more.

Despite his appearances on Comedy Central, HBO and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” the next comedian, Kevin Shea, was a bit of a letdown. His low energy act didn’t appear to resonate with the crowd. Although his jokes were fairly humorous, they were stifled by his staggered delivery. The energy that Castillo had previously instilled drained from the crowd by the middle of Shea’s act; it was easily noticeable how the audience’s attention had wandered. Many got up, for the first time that evening, to buy food, go to the restroom or just leave.

Finally, it was time for the night’s headliner, Dan Levy. This MTV personality and winner of HBO’s funniest college comedian contest wrapped the night up in an anticlimactic tone. His set was well-delivered and wrangled sufficient laughter from the audience, but by no means did it dazzle. Most comically noteworthy, perhaps, is that Levy couldn’t seem to get the name of the venue straight; he frequently referred to the Barn as the “funny factory fry Barn.”

After Levy concluded his act and the lights came back on, the performers were met with booming applause. There may have been a few tedious, even awkward moments throughout, but the show was a great success. The audience’s satisfaction was palpable in that final ovation.

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