When Jay Pharoah entered McAlister Auditorium, a loud sigh of relief could be heard across campus as anxious freshman traded their syllabus week groans for comedy-night laughs.
On Aug. 29, Pharoah, of “Saturday Night Live,” delivered on a night of uproarious and absurd comedy, mostly due to his recurring audience interaction. The comedian mocked two police officers standing guard in the theater and taunted students who left the show early, comparing the escapees to Ryan Lochte.
This jab earned Pharoah the biggest laugh of the night.
A comparable highlight was the end of the show, when Pharoah called a student up to the stage for singing along to a Tupac Shakur song. Pharoah informed the white student that he was granting him access “into the black brotherhood.” When asked for his name, the student responded, “Ted,” and the theater erupted with laughter before Pharoah could even make a joke himself.
Before he brought Ted to the stage, Pharoah presented a relevant, fast-moving and sometimes controversial stand-up act, delving into topics like Caitlyn Jenner and date rape.
Even when the audience seemed to be displeased with some raunchy jokes, Pharoah always bounced back, keeping with the pace of the show.
The routine included impressions of Drake, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z and Barack Obama, but his best was an uncanny rendering of Kevin Hart.
Pharoah also imitated Donald Trump, but, with surprising gravitas, offered a condemnation of Trump. In a stirring call to action, he invoked the government to remember the importance of the American people’s needs, somehow without interrupting the flow of his comedy.
Before he left, Pharoah asked if he could rap for the audience and free-styled on stage. The comedian, whose contract was not renewed for the 42nd season of “Saturday Night Live,” plans to drop a mixtape in the near future. While his freestyles were unexpectedly good, it’s clear comedy should remain his day job.
Pharaoh commanded McAlister Auditorium with his rambunctious routine and cheeky grin. It’s safe to say that Tulane University Campus Programming set the bar high for the year’s entertainment.