Loni Love brings laughs to laudable Aztec Nights

by David Dixon

Why did Peterson gym feel so different from classic comedy venues? Mainly because the pre-show entertainment was in the spirit of a back-to-school college party. There was a skillful disc jockey playing loud popular music and interacting with the lively audience. At times it felt as though the main entertainment was going to be canceled and the night would ultimately turn into a stereotypical San Diego State bash.

Once everyone was quieted down and seated, host Aida Rodriguez opened what would become a truly entertaining evening. She did have a bit of amusing material, but her job was to keep things moving and to briefly introduce the performing comedians at Comedy Explosion.

Samuel Comroe was the first on stage and stood out as a really brave guy. He has Tourette’s syndrome and his act is largely based on poking fun at his disorder. From the moment he walked onstage, Comroe won the crowd with his confident timing.

After Comroe ended his shtick, Vanessa Graddick delivered a routine that also dealt with her personal life. She spent a good amount of time talking about how being blind in one eye has affected her existence, a serious topic she managed to keep humorous.

While the first two acts were part comedy acts combined with personal anecdotes, the remaining comedians focused solely on laughter. Wisecracker Rajiv Satyal went right for the shock gags. An American Indian, Satyal appeared to be a tolerant, sensitive and accepting individual. Open-mindedness did not stop him from riffing on homosexuality, gender, race and even American Indians themselves. It was all in very bad taste, though often hilarious.

Although the equal opportunity offender Satyal was amusing, he did have a few brief dull moments. Random observations about the post office and searching for parking were more awkward than funny, and made the audience feel a bit uncomfortable. Though he did recover from both of these occasions, he should drop the aforementioned quips from his upcoming performances and leave the non-sequiturs to Zack Galifianakis.

The final comedian was Loni Love, who most television viewers know from “Chelsea Lately.” Her stand-up performance was terrific, poking fun at everything from the Bible to American culture.

What really made Love’s routine special was an interactive component in which she asked students to participate in a game. Love first requested three boys to give their best pickup lines to a girl and let the audience vote for the best one. The male Aztec who won stayed on stage with Love while she asked a few girls to approach. She told the coeds to utter their favorite flirtatious pickup lines to the previous winner. The highlight was when a young woman let fly an outlandish R-rated comment about something she could do with her finger.

Watching stand-up in a college environment provided a unique opportunity for students and is something the Aztec Nights organizers should continue to include in the future. Comedy fans who missed out can look forward to next fall’s Aztec Nights, but in the meantime youtube.com is a great resource to watch clips of the comedians who performed during Comedy Explosion.

More information about Aztec Nights can be found at aztecnights.sdsu.edu.

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