Jay Pharoah and Matteo Lane bring the laughs in University Union show
Jay Pharoah and Matteo Lane bring the laughs
SU’s University Union brought comedians Jay Pharoah and Matteo Lane to Goldstein Auditorium Friday night. Students filed down the stairs, picking over the UU merchandise table before making their way to the seats for the 8 p.m. show.
Emcee and comedian AJ Foster opened with a short five-minute set before Lane took the stage. Well known on TikTok with almost 250 thousand followers, Lane’s set included some of his most successful jokes on the app. The jokes, centering around his life as part of the LGBTQ+ community, included one about the productivity of a Starbucks depending on the number of gay employees working at a time. In an interview after the show, he discussed growing up in Chicago, where he studied opera and oil painting. Lane did not start doing stand-up comedy until when he was 26. Now 35 and a successful performer, he wishes gay comedians had more of the spotlight.
“There are a bunch of us, but no one has a Netflix special. We are not highlighted in any kind of good way, so we have to do everything ourselves,” he said. “Be out, be proud, and be yourself. Not everyone is going to agree, but that’s the problem when you’re marginalized and not showcased enough. We have to start somewhere.”
Touching on a wide variety of topics, Lane’s set was fast-paced, with plenty of audience interaction. When asking the crowd about the best restaurants in town, he was disappointed to hear the menu at local favorite Pastabilities does not have a pun name for each dish.
“I like trying different local foods. I always ask audiences where I should go eat,” he said in the interview.
Foster took the stage again for another five-minute set while Pharoah geared up to come on stage. Pharoah relayed in the post-show interview that the two have toured together for years and like to play pool in their downtime. The SNL alum took the stage bursting with energy, his metallic sneakers catching the lights on stage. This show is the first college performance he has done since the start of the pandemic, and he tested the crowds’ reactions in the first few minutes. Running through his set, he touched on Trump, Obama, #MeToo, his encounter with the LAPD and even responded to shouts from the crowd about Kanye West, accompanied by some of his most well-known impressions.
Two American Sign Language interpreters stood on stage all night, switching back and forth throughout the performances. Pharoah reacted to their signing with other hand gestures, laughing that they had to interpret jokes about themselves.
Pharoah has not played a show in Syracuse since 2017 and is happy to be back, he said, ending the night with some words of advice for upcoming comedians and actors.
“Be yourself on stage, don’t be afraid,” he said. “That’s how you find your artistic voice, by taking risks and trying new things, so keep trying stuff.”