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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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B.J. Novak brings the laughs for Loyola’s Fall comedy show


On Saturday, October 10 Loyola’s Student Government Association hosted a fall comedy show featuring Loyola junior Paul Valdes-Rodriguez, Loyola’s sketch-comedy group the Nevergreens and writer, producer and actor B.J. Novak, best known for his role as Ryan Howard on “The Office.”  The night of comedy brought in a packed crowd of eager students to Reitz Arena. Here are some of the highlights of the night of laughs, Loyola references and puppeteering (I swear).

Paul Valdes-Rodriguez and the Lackluster Shuttle System

The first opener of the night was Paul Valdes-Rodriguez, who was introduced by Vice President of Social Affairs, Stephanie Maniglia, as just recently beginning his stand-up career in New York City and Los Angeles this summer. Right from the start you could tell that Paul was going to keep the crowd laughing when he admitted he didn’t really do stand-up in either of those places, but rather he had shows in Long Island City, NY and Irvine, California. Although the opening set was short, it was certainly memorable. His jokes about the Loyola shuttle system hit close to home for the audience, particularly when he said it seems like the drivers try to go as fast as possible to race each other and beat each others’ records. The new stand-up comedian closed in front of about 1,000 students in Reitz with a commentary on KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan and asked us all to think about what it would be like to use that to describe everything in your life, even a “hook-up,” which got a big response from the crowd and ended the set on a high note.

Nevergreens Study Abroad and Intervene Over the Brita

Next up Loyola’s sketch-comedy group the Nevergreens took the stage. The first of two skits centered on the idea that Loyola had decided to start a “Study Abroad Antarctica” program. The skit poked fun at the social justice aspect of a Loyola education, saying that they worked all day and night with “underserved polar bears” who needed their assistance by making them E-Harmony accounts. The line that seemed to ring truest to the crowd was when the two students who went on the trip would repeat, “What a life changing experience!” after talking about things like Narwhal hunting or being the only two humans on the continent. If you know anyone who has studied abroad, you know this line all too well as people say it very seriously, so it was funny to see it used in the context of the clearly terrible Antarctica experience.

The group’s second sketch was an intervention scene. A few of the Nevergreens sat together and discussed how “Sally,” played by senior Katie Seifert, needed to hear what they were going to talk to her about and how it was for her best interest. It wasn’t until senior Mike Ebmeier, who played Sally’s brother, brilliantly stepped up and launched into one of the most memorable moments of the night that the audience caught on to what the intervention was about.

Mike begins to go on a screaming-tirade explaining the reason for this intervention is the fact that Sally leaves the Brita water-filter pitcher empty after she uses it, which is a sin that many of us have experienced living in apartments with lots of other people. The tirade was nothing short of hilarious as Mike called Sally things like an “ungodly Poseidon” for her water-guzzling ways, and when she broke down instructed her to fill the sad empty Brita “with her tears.” The cause for this intervention was equally ridiculous as it was relatable to many people in the audience, and was a definite fan favorite of the event.

B.J. Cracks Up the Audience  

The Nevergreens were a perfect transition into the headliner of the night, B.J. Novak. The first thing that Novak said was that the event was “bigger than he thought it would be,” followed by “That’s what she said,” a much appreciated and well-received ode to his fictional boss Michael Scott on “The Office.” One of the set’s finest and funniest moments was when B.J. read from his collection of fictional stories called “One More Thing.” The lights dimmed as B.J.’s somber delivery made the best of stories such as “Wikipedia Brown” about a detective of our generation who spits out Wikipedia-style facts, “The Bravest Thing I Ever Did,” which landed a joke too dirty to print, but too hilarious for anyone in the audience to forget, and “If You Love Something,” which ended with a simple “basically drop everything, who cares.”

Another highlight was when Novak talked about his Twitter struggles and brought to light an issue that is all too real for any user of this social media tool: the fact that the “place where you type the most private things (search bar) is a millimeter away from where you share things.” B.J. shared some of his “searches” that almost went live to his followers including, “B.J. Novak Funny,” “Marijuana Driving laws Canada,” and a personal favorite for the Nickelodeon-nostalgia audience “Miranda Cosgrove 18.” For a brief few minutes after this Twitter commentary, Novak brought out Shy Puppet, but unfortunately as the name implies, he was too shy to talk. Fans, however, got a great photo op of Novak and his puppet pal.

Novak closed the set by testing out new jokes, and he wasn’t kidding when he said what didn’t land would stay on Loyola’s campus as he physically trashed the less popular ones, a process that was almost equally as hilarious as the jokes themselves.


Audience Gets Their “Office” Questions Answered

At the end of his performance, he offered up a Q&A session, which seemed to be an audience favorite as fans of “The Office” got the chance to get the inside scoop about the popular show. When asked what was his favorite show to work on, Novak brought up that he used to be a prank-puller on MTV’s “Punk’d” and that he always thought that would be his claim to fame, but that “The Office” was of course the obvious answer because of how funny the cast was on and off set.

What was especially interesting was that Novak shared that Creed was exactly like his character and he wasn’t sure if he “ever knew we were filming,” while famously-monotonous characters Kevin and Stanley, played by Brian Baumgartner and Leslie David Baker, are some of the and most theatrical people he knows off set. Novak also revealed his favorite “Office” quote comes from Michael Scott when he says, “Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to fear how much they love me” and that his favorite episode is written by on-and-off-again ex Mindy Kaling entitled “The Injury” where Michael steps on a George Foreman grill and leads a handicap awareness seminar.

The Q&A was a great way for students to get engaged, and afterwards B.J. stayed to do a book signing with fans. Although I didn’t get the chance to ask B.J. Novak to be the Ryan to my Kelly, this fall comedy show was still a definite hit and a refreshing new form of entertainment from the typical fall concert series.
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B.J. Novak brings the laughs for Loyola’s Fall comedy show