From discourse about therapy to Portland to ghosts, Emmy-winning comedian Chris Redd did not let down the students gathered in the Anderson Center for the annual comedy show sponsored by the Binghamton University Student Association Programming Board (SAPB) on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Redd is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live (SNL), where he was a cast member for five seasons from 2017 to 2022. In 2018, during his time on SNL, he was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for “Come Back, Barack,’’ a musical skit that he cowrote. In addition to releasing his stand-up special, “Chris Redd: Why Am I Like This?” last year, he also acted in films and television series such as “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Disjointed” and “Kenan.”
The show began with a short set from comedian Reg Thomas, who warmed up the audience by joking about topics such as The Notorious B.I.G. ‘s “Me and My Bitch” and his experience growing up in New York City. He then began to ask members of the audience where their families were from before opening up about his own experiences and habits as a child from an immigrant family.
“I still get dressed up for the airport,” Thomas remarked. “That’s mad immigrant.”
Despite being an opening act, Thomas brought some of the first big laughs of the night with his Barack Obama impression and his explanation about how falling in the middle of a busy airport made him realize he was getting older.
At the conclusion of his set, Thomas introduced a second opener, Matty Ryan, another New York-based comedian. Ryan began by quipping about how he is often told he looks like a character from the sitcom “Workaholics” before sharing stories about riding the New York City subway and taking mushrooms before going to a museum.
When giving a spiel about a mummy exhibition at a museum in his hometown of Chicago, Ryan assured his credibility.
“These jokes are meticulously researched, I’ll just let you guys know,” Ryan said.
Ryan concluded his set with his thoughts on the unhealthiness of Lunchables before Thomas came back out to introduce Redd, the headliner. Redd then entered from offstage, and energetically began to interact with students in the audience, asking those in the front few rows their name, their major and whatever else came to his mind. One student Redd picked out of the audience told him his name was Marco, to which Redd immediately responded, “Polo!” Much of his show was almost improvisational in nature, as he continuously referred back to these students and the audience as a whole throughout the set. Some of the biggest laughs of the night came from Redd’s repeated imitation of the excited “woo!” that many students would exclaim after he made a statement they agreed to or a relatable joke.
“The funniest moment [of Redd’s set] was when he started picking on people,” said Nur Yucel, a sophomore majoring in psychology. “I did not expect that.”
Redd also joked about how far Binghamton is from New York City, both in terms of location and difference between the two places.
“I’m so confused where I’m at,” he added. “Do you guys even have police here?”
After talking about some current political issues and ghosts, Redd then transitioned into discussing a highly publicized incident from last year in which he was randomly punched in the face by a man wearing brass knuckles and a bucket hat outside of a comedy club he was supposed to perform at.
“The fact that he was wearing a bucket hat pissed me off,” Redd joked. “I was just hit by a fisherman! I’m the only comedian still performing at the scene of his crime.”
Redd likened the incident to the infamous Oscars slap involving Chris Rock and Will Smith, and clarified that his attacker neither mugged him nor “slaughtered” him, despite what many news outlets reported.
Redd then began to talk about politics again, criticizing the age of many of the politicians currently in office.
“You shouldn’t be able to run for president unless you can run physically,” Redd said. “Like imagine after a debate you have [Donald] Trump and [Joe]Biden do a 100-yard dash.”
Toward the end of his set, Redd opened up about his experiences with therapy and mental health before wondering aloud how he would end the show. After shutting down a question about which of his former SNL costars, Michael Che or Colin Jost, is funnier (“Me! It’s my show!” Redd exclaimed), and conversing with a few more audience members, Redd concluded his set with a final “Marco! Polo!” before exiting the stage.
“The show was fun,” Yurcel said. “I came here to get a laugh in, and I got what I wanted, so I’m really happy about it.”