NIU student hosts standout comedian standups


Nick Glover

Students await a comedy show in the Carl Sandburg auditorium. NIU student Xavier Smith hosted a comedy show Tuesday. (Nick Glover | Northern Star)

By Nick Glover, Editor-in-Chief

DeKALB – NIU alumni Jack Baker headlined a standup set of comedians AJ Leidig, Adriel Compean and Xavier Smith on Tuesday. 

The event was hosted by Smith, a senior Operations Management and Information Systems major, and was put on by the NIU Student Veteran Association.

The Carl Sandburg Auditorium had about 65 people spaced out among the front half of the auditorium. 

Some of the students were there to support people they knew. 

“My former RA is hosting it (the event),” said Matt Zuber, a junior general studies major. “I’ve been to one or two of his things before, and he’s very funny. Plus, he’s a great RA.”

Others came because they loved comedy. 

“We went to the SNL one, and we really liked it,” said Sarah Marsh, a first-year communication studies major. “What the SNL people were missing was they weren’t very relatable. They were old, had their careers figured out and they were busy making money. It’s nice to see comedians who are younger and more relatable.” 

Smith was the first comedian that took the stage. He talked about his first experience with a bidet and how bad men are at making food for themselves.

One of the standout standups was Leidig. He spent the first few minutes of his act figuring out the audience. Leidig asked about simple things like peoples’ majors, but quickly moved to the main piece of his set: anal sex. 

During his bit, he pointed out a member of the audience and started asking him about his experiences with anal. When the audience member started getting defensive, Leidig started digging in even more. 

By the end of the night, every standup had made a joke either to or about the anal guy. 

Honestly, because of this, Leidig’s set, though not the most sound, stood out among the others. Even compared to Baker, Leidig seemed to be the most natural on stage. 

Despite this, Baker’s set was where the true comedy came out. When Leidig focused on crowd work with slightly above-average written material, Baker’s set was glorious.

The standout joke from Baker’s set is where he yearns to be a ‘50s housewife. Baker claims that by combining his childhood based around reality TV and the availability of amphetamines in the ‘50s, he’d be the scariest housewife on the block. 

“Don’t cross me, Maude,” quipped Baker, “I will tell the FBI you’re a communist.” 

Baker seemed to fall flat with some of the later material in his set, but the inexperienced audience is the main culprit here. College kids simply aren’t trained to listen to comedy. 

“With something like this, it’s not a comedy crowd,” Baker said. “You have to give them more leeway because they don’t go to comedy shows, so you have to teach them how to be an audience.” 

At 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Smith is holding the “On The Spot Comedy/Improv Show.” Tickets are available at the door for $7 and the event will be in the Corner Theatre of the Stevens Building.