CAB holds free comedy show for students


J. Chris Newbirg tells a joke at a comedy show held in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium on Sunday night.

By Kevin Bartelt

Laughter was a great way to distract NIU students from the icy weather on campus.

Two comedians, Paul Varghese and J. Chris Newberg, performed 8 p.m. Sunday at the Student Holmes Center.

Each comedian had a one-hour segment and tailored their jokes to the students.

Varghese has a great performance background. He has opened for Dave Chappelle and performed on Comedy Central.

Right off the bat, Varghese poked fun at NIU’s men’s basketball team for setting the record for lowest points scored in a half.

“You know who set the previous record? Yeah, that was you guys, too,” he joked.

Varghese’s routine also included jokes about being Indian and countless random thoughts, including one-liners about buying nice things–particularly a new car.

“If I buy a convertible, how do I ignore the homeless guy?” he said.

Both comedians also did a ton of crowd work, poking fun at things people said. Sometimes it worked, but at times it evidently dragged on for the audience.

“It was OK,” said Steven Williams, senior corporate communications major. “They tried, but they were pretty funny.”

Newberg’s crowd work was taken with a hot and cold approach from the audience. Newberg, a contestant on America’s Got Talent and performer on Jimmy Kimmel Live, would ask random audience members for their name and if they wanted to hear a “smart, clean, dirty or inappropriate question.”

The crowd enjoyed Newberg’s grotesque one-liners.

“They weren’t too inappropriate, but inappropriate enough to keep the crowd engaged,” said Syed Warsi, senior family and consumer nutrition sciences major, about the performers.

The peak of the show was Newberg’s “Joke Battle” with a random audience member. The improvised battle made the crowd roar with laughter.

However, Newberg made an observation about someone in the audience that Varghese had previously made–that a 19-year-old girl was engaged to be married and, as both Newberg and Varghese said at two separate times, it was crazy. The overlapping joke was perceivably dull, as the audience already heard this observation.

Regardless, most of the crowd enjoyed the comedians’ performance.

“We were impressed they got someone from Comedy Central,” said Dwight Rutledge, junior political science major, and Madison Bayler, junior pre-physical therapy major. “They were both really funny and the show was great.”