Student Entertainment Events hosted the Homecoming Comedy Show with T.J. Miller and Damon Wayans Jr. on Thursday Sept. 29, 2016.

Before the show, Miller and Wayans Jr. allowed the press into their dressing rooms.

I sat down at the table with Miller and he poured both of us an energy drink. All I could think was he definitely did not need the extra energy. Miller was already a mish-mosh of comedic energy that was sure to explode.

But as we began to talk, I realized that not only was he an energy filled artist, but he was a truly kind and intelligent person that wanted to give college students a good show.

“A lot of comedians don’t want to play colleges, and you seem amenable to playing colleges,” he said. “ And I said yeah. I think that college students need to laugh just as much as anyone else.”

Miller said he enjoys performing at colleges because it allows him to change up his act and test out his material.

“I think it’s important to be like, ‘Is my material so universal that even college kids will get it?’ I also like doing shows that aren’t like my act. My act is pretty heavy, and it works better for people who spend $20 or $30 on tickets.”

His philosophy of comedy is: “It’s comedy, it’s supposed to be for anyone that can benefit from having a laugh.”

Wayans Jr. was the calm before the storm. From his cool and laid-back demeanor, I expected his show to be the same.

“I’ll do family stuff. I’ll do observational humor and some R-rated stuff. It’ll be nice, a breath of fresh air,” he said.

I should have listened to him when he slipped in the words “R-Rated.” If Wayans Jr. was the calm, then his and Miller’s show was the storm.

The show began with Wayans Jr.’s act. He smoothly transitioned from his opening remarks and warm-ups into a story about his stoner brother and then into another one about him having sex with a midget.

Comedian Damon Wayans Jr. performing his opening set for the sold out crowd. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Photographer)
Comedian Damon Wayans Jr. performing his opening set for the sold out crowd. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Photographer)

Now, it might seem that the act couldn’t get more shocking than that, but it did.

After this story, he went on to talk about how he hated having the same name as his father because when his mother screamed “Damon” from the bedroom, he walked in on his parents having sex.

Damon’s act, although it sounded like a whirlwind of raunch, was actually quite refreshing. It was honest, playful and really got the audience laughing, but I don’t think anything could have prepared us  for what was going to happen next.

From the interview I had with him, I thought Miller had planned an act. He was going to try to do a portion of his HBO set he had just filmed.

“I talk about the release of death anxiety, time theory, mathematics, reason, truth and science being renounced in favor of methos. I talk about a positive connotation on suicide, morbidity and morality being relative.”

From what I heard, I thought it was going to be more message-based and a balance of serious topics and his high energy style. That is not what we got. What we experienced was a tornado of emotion, riffing, ad-libbing, physical comedy and yelling. Lots of yelling.

Comedian TJ Miller performing an almost entirely ad-libbed hour long set. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Photographer)
Comedian TJ Miller performing an almost entirely ad-libbed hour long set. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Photographer)

He started with messing with the interpreters, spending five minutes making them say, “Hey girl, I’m the best.” He riffed a whole bit with both of the interpreters that he used throughout the show.

He then proceeded to ad-lib his entire show until about an hour in when he finally started with his material.

He did get to his material and he did accomplish that. But before he did, his show consisted of him screwing with the interpreters, pouring water on himself and fighting with the tech crew and lights.

He even tried to unplug the lights for “good measure” as he had said. He ended up unplugging his mic. Miller then threw it down and started walking over the entire venue screaming jokes at everyone. The audience bought into this, and some people started yelling, “Huh? I can’t hear you!”

Eventually, Miller got up on stage, looked at all of us and asked, “Do you guys ever have nightmares?” That’s when he finally got into his act, which, although it was hilarious itself, was dull in comparison to the amazing material he had been ad-libbing the entire time.

“I don’t understand how he just came up with that on the spot,” said Sahana Raju, a freshman computer science major. “He connected everything back in the end and he didn’t say anything without a purpose. It was amazing!”

Kaitlin Leung, a freshman computer engineering major, had similar thoughts.

“He was talking gibberish half the time, but it actually made sense,” Leung said. “He was riffing a lot of the show, but it fit into his overall plans and story.”

T.J. Miller managed to shock the audience  with his high energy and amazing ability to make up everything on the spot.

“I’m very happy performing at colleges because I think people need to check out for an evening,” Miller said. “And they don’t have to do it at a place like Bentley’s.”

Featured Photo Credit: Moments after tearing his own mic from its input, TJ Miller decides to confront the audience on their turf. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Photographer)

Monica Pizzo is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at mpizzo@terpmail.umd.edu. 

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