Alexis Preskar / Lantern photographer
Saturday night came a little early at Ohio State this week.
John Mulaney and Vanessa Bayer, from “Saturday Night Live” visited OSU’s campus Wednesday to showcase their live stand-up routines in the Ohio Union Performance Hall. The Ohio Union Activities Board sponsored the event.
About 525 tickets were released, said Fontine Baptiste, OUAB comedy chair, and about 400 students were in attendance.
Mulaney, who has been a writer for “SNL” since 2008, was at first impressed with the number of students in attendance, until he put the number into a larger context.
“This is an amazing turnout,” Mulaney said. “Until you realize there is like 60,000 people on this campus. Is this how much football gets, or do they get more?”
Continuing with the OSU theme, Mulaney informed the crowd he was staying at The Blackwell.
“It’s probably where your parents stay when they come here – it has that vibe,” Mulaney said. “I walked out into the hallway because I was done with my plates of food, so I was like, ‘I’ll throw these in the hallway.’ I was in my boxers, because you know how I do, and this woman came out of her room. She asked, ‘Are you a student here?’ and I was like, ‘No.'”
Mulaney, however, later regretted his response.
“I should have said ‘Yes,’ because what a great student that would be,” Mulaney said. “Some eccentric millionaire student who lives at the hotel and eats room service everyday.”
Bayer, a native of Cleveland, recalled her own college experience as slightly different than that of a student who resides at The Blackwell.
“I started out thinking I would be a biology major,” Bayer said. “I thought maybe that would lead to a career as like a doctor, who is a health correspondent on TV like Sanjay Gupta or something; or maybe a biologist, who has her own show on TV; or a medical researcher, who is somehow on TV. Needless to say, I became a communications major.”
A relative newcomer to “SNL,” Bayer shared what her life was like before joining the staff in September 2010. One story Bayer touched on was the perception the first agent she ever met with had of her.
“(The agent) sat me down and was like, ‘Well Vanessa, you’re not the typical gorgeous, long-legged, enchanting woman, but you’re quirky,’ which is what we all want to hear, right ladies?” Bayer said. “I think quirky is what you call a girl that dresses really funky but isn’t really cute.”
Over the course of her time on “SNL,” Bayer has impersonated celebrities such as Hillary Clinton, Miley Cyrus and Kourtney Kardashian.
Mulaney also reminisced on some of the stereotypes that were placed on him as a child.
“I’m being totally honest with you. When I was a little kid, people thought that I was Asian-American,” Mulaney said. “I have pretty thin eyes now. Well I had very thin eyes when I was a little kid, and I had straight black hair that I cut into a bowl cut. So from the ages of 3-to-8 years old, people thought that I was a young Chinese person.”
Although he later admitted to being bullied as a child, Mulaney found a sense a humor in the teasing, even when it came from his future best friend.
“On the first day that he met me in kindergarten, my now best friend went home and told his dad, ‘Papa, today I met a boy with no eyes,'” Mulaney said.
In addition to acts from Mulaney and Bayer, audiences were surprised with a stand-up performance from Comedy Central’s Sheng Wang.
Although some of the material presented was featured in previous events held by the performers, Carley Hornak, a third-year in psychology and criminology, still enjoyed all the acts.
“I was really impressed about how they came up with stuff about Ohio State and the bits that I hadn’t heard before, especially by John Mulaney,” Hornak said. “I’ve heard all of his published stand-up before, so it was cool to hear him talk about Ohio State. And it was funny, it wasn’t just a throw away.”
Mulaney’s stand-up has been featured on the Comedy Central special “John Mulaney: New in Town.”
A highlight of the night for Ephraim Ungar, a second-year in English and history, was the connection each act had with the audience.
“I thought it was hilarious,” Ungar said. “They interacted with the audience and made me laugh. They had me in stitches long after the joke was done. It is so hard to tell (my favorite act). I was just laughing so hard.”