Campus Programming and Relations hosted its first Stand-Up Saturday this past weekend, featuring comedian Eric O’Shea. Stand-Up Saturday is an event that CPR has been putting on for years, and it has created its own brand on campus that continues to draw in a large crowd.
“CPR hosts Stand-Up Saturdays because it gives people a good alternative on a Saturday night. It is a great tradition we have kept going for about 15 years,” junior business administration major and CPR event producer Tyler Cota said.
Cota said that CPR decided to bring O’Shea to campus after watching his performance at the National Association for Campus Activities Northern Plains Conference in Minnesota, a conference that showcases a variety of acts.
O’Shea is a native of New Haven, Connecticut, and though comedy was not his original career choice, he has been performing for 25 years and was averaging 71 shows per year at schools since 1997.
O’Shea began the show by talking about the weather. One of the jokes that seemed to relate well with the audience was about slipping on the ice. Not falling. Just slipping. He got a large reaction from the crowd, both in laughter and agreement that these things had happened to them before, as well.
“It is almost like therapy for me. It’s nice to know that other people have done that before, too, and we all get to laugh at it,” O’Shea said.
Throughout the show, he joked about age, childhood, driving, sneezing, farting and the laughter of audience members. The jokes were quirky and light-hearted, and the audience members enjoyed the personality O’Shea brought to the stage.
“I really liked the jokes from the show. We laughed really hard, and the other laughter in the room, especially the really high-pitched ones, were great. I also liked the music bit at the end. It was really funny, too,” junior reclamation, environment and conservation major Chelsea Gruber said.
When asked about the inspiration for his jokes, O’Shea said that he gets most of it from self-deprecation. He likes to try things out with his audience to see if they have done it before, too.
And even though many of his jokes were based on his personal life experiences, audience members still felt as though they could relate to them.
“I really related to the toddler jokes. I have a young nephew, and I just don’t understand him, so I totally related to what he [O’Shea] was saying,” Gruber said.
During an interview, O’Shea said that he originally became interested in performing when he noticed that he always had something to say about everyday things. He said that when he commented on these things, people would chuckle. So, he worked out how to turn these lines into a certain act. This allowed him to feel connected with the audience, something he really enjoys.
“I enjoy the relationship that goes back and forth between the audience and the stage. It is like a two-headed monster – they relate to what you are saying, but you are the looser for being the guy who did the stupid thing. They get to laugh at you and with you,” O’Shea said.
Near the end of the show, O’Shea told the audience he was going into a serious bit. He said that he wanted to give the audience three pieces of life advice: follow your instincts; don’t search for happiness, it will find you; and help someone who cannot help themselves. Though this was a step away from the jokes a few minutes before, O’Shea said this part was important to him.
“I really enjoy just seeing [the audience] happy. I remember how stressful it was in college. I like the intellect of the college. This is something where I think they can come and get something out of it. I can stimulate their minds a little bit,” O’Shea said.
After the serious bit, O’Shea said he could not end a comedy show like that, so he performed his signature “Songs for Commercials” bit that had the audience in hysterics.
“I definitely enjoyed the end with the musical commercial part. It was probably my favorite part because I enjoy music in general, and I thought it was really fun,” senior education major Abigail Aguirre said.
Creating content is fun and enjoyable, O’Shea said, but he works hard to make sure his shows are extra special and unique for each of his different audiences.
To view more information about CPR and its upcoming events, visit https://campus.uwplatt.edu/cpr. For more information on O’Shea, visit http://www.ericoshea.com/.