Comedian Eric O'Shea titillates audience
Comedian Eric O'Shea returned to the University of Connecticut for a comedy show on Thursday night. It was O'Shea's fifth time on stage at UConn during his 20-year career, and he described the experience as something "like seeing your family."
Born and raised in New Haven, the comedian began his career by entering an open mic competition at the Safe House. He traveled the Midwest and eventually landed a deal with ABC/Disney before moving to New York City. Having been in the "college market" for 13 years, O'Shea won the 2007 National College Comedian of the Year.
He states on his website that he was hooked onto comedy, where you "simply talk and make people laugh." That's exactly what he did on stage at the Student Union Theater. It seemed no joke was scripted; he seemed to go with the flow and work off the audience with his thoughts and humor. Though the turnout wasn't a full house, the few dozen students that attended were laughing so hard, that O'Shea was entertained by his audience. He paid attention to each person, able to point out and imitate his favorite laughs, while interacting with students by asking questions and doing impersonations.
"He kept the audience interactive," said Kaitlyn Pierce, a 6th-semester psychology major. "I liked how he kept going back to jokes that he knew were funny: the show was so funny."
O'Shea performed many little skits based off thoughts and situations that he found humorous. Earlier in the day, he slipped on some ice and joked about how it looked like a dance. He then spoke of how he was happy to be out of the South, especially because of how they talked. Each joke flowed from one to the other in a stream of thought, as if it were a one-way conversation. He went from speaking about the audience being part of a good generation of kids, to bad kids, to kids behaving badly in Walmart, to mothers being too easy on their kids, to his own mother who was very hard on him. All the while, he acted things out, often acting like a child and impersonating his three-year old niece.
At the end of the show he performed "Songs for Commercials," a bit that has gained over 4 million views on YouTube and a review by Steven Spielberg. He also did his best Elmo voice for a few minutes (something he does for his one-year old niece) and spoke like a ventriloquist - though he was moving his mouth faster than words were coming out.
Despite his fame in comedy, O'Shea commented seriously about some things that he's seen, like the change in students and the campus since he first connected with UConn. He commented on how it has changed quite a bit since he grew up in the 70s and 80s, when life was simpler but classier and held more substance. Nowadays, he says kids have seen it all, and sometimes they lose a sense of themselves. But with self-awareness and morality, he thinks the world is taking a turn since hitting a low.
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