Zach Sherwin brings comedic and musical talent to UConn
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 00:09
Comedian and rap battler Zach Sherwin shared some of his favorite raps and jokes, and even created a new alma mater, with UConn students at the Student Union Theater on Thursday night.
Sherwin grew up in Ohio and Missouri before attending Brandeis University in Boston, where he began performing comedy. Formerly known as MC Mr. Napkins, Sherwin first came to the comedy spotlight appearing on YouTube in “Epic Rap Battles of History” – a record-breaking digital series featuring comedic rap battles between prominent historical figures. With over 2.1 billion views and more than 6 million subscribers, ERB has two YouTube channels, one of which features behind the scenes contents. Sherwin has performed as Albert Einstein, Doc Brown, and Dr. Watson, each with a different accent, in ERB 7, 24 and 26.
Sherwin came out onto the stage with a lot of energy, encouraging the crowd to cheer for him while he tried making his best and funniest first impression. He went right into commenting on his surroundings, pulling in material from whatever he found funny. He even disregarded the jokes he wrote as an intro.
“You can write all the jokes you want to beforehand,” he said. “But in the moment it may be more entertaining to watch a curtain go back and forward accidentally.” This began his playful improvisation with a SUBOG crew member, Shane, working the lights, sounds and curtains. He’d come back to his jokes with Shane throughout the show. On a few occasions he singled out some audience members, poking fun at them.
“He was pretty charismatic,” said Michael Rafatpanah, a genetics graduate student. “I thought it was the best when he improvised with the audience, like with Shane.”
Sherwin began the show with a few personal jokes, even asking the audience for advice, before rapping “The Aggressive Bee” – a rap about the bee that distracts him from writing raps on his porch. His second rap was for all “lovers of viral videos” – an appropriate name for the rap which included samples of famous YouTube videos like “Charlie Bit My Finger,” “Sneezing Baby Panda” and “The Dramatic Chipmunk.” He slowed it down with the next rap, claiming he’d get all the ladies’ numbers, and took the audience through a math trick that he got right in the end.
Having done his research before coming to the university, Sherwin created new alma maters composed of quotes from the school’s website. Including facts like “zero motor vehicle thefts in 2011,” and “845 liquor and drug violations” (which he claims is an exceptionally high number compared to other schools he’s found similar statistics for – he applauded the students), he finished his alma mater singing and switched into some other random facts that he found about UConn. Apparently the university won’t exterminate lady bug infestations, but will find out how they got there and suggest that students vacuum them and return them outside. Also, of the 12 Jonathans we’ve had as mascots, two died in car accidents. One was back in 1935 when “there were hardly any cars, it was an exceptionally unlucky puppy to get hit … maybe the first one ever.”
He finished the show with his “Plush Piggy” song, complete with instructions on what to do with the pig whose stomach opened up, demonstrating how to do it with the Plush Piggy he brought in. He then invited students to talk to him outside of the theater while he autographed and sold merchandise like CDs and T-shirts.
The second comedy show of the academic year, his performance was put together by the Comedy Committee of SUBOG as part of the biweekly Comedy Series Thursday nights at 7.