Two Saturday Night Live improvisation specialists showcased their stand-up skills in front of a Penn State audience Wednesday night, thanks to the Student Programming Association (SPA).
Pete Davidson and Alex Moffat attracted a crowd large enough to fill most of the lower level of Eisenhower Auditorium. Their performance featured everything from a purposefully terrible rendition of Billy Joel’s Piano Man to jokes about the struggles of sobriety. The audience also had the opportunity to hear Davidson, the youngest current member of SNL’s cast, speak about upcoming movie plans and his life as a young star in the world of entertainment in a closing Q&A session.
Los Angeles comedian Heavy delivered the show’s first set, cracking jokes about his own embarrassing college experiences and being out of shape. Self-proclaimed “other guy that nobody knows” Joey Gay of Brooklyn followed, warming the audience up with jokes about his native Brooklyn.
“New Yorkers can ignore more crazy than anyone else on the planet,” Gay said. “A guy could walk up next to us on the street with a severed human head and we’d be like ‘nope that’s not my problem.'”
Gay also discussed his love for the Coney Island Cyclone, disgust for seedy hotels where the coffee pot can be found in the bathroom, and the combination of sex and Vicodin.
Gay introduced Chicago native and first-season SNL cast member Moffat, who began his act with an initially confusing yet hilarious 5-minute monologue delivered in a heavy German accent.
“LOL, college, baby,” he began, in a voice resembling a deeper version of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno. He referenced the Bill Clinton creamery “Scandal in Happy Valley,” which he described as two “two flavors, one cup,” and called Donald Trump a “DILF” before switching his impersonation to a “wild for Destiny’s Child” Australian camp counselor.
After concluding his flurry of impressions, which also included Sammy Davis Junior and Christopher Walken, Moffat told stories of trash talking on the pick-up basketball court and his troubles with women. But most of his set made light of dead parents. “It’s a pretty sweet gig being an orphan,” he joked.
Penn State served as the butt of several of Moffat’s jokes. Revealing a hole in the elbow of his sweater, he mused, “at least I look better than that [Nittany Lion’s] uniform.”
Later in the set he poked fun at the recent campus greek life restrictions, pausing in the middle of a story about a sorority formal he attended in college to say, “you guys won’t know what those (formals) are, but future Penn State people will.”
One of the unforgettable highlights of the 35-year-old’s act came when he sat down at the bench of a grand piano on stage and belted out the lyrics of Billy Joel’s Piano Man, playing all the wrong notes with honed comedic timing. “I think this piano’s broken,” he said as he returned to his microphone.
Pete Davidson, the best-known and eagerly anticipated comedian of the group, delivered the last set, which lasted longer than the three acts that preceded it. He walked on stage puffing from a Virginia tobacco flavored vape pen.
Davidson, a New York native whose father died on 9/11, joked about his struggle to maintain sobriety after eight years of drug use and playing the role of the pothead in SNL skits. He recently experienced rehab, which he described as “40 grand to go pet horses.”
“It stinks being sober,” he added.
Davidson’s jokes covered a wide range of topics, from masturbation and premature baldness to prosthetic appendages and his elderly grandfather to his girlfriend’s crush on Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Davidson mentioned his dislike for Donald Trump several times throughout the act, and claimed he loves mocking the president on SNL because he watches the show.
Davidson interacted with the audience often, spraying them with water and asking them about State College’s vape shops.
“This place is scary,” he said of the town.
At times, Davidson pulled a crumpled, yellow sheet of paper from his pocket and looked at it in search of material, the price, he claimed, of being away from stand-up comedy and working in television after producing his first hour-long stand up special this year. He ended the show with a 20-minute Q&A session, answering some questions seriously and others comically.
Davidson, who appeared in Amy Schumer’s 2015 comedy Trainwreck, said he hopes to continue his work in the film industry. He said that he is currently writing a movie script for Warner Brothers Studios, and plans to shoot a different film over the summer. He also told the audience to expect another stand-up special from him in approximately two years, and that he is currently trying to recruit “the Rock” as the next subject of one of his infamous celebrity roasts. He also spoke briefly about his row with The Fast and the Furious star Tyrese Gibson, and the time he spent hanging out with Russel Crowe on the set of SNL.
Moffat, Davidson, and the rest of the Saturday Night Live crew return to NBC on May 6 for the 20th episode of the show’s 42nd season.