Nothing was off limits at the comedy show featuring Stephen Lynch last week – not even The Signal.
Lynch, who is recognized for his irreverent and ridiculously funny songs on his own Comedy Central special, seemed confused by the name of the paper and asked bewilderedly, “Like a television signal?” That led him to ask the name of our TV news program, “The Journal.” Thinking the names should be reversed, he ordered us to “get out of this college now!”
“I’m going to write a song about ‘The Journal’ and The Signal and how they were drunkenly misnamed one night,” he said.
When he performed at Kendall Hall on Jan. 24 though, Lynch’s show proved not to be for the faint of heart. Though some of the humor in his songs could offend various groups, most of which were probably represented in the audience, the crowd laughed in spite of themselves as a result of his impressive lyrical witticisms and genuine talent.
Among those who were susceptible to Lynch’s verbal daggers were Boston Red Sox fans, political conservatives, the mentally challenged, immigrants and even his own “ugly baby.” Catholics may have cringed as he sung his tune about his experience as an altar boy, but it was hard to avoid smiling at the very clever line “You will find the grace of God inside my rectory.”
For those who questioned his mental stability, Lynch squashed any rumors by consistently making amusing references to the Robitussin, Vicodin and black tar heroin that he held responsible for his behavior.
Having endeared himself to his audience, it was not difficult to elicit enthusiastic participation from them. For his “Superhero” song, various suggestions were offered that ranged from the lewd to just plain odd, such as Condoleeza Rice. Lynch explained, without missing a beat, that she would have the power to shoot lasers through the gap between her teeth.
In the second half of the show, Lynch brought out his friend and sidekick, Rod. All joking aside, the songs they performed together demonstrated excellent harmonies, best utilized on a nice little ditty about “Dungeons and Dragons.” The two of them also entertained the audience with a rather operatic rendition of “Hey Ya!” and a New Kids on the Block dance move from “The Right Stuff.”
Upon their return after a standing ovation, the show closed with a melancholy song about taking out frustrations on a young feline. The audience was hardly shy about joining in and cried out the refrain, “Kill a kitten!”
Lynch also explained where he gets his inspiration. He said he considers Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon some of the best musicians of our time.
“I’m a guy with a guitar who sings songs. I’m not a big rock star and I’m not a piano guy,” he said. “I look to them for how to structure songs and how to write a song with a story to it.”
Comically, Lynch’s inspiration comes from the classic mock-umentary “This is Spinal Tap,” about the band’s attempt to reintroduce themselves to the American public and the overall rock ‘n’ roll scene that the men try to rejoin.
After the show, his fans had the pleasure of meeting Lynch himself, who was personally selling his DVD “Live at The El Rey.”
This was not Lynch’s first visit to the College and his return was by no means disappointing. “This was one of the best audiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “Everybody was into it. The people who knew the songs sang along, the people who didn’t laughed in all the right spots.”
Judging by the packed house of over 800 students who had waited to buy tickets in a line that stretched from the doors of Kendall Hall to the Brower Student Center, there’s hope it won’t be his last appearance either.