3-for-3 cracks on race, family and facial hair

Comedians Sabrina Jalees (left), Dan Ahdoot (middle) and Wil Sylvince performed at CUB’s 3-for-$3 comedy show Thursday. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

The College hosted a diverse trio in Kendall Hall on Thursday Sept. 2, who took the stage to comment on issues ranging from their cultural backgrounds to sexuality and social norms.

The freshmen-heavy crowd was attentive, and its members couldn’t stop laughing.

The College Union Board-sponsored 3-for- $3 comedy show went off without a hitch, featuring Wil Sylvince, Sabrina Jalees and Dan Ahdoot, three underground but well-traveled comedians. The comics have earned their stripes on shows such as “Last Comic Standing” and by appearing with well-known comedians like Lewis Black and Dave Chappelle.

Each touched on the absurdities of daily life in a distinct style, but there was a common thread uniting the comics — diversity.

Or, as Ahdoot, who took the stage after Sylvince and Jalees, put it, “That’s gonna be a tough act to follow — a black guy, a lesbian Muslim. I’m gonna have to pull a rabbit out of my ass or something. I guess we’ll keep the diversity train moving — I’m Persian! Yeah!”

All three comics drew from their cultural backgrounds, which provided each with a bounty of laughs.

“You don’t understand what it’s like to have a moustache, white girls,” Jalees said during a joke about how her half-Pakistani, half-Swiss heritage endowed her with facial hair at the age of 12. “Like, you’re all running to check if you got your period. We’re checking our 5 o’clock shadow.”

Jalees had a notable ending gag about her father’s response to a sign placed in her family’s Brooklyn yard after 9/11 reading, “The terrorists have arrived.” She asked her father what they were going to do, and he said they’d have to move. She asked him why.

“He said, ‘Sabrina, I am not a stupid man. The terrorists have arrived! We have to go!’ ” Jalees said.

Opener Sylvince talked about family life as well.

“My father used to get us Christmas presents that benefited him. He’d buy us (tools) and pretend they were toys. Like mops. He’d be like, ‘This is how you play with it!’ ” Sylvince said with an exaggerated mopping motion. “ ‘Look, I’m having fun!’ ”

Sylvince also riffed on his parents’ Haitian accents. According to Sylvince, his grandfather’s pronounciation of “peanuts” — conspicuously like “penis” — does not bode well on flights, when Sylvince Sr. demands peanuts in his mouth, immediately.

Closer Ahdoot pulled from his heritage for jokes as well.

“I’m an Iranian Jew. It’s a classic combination, like peanut butter and cat,” Ahdoot said.

All sets were well-received, with Ahdoot’s set earning the most laughs from the audience.

Organizer Dylan McDivitt, sophomore biology major, was pleased with the results of one of the year’s first CUB events.

“I think the show went really well. It was the first event I managed for CUB. I just looked at a bunch of videos on YouTube — but I thought they were even funnier in person,” McDivitt said.

The diverse nature of the comedians’ sets was not an accident. McDivitt said he looked for comedians who would “talk about a lot of issues.”

“I was looking for comedians who would appeal to college kids and get a really diverse show,” McDivitt said. “That’s something the CUB 3 for $3 comedy show tries to focus on.”

Sophomore elementary education and history major and transfer student Nick Ponzo appreciated McDivitt’s efforts.

“I thought it was really funny,” Ponzo said. “I enjoyed my first event (at the College).”