“Sorry” was a commonly murmured utterance from Comedian Pete Lee, but only for how controversial the statements made in his jokes were.
Lee performed for a small audience Wednesday night in the Atwood Memorial Center Theatre, an event scheduled and organized by the University Program Board. Adapting to his audience, Lee discussed topics such as relationships and breakups, college loans, sex, racism and self-image; he left no topic off-limits.
Lee originally hails from Wisconsin, but received his education from the University of Minnesota before moving to New York City and making his television debut on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” in 2005. From there, he made an appearance and was voted a standout performer at the “Just for Laughs Comedy Festival” in Montreal.
Between 2008 and 2010 he accomplished making network television appearances on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” finishing as a semi-finalist and also an acting debut on a CBS soap opera. After making a name for himself in comedy clubs and an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Lee has been bringing his act to over 500 colleges across the country.
Donning a “Minnesota Nice” shirt for his Minnesotan audience, Lee had quite a few things to point out about Minnesotan mannerisms—especially the local accent. From the beginning, the crowd was nodding and laughing along to every point their entertainer made without batting an eye in terms of censorship.
His content was raunchy, yet relatable to any person sitting in the room. He kept his audience engaged by asking questions and gave little room for catching breath between his jokes.
When asked about how he chooses and adapts his material for different-sized audiences, Lee said “it is actually easier to perform for a larger crowd, because the laughter goes for longer. You’re almost afforded the luxury of getting to think in between things.
“And my act is really based on layering [jokes] on top of each other so doing a show that’s a little bit smaller like this actually makes [comedians] so much better at comedy because they have to layer things differently,” he said.
Natalie Sitter, the program adviser event organizer, did not omit the fact that the comedy event had many vacant seats. Sitter explained that event attendance seems to fluctuate throughout the year based on outlying factors such as academics, weather, and event popularity.
However, she deemed Lee’s appearance at Atwood a success due to the positive feedback after the show, as well as the laughter filling The Theater “from the moment that Pete started his set, right up until he finished.”
“UPB has been trying to actively program for the greater population of SCSU students, yet due to significant budget cuts in recent years, putting on major events that students are looking for can be a challenge,” she said.
Sitter noted that UPB has been working effectively to market the many events on campus by reaching out to departments on campus for collaborations, creating a presence on social media, posting event posters around campus, and creating pre-shows with upcoming events during the Atwood Movie Nights each weekend.
After the show, Lee could be found selling t-shirts featuring two of his most popular punchlines—“You look fat when you cry” and “You’re a pickle bucket”—at a merchandise table in the rear of Atwood Memorial Center Theatre where students could socialize and openly talk about the comedian’s act.